Wednesday, April 19, 2017

New Friends New Life Launch Party Honors 2017 ProtectHer Award Recipients

New Friends New Life (NFNL), a nonprofit that restores and empowers formerly trafficked teen girls and sexually exploited women and children, has announced its 2017 ProtectHer Award recipients 
Kelly Cruse, Pat Schenkel, Ashlee Kleinert, Gail Turner
Airline Ambassadors International, United States Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, Governor Greg Abbott’s Child Sex Trafficking Team and Parish Episcopal School will be honored at the May 10 New Friends New Life Luncheon, 11:30 a.m., at the OMNI Dallas Hotel, for their visionary guidance and leadership in protecting the rights of women and girls. 

The luncheon, featuring Joe Ehrmann as headliner, is chaired by Lisa Cooley and Tanya Foster and Honorary Co-Chairs Gail and Dr. R. Gerald Turner.
Tanya Foster, luncheon co-chair; R. Gerald Turner and Gail Turner, honorary luncheon co-chairs; Lisa Cooley, luncheon co-chair
“New Friends New Life is thrilled to honor these international, national, state, and local partners in our advocacy and prevention efforts to eradicate sex trafficking and exploitation,” said Kelly Cruse, executive director, New Friends New Life. “We are thrilled to add an international recipient for the first time this year.  The dedication of each of these recipients to this crime has saved lives. By working together, we will continue to safeguard the rights of women and girls who are at-risk or have already suffered the degradation and trauma of sex trafficking and exploitation.”

Eric and Elizabeth Gambrell
Airline Ambassadors International, the first-time international ProtectHer recipient, holds training sessions in airports around the world teaching airline personnel the key warning signs of trafficking. Once these signs are identified, flight attendants notify pilots, who notify ground crews to have police waiting at the gates upon arrival, saving the lives of children and young women.
India Session, Paula Stein, Irie Session
National ProtectHer honoree U.S. Senator Rob Portman is the founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus to End Human Trafficking and has authored five federal anti-trafficking laws since 2012. Additionally, he works to combat illegal online marketplaces for sex, including an investigation into how sex traffickers use websites like – which is headquartered in Dallas. Congress unanimously passed Senator Portman’s resolution to require to submit documents relevant to his 18-month investigation of online sex trafficking. As a result, the CEO of now faces 2 years in prison.

The 2017 state ProtectHer honoree is Governor Greg Abbott’s Child Sex Trafficking Team (CCST), which in 2016, changed the landscape of Texas’ fight against the horrific crime that is child sex trafficking. CCST began a study of the scope of child sex trafficking in Texas and identified gaps in victims’ services and law enforcement response along with best practice solutions to fill those gaps.  Additionally, CCST expanded existing therapeutic and trauma-informed services for victims of trafficking and trained law enforcement and the child welfare system on identifying and addressing child exploitation.
Chris Kleinert, Michael Studer, Bill Morse, Richard Eiseman
The 2017 local ProtectHer honoree, Parish Episcopal School, piloted the New Friends New Life Men’s Advocacy Group’s manKINDness Project© High School Program, a 60-minute interactive learning experience tailored to teen boys. Through candid conversations about value and respect, the learning objectives for the young men who complete the program are three-fold: learn the power of words and how thoughts influence behaviors and actions; examine ties between respect for women and girls and socialization of sex trafficking and exploitation where nightly in Dallas alone, 400 teen girls are trafficked, and identify solutions in school and community that demonstrate positive, healthy attitudes toward girls and women and themselves.
Shelly Slater, Clay Huffstutter

“These awards recognize people who are effecting change – they are the catalysts making things happen to improve the lives of trafficked and exploited women and girls,” said Chris Kleinert, CEO and President of Hunt Consolidated Investments and Chair of New Friends New Life’s Men's Advocacy Group Board.  “It is our hope these awards will inspire and motivate other people to stand up and join us in this important fight.”
Alan Schonborn, Assoc. Dir., Strategic Development, Child Sex Trafficking Team, Office of the Governor of Texas (representing the state ProtectHer recipient), Lisa Cooley, Wendy Messmann, Chris Kleinert, Kelly Cruse, and Tanya Foster
“All of our ProtectHer Award recipients are playing a key role in helping us move Texas closer to a no-tolerance zone for those who prey upon our children,” Cruse added. “Our women and girls are not for sale.”

Tickets for the 14th Annual luncheon available from $250; sponsorships are also available.  For more information, visit or call (214)965-0935.

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