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Benjamin Watson's Next Crusade Is Against Sex Trafficking in the Dominican Republic


Benjamin Watson's crusade to understand and help eradicate the ills of the world marches on.

After a three-day trip to Lebanon in April, where he witnessed the Middle East’s refugee crisis first-hand, Watson will travel to the Dominican Republic later this month to take on sex trafficking.

Watson and his wife, Kirsten, will travel with Denver Broncos guard Max Garcia, Philadelphia Eagles tight end Trey Burton, former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Sean Weatherspoon and others.

They will spend four days in Santo Domingo with International Justice Mission (IJM), who will take them to visit survivors and speak with IJM staff in the field. Watson also plans to host a sports day with some of the survivors.

"When my wife and I arrived in Baltimore, one of the things we wanted to stand for was truth and justice," Watson said.

"What IJM does as the world's largest anti-slavery organization is they go into a lot of these places where there's human trafficking, child slavery and child labor to support the justice systems or create laws if there are no laws."

Watson, who has three young daughters and two sons, said sex trafficking is a problem in the United States but has become especially widespread in the Dominican Republic because there are currently no laws against it.

According to a U.S. Department of State report, the Dominican Republic "does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking," but is making significant efforts to do so.

"We're going to go through the red-light districts, we're going to meet and hear the breadth of the problem and just get a better understanding of those being rescued and those doing the rescuing," Watson said. "We want to be able to see exactly what IJM is doing and look these kids right in their face."

The Watsons got involved with IJM, which is based in Washington, D.C., two years ago. They have given their time, voices and money, and want to see the organization's work and the problem itself before possibly diving even deeper into the issue.

The Watsons have devoted themselves to a variety of issues over the years. At this time, Kirsten especially wanted to take on a women's rights issue.

"The idea of love and kindness, of righteousness and justice; those are three things that we, as a family, want to commit ourselves to," Watson said. "This is a justice issue. This is an issue where typically people are poor, so they're being taken advantage of."

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