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Robert J. Benz
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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

To Protect And To Serve The Institution?

(0) Comments | Posted July 14, 2016 | 12:17 PM



In the 21st century, the countries that thrive will be the ones where citizens know their voices will be heard because the institutions are transparent. 


                                      Vice...

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Does God Recognize Race?

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2016 | 9:58 PM

Rev. Dr. Terence K. Leathers is pastor at Mt. Vernon Christian Church in Clayton, North Carolina and a member of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers In Action. Dr. Leathers received the Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Howard University, Masters of Divinity Degree from...

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Walking Free With Barry: Des Moines, Iowa

(0) Comments | Posted June 11, 2016 | 9:46 PM

(Des Moines, Iowa - 333 miles West of Chicago)

Barry Jurgensen, the history teacher from Arlington High School in Nebraska, set out from Nebraska City on June 1st to begin his 500-plus mile journey to Chicago, Illinois. He's retracing the footsteps of two freedom seeking women who escaped the bonds...

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Walking Free With Barry: Badger Creek State Park, Iowa

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2016 | 8:15 PM

(Badger Creek State Park, Iowa - 372 miles Southeast of Chicago)

Barry Jurgensen, the history teacher from Arlington High School in Nebraska, set out from Nebraska City on June 1st to begin his 500-plus mile journey to Chicago, Illinois. He's retracing the footsteps of two freedom seeking women who escaped...

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Du Bois On Race

(0) Comments | Posted June 6, 2016 | 12:06 AM

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FreeImages.com/Paper People, BSK

Edward J. Blum is an award-winning author of several books on race, religion, politics, and culture in United States history. He is a professor at San Diego State University, loves to laugh, and be creative with primary source material....

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Race Delusion: Lies That Divide Us

(3) Comments | Posted May 29, 2016 | 7:41 PM

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Jack Moreh, Learning and Education - Brain Functions Development Concept

David Livingstone Smith is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of London, Kings College, where he worked on...

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The Evolving Perception of Human Trafficking: Technology and Fair Labor

(0) Comments | Posted May 11, 2016 | 4:51 PM

Human trafficking, modern slavery, commercial exploitation. Whatever you call it, Evolving Perceptions is a series of interviews with individuals working to address the issue. Students, survivors, educators, parents and professionals all give readers a new and better understanding of this crime while teaching us how to respond more effectively to...

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The Evolving Perception of Human Trafficking: Art for Abolitionists

(9) Comments | Posted May 3, 2016 | 12:19 AM

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/3759812/images/s-CORPORATE-ARTS-small.jpg
Human trafficking, modern slavery, commercial exploitation. Whatever you call it, Evolving Perceptions is a series of interviews with individuals working to address the issue. Students, survivors, educators, parents and professionals all give readers a new and better understanding of this crime while teaching us how to respond more...
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#SaveUSChildren Too

(0) Comments | Posted April 20, 2016 | 12:08 PM

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/2195740/images/s-DOMESTIC-ABUSE-small.jpg

It's now been two years since 276 Nigerian schoolgirls were kidnapped by the terrorist group, Boko Haram. I wrote a blog in July 2014 about the well-founded outrage that emanated from all parts of the world carried on the digital wings of the hashtag, #BringBackOurGirls....

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The Evolving Perception of Human Trafficking: Your Child's Internet Porn

(0) Comments | Posted April 11, 2016 | 11:57 AM

Human trafficking, modern slavery, commercial exploitation. Whatever you call it, Evolving Perception is a series of interviews with individuals working to address this or related issues. Students, survivors, educators, parents and professionals all give readers a new and better understanding of the crime while teaching us how to respond more...

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The Evolving Perception of Human Trafficking: New Abolitionists

(2) Comments | Posted April 5, 2016 | 12:02 AM

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W.E.B. DuBois, Library of Congress

Human trafficking, modern slavery, commercial exploitation. Whatever you call it, Evolving Perception is a series of interviews with individuals working to address the issue. Students, survivors, educators, parents and professionals all give readers a new and better understanding...

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The Evolving Perception of Human Trafficking: Officer 2.0

(0) Comments | Posted March 30, 2016 | 2:56 PM

This is the next in a series of interviews with individuals working in the field of anti-trafficking. You'll meet students and educators, parents and professionals whose voices may give readers a new and better understanding of this crime while teaching us how to respond more effectively to it.

Lt....

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The Evolving Perception of Human Trafficking: Walking to End Slavery

(0) Comments | Posted March 21, 2016 | 4:07 PM

This is the next in a series of interviews with individuals working to address human trafficking. You'll meet students and educators, parents and professionals whose voices will give readers a new and better understanding of this crime while teaching us how to respond more effectively to it.

Barry Jurgensen...

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The Evolving Perception of Human Trafficking: Jessie Foster's Mom

(1) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 11:25 AM

This is the first in a series of interviews with individuals working to address human trafficking. You'll meet students and educators, parents and professionals whose voices may give readers a new and better understanding of this crime while teaching us how to respond more effectively to it.

Glendene Grant...

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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...

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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...

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#SaveUSChildren

(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...

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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...

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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...

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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 --...

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