Gala to benefit survivors of trafficking

The first annual Stop the Traffic Gala aims to raise $10,000 to aid survivors of human trafficking to benefit the Bakhita Empowerment Initiative, a program of Catholic Charities of Louisville.

The gala will be held on Derby Eve, May 4, at La Casita Center, 223 E Magnolia Ave., at 6 p.m. Juan Hustle, B96.5 DJ, will host the event which will include a red carpet entrance, food music, dancing and a photography exhibit. In addition, Donna Pollard, advocate, survivor and founder of Survivors’ Corner, will serve as the featured speaker.

Human trafficking is often called modern-day slavery and its victims are exploited for labor and/or sex, a news release from organizers said.

“The Kentucky Derby is a boon to not only legitimate businesses in the area, but also to criminals who would exploit men, women and especially children for financial gain. This party for a purpose is an opportunity for the community to celebrate Derby while raising funds and awareness for survivors,” said Soha Saiyed, event organizer.

Tickets are $75 per person. Sponsorships ranging from $500 to $5,000 are available. All proceeds will go directly to the Bakhita Empowerment Initiative at Catholic Charities. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

The Bakhita Empowerment Initiative, a program of Catholic Charities to combat human trafficking, provides direct assistance and case management to survivors of sex or labor trafficking. The program also aims to educate the community about human trafficking, as well as how to identify individuals who are being forced or coerced for the purpose of sexual exploitation or labor.

In addition, the public is invited to take part in a prayer service May 1 at 4:30 p.m. to call attention to victims of human trafficking and urge an end to the demand for trafficked humans.

The service — sponsored by the People Against Trafficking Humans (PATH) Coalition of Kentucky — will be held at Jefferson Square Park in downtown Louisville at Sixth and Jefferson streets.

The Record
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