Board of Directors
Jesse Baker, PhD, Executive Director of the Board
In 2000, Dr. Baker began working on the Jubilee Movement to redeem victims of human trafficking and slavery in Sudan, which ultimately led to the Sudan Peace Act. His work culminated with a variety of campaign efforts through the entertainment industry in 2001 to educate people about the general realities of human trafficking and modern-day slavery issues. Shortly after, Dr. Baker began work on his PhD in Environmental Policy – specifically focused on the social consequences of environmental change on an international scale. Rather than going straight into academia upon finishing his graduate work, Dr. Baker founded a grassroots nonprofit organization to directly educate people about the comprehensive elements of sustainability – a growing movement that often fails to include the localized social components of economic globalization and environmental change. His work includes projects in Haiti, the Bahamas, Mexico, and various parts of the US. Dr. Baker is a current International Sustainability Fellow at the University of California at Irvine; he lectures frequently throughout the US, and has taught a variety of sustainability courses at UC Irvine, Chapman University, and the College of Charleston.
Tommy Calvert, Jr., President & Treasurer of the Board
Tommy Calvert, Jr. is an internationally recognized social marketing leader, author, consultant and modern-day abolitionist. He is currently the President of Calvert International Consulting (CIC), a public relations and public affairs firm that he founded in 2002.
Calvert received his B.A. from Tufts University in International Relations with emphases on global conflict, cooperation and justice. It was after hearing former Mauritanian slave Moctar Teyeb and American Anti- Slavery Group founder Dr. Charles Jacobs speak at Tufts that Tommy was first inspired to abolitionism and specifically, to advocate for Sudan.
Calvert worked for two years as the CEO of the American Anti-Slavery Group, working to free and empower survivors of slavery and genocide from around the world. His public affairs work is diverse and gained international attention as he distinguished himself as a passionate advocate for slaves and victims of genocide before legislative bodies. Calvert has negotiated with companies found aiding slavery, successfully pushed for the passage of the Sudan Peace Act, helped write and pass the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, and was on the front lines to push the first congressional resolution in U.S. history to declare genocide an international conflict. His campaigns for public support for the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act and Protect Act was critical in its passage and in the development of the US government’s efforts to fight contemporary slavery worldwide. His own firm, CIC, has helped raise awareness about human trafficking through marketing in the television industry and the training of law enforcement. Calvert has been featured and interviewed on numerous national and international news agencies and has been published as many times.
Of all of the social marketing work Calvert has been a part of, he is most proud that the strategies he employed through his work 10 years ago are still inspiring people toward global justice. The groundwork that he laid during his time with AASG and through his individual campaigns has fueled the movement against genocide in Sudan and slavery worldwide for more than a decade. Today, he wakes up every day giving thanks to God for a life richly lived at a young age and the opportunities to work hard at work worth doing.
Julie Cavanagh, Officer of the Board
In 2009, when Julie was first introduced to the topic of Human Trafficking, it stirred within her a desire to learn more and find a way to somehow help in the fight against this modern day scourge.
With resources not readily available in South Africa, Julie quickly learnt that the internet was a powerful tool, not only for learning, but for educating others. Armed with the old adage “Knowledge is Power” and following the example set by her mentors, Julie turned to social media to share the information she had acquired on the topic.
With the build up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa, Julie was invited to assist with a campaign that was run by an international Non-Government Organization (NGO) throughout Africa highlighting the dangers of trafficking around international events.
Between 2010 and 2011, Julie assisted various NGO’s with social media campaigns highlighting their endeavours to abolish modern day slavery.
During this time, Julie was introduced to “Red Light Anti-Human Trafficking Initiative”, where she volunteered and assisted with the hosting of various fund-raising events, which included the annual Golf Day, and the Freedom Banquet. Julie also formed part of the “Night Lights” team which is responsible for walking the streets of Durban, interacting with, and building up relationships with sex-workers. The team assists with the removal of willing sex-workers from the street and supports them in their rehabilitation and reintegration into society.
In 2012, Julie participated in the UNICEF “Believe in Zero” competition, which allowed participants the opportunity to state why they “believe in a world where zero children die of things we can prevent”. With an overwhelming number of votes, Julie’s entry, which placed focus on child-trafficking, was selected as the winning entry. This provided Julie with an opportunity to travel with UNICEF South Africa to a rural area outside Durban to see the work being done in the local community to minimise the risk of child-trafficking and endangerment.
Dawn Adams, Board Secretary
Dawn Adams’s main focus as an abolitionist has been to combat human trafficking in the United States by mentoring and inspiring task forces in Las Vegas and Reno, Nev. and in Chico, Calif. Dawn successfully established the first Abolish Slavery Day in Chico through diligent and passionate work with the mayor and local government. She helped galvanize law enforcement into forming task force meetings, consequently inspiring the city into backing its civic leaders and law enforcement community. Dawn also escalated federal support for task forces in Nevada by bringing in the FBI to work with police departments in Las Vegas and Reno. Many people don’t realize that the majority of the human trafficking cases in the United States involve runaway minors. Dawn has made this particular area the primary emphasis of her human rights activism. The success of her campaigns show that when people come together in a combined force, we can truly make great strides in abolishing slavery.