Raising Awareness About Human Trafficking

Broadcast on August 20, 2013
With Nancy Rivard & Petra Hensley

Nancy Rivard

President and Founder
Employed by American Airlines since 1976, Nancy founded Airline Ambassadors International (AAI) to provide for orphans and vulnerable children. AAI is the only non-profit leveraging connections with the airline industry to facilitate humanitarian efforts, and is recognized by the US Congress and the United Nations. Prompted by the sudden death of her father, Nancy left a career management track, returned to a position as a flight attendant, to begin a profound search for meaning. During extensive travel over the next seven years, she saw the glaring inequities between the developed and developing world, and potential for the travel industry to play a more fundamental role building sharing, understanding and goodwill between peoples and cultures. She founded Airline Ambassadors Intl (AAI) in 1996 to provide a way for individuals to match their unique skills and interests with actual world need. AAI provides for orphans and vulnerable children by hand delivering aid, escorting children for medical care and is leading the effort to raise awareness in the travel industry on human trafficking. Airline Ambassadors has hand-delivered over $60 million of aid to children in 52 countries in orphanages, clinics and remote communities, impacting over 500,000 children. Volunteers have escorted over 1,000 children for life changing medical care. Since correctly identifying human trafficking on four flights in 2009, AAI developed an industry specific training on human trafficking that has been provided at 20 airports and other locations. AAI helped to launch the first web-portal on human trafficking with the First Lady of the Dominican Republic in Sept. 2011 and provided train the trainer programs to the travel industry in Ukraine in June 2013 as an example to 57 countries of the OSCE. (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Nancy has a Masters Degree from Southern Methodist University and is married to contractor and environmentalist, Dave Rivard. She runs the Airline Ambassadors office from Washington DC and just retired as an international flight attendant based in Miami. Nancy was honored with the 1999 Woman of Peace Award, the 2000 Ambassador of Peace Award, in 2001 as a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow She received the National Caring Award, in 2004 the President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in 2006. She received honors from the Governor of Mississippi and the Foreign Ministry of El Salvador in 2007, Boys Town in 2010, coordinated two Congressional Briefings in 2010 and testified to Foreign Relations Committee in 2011 around Airline Ambassadors work in human trafficking. She received commendation as a Giraffe Hero and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2013. Airline Ambassadors has been featured in 110 TV features, 312 print and 63 radio features since their inception.

Petra Hensley

Human Trafficking Survivor and President of the Sojka Foundation

Petra Hensley is President of the Sojka Foundation which was started in 2011 with three goals in mind: to raise awareness of the issue of Human Trafficking through education, to provide a resource to survivors of Human Trafficking (with both shelter and psychological rehabilitation), and to help empower other woman and survivors to achieve their goals and achieve in life what they may never have thought possible. 

The Sojka Foundation has also spent a great deal of time in Haiti bringing vital supplies and assistance to those still living in tent camps since the devastating earthquake of 2010. Since the earthquake, the trafficking of children has increased 20% in Haiti. Through its several visits to tent camps, schools, and orphanages in the Port Au Prince area, The Sojka Foundation identified a need for psychological rehabilitation of child survivors of Human Trafficking. In cooperation with a Child Psychologist, The Sojka Foundation has authored an Empowerment and Rehabilitation Program designed to help child survivors of sexual abuse. Although it was originally developed for the All God's Children Orphanage in Port Au Prince, this program could be implemented anywhere in the world. The Sojka Foundation is currently seeking funding to get this much needed program in place. 
The Sojka Foundation's long-term goals also include the creation of shelters for survivors of Human Trafficking. Currently, most shelters provide little or no psychological counseling, job/life assistance programs, and many require the survivor to leave once he/she turns 18. The Sojka Foundation's shelters will address these issues, and ensure that survivors are prepared to resume a happy, fulfilling, and productive life.