iOS app Android app

Robert J. Benz
Robert Benz is responsible for policy, program and strategic development for Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives (FDFI). He was the leading creative source of FDFI’s core philosophy for an educational approach to human trafficking as well as initiatives such as: the Frederick Douglass Dialogues, the Abolition Day Project, its curriculum – History, Human Rights and the Power of One and Globalize 13.

Robert was first introduced to the issue of human trafficking when reading a September 2003 cover story in National Geographic Magazine called, 21st-Century Slaves. Believing that the only choices were to carry on as before or to become involved in eradicating modern slavery, he proposed creating an advocacy organization to his business associate and longtime friend, Ken Morris, that would leverage Ken’s unique family history in order to bring widespread awareness and real knowledge to anti-trafficking efforts.

“We present history in the classroom not as a compilation of detached facts but as essential knowledge necessary for young people to play a vital role in the global community. History must be used to contextualize human trafficking otherwise this contemporary crime cannot be properly understood. We all need to refresh our under-standing of slavery as one person or one group’s unwelcome control over another … because it’s all around us and its victims continue to suffer because of our ignorance.”

Robert previously owned and operated a hospitality industry marketing company. With a focus on developing group meetings, conventions and niche consumer markets for clients, Robert was responsible for the design and execution of sales and marketing programs for many of the country’s most important hotel and casino brands. His company was also contracted by the largest cruise lines in the world to develop the incentive market. Robert’s group ultimately implemented some of the biggest music cruise charters ever done at the time, starring such acts as: The Dave Matthews Band, Kenny Chesney, and Tim McGraw.

Robert does frequent speaking engagements on the subjects of human trafficking, education and social justice at conferences and in schools across the country.

Robert has represented FDFI on the Board of Directors of the Sojourn Foundation in Nevada and the Las Vegas Human Trafficking Task Force. He also served for many years on the board of the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism for Valley High School in Las Vegas.

Entries by Robert J. Benz

End Modern Slavery (Everywhere But Here)

(4) Comments | Posted March 17, 2015 | 3:46 PM

The press announcement for Senator Corker's new bill called, the End Modern Slavery (Everywhere But Here*) Initiative Act of 2015, cites the figure "27 million" to describe the scope of slavery in the world today. By chance, this was the exact same figure published in the late 90's...

Read Post

365 Days to Globalize the Spirit of the 13th Amendment

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 1:56 PM

One hundred forty-nine years ago, on December 6, 1865, Congress ratified the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and slavery formally ended. The amendment was a remedy for 250 years of enslavement forced primarily upon a specific group of people on the shores of what was now called, the United...

Read Post


(1) Comments | Posted May 19, 2014 | 1:27 PM

Most of us have heard about the Nigerian schoolgirls that were kidnapped by the extremist group, Boko Haram. #BringBackOurGirls and the media surrounding that Twitter hashtag incited outrage and set-off an international call for action to rescue the schoolgirls. It's encouraging that something is...

Read Post

An Urgent Letter to Australian Billionaire Andrew Forrest

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2014 | 1:52 PM

Dear Mr. Forrest:

I'm writing with great urgency in hopes that my meager voice might help correct a mammoth miscalculation. I saw the March 17th announcement that leaders of the Catholic, Anglican and Muslim faiths had teamed up with you, Mr. Forrest, to form the Global...

Read Post

The Bronze and the Spirit: A Sculptor's Vision of Legacy

(0) Comments | Posted July 1, 2013 | 4:35 PM

Sculptor Steven Weitzman was confronted with the same, nearly impossible, challenge that artists have faced repeatedly for thousands of years: How does one capture the eternity of a subject in a single image that allows the viewer to better understand and feel the subject?

"It is hard to...

Read Post

Education: The First Step to Ending Slavery

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2013 | 2:47 PM

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

George Santayana, Philosopher

Wait. The title and the Santayana quote might seem confusing. If we remember the past correctly, we know that slavery already ended, right? Actually, we know that a specific strain of slavery ended --...

Read Post

One Reason Why Abraham Lincoln Gets So Depressed

(22) Comments | Posted December 13, 2012 | 3:58 PM

Last night I saw Lincoln. Not the Spielberg movie, I saw a vision of Abe Lincoln sitting at the foot of my bed. (I'm pretty sure this particular past president was made from a combination of seriously spicy salsa and caramel crunch ice cream.) However he may have gotten there,...

Read Post

Addressing the Dangers Posed by Child Predators

(2) Comments | Posted June 28, 2012 | 11:54 AM

The monster is cornered. A group of dogs on leashes snap and growl. Men, goaded by pride and fear, hold the monster at bay with guns aimed at the place where its heart should be. There's no escaping this time. Then, from around the corner, an angry crowd of townsfolk...

Read Post

David Asks Goliath to Quit or Leave

(0) Comments | Posted June 7, 2012 | 3:59 PM

"Money is Power.." -- Andrew Jackson

"Character is Power..." -- Booker T. Washington

One man was the wealthy, slaveholding seventh President of the United States. The other was born a penniless slave that founded what is now Tuskegee University and became known as the "Great Educator." It's hard to say...
Read Post

A Challenge for Men to Give Up Porn

(63) Comments | Posted May 9, 2012 | 9:38 AM

Albert Einstein did not have an erection when he developed the Theory of Relativity.

That is one outrageous claim I can make with full confidence knowing it's absolutely true. No, I was not in the room at the time. I didn't have to be. I'm a man. I know firsthand...
Read Post

Women for Women: Nettie Washington Douglass Summons the Strength of Her Gender

(9) Comments | Posted August 15, 2011 | 1:51 PM

It was August 1941 and the menacing shadow of World War II, which had already eclipsed much of the world, now threatened America. Hitler rolled across the whole of Europe and down into North Africa while Japan was invading China. A sense of fear and uncertainty was mounting steadily on...

Read Post

Roots and the Revolution to End Slavery In America

(2) Comments | Posted July 6, 2011 | 12:29 PM

Her heart drops and her stomach turns. It's 2 a.m. and she's awoken again by the sound of barking dogs in the gated California suburb. The squeal of the garage door grinds at her with every turn as she cradles herself in bed and prays for the miracle that will...

Read Post

The Fall of America

(0) Comments | Posted June 23, 2011 | 10:09 AM

Ok, I admit it. This piece could have been more accurately called, The American Autumn. But, I figured, the more foreboding the title sounded, the better chance I would have of attracting America's burgeoning Pessimist class. (I also considered using the words SHOCKING or STUNNING, but I didn't want to...

Read Post