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New Friends New Life honors change-makers

Written by Mindia Whittier

The awardees were recognized for their efforts to end human trafficking.

New Friends New Life (NFNL) recognized the the 2022 ProtectHER Award Recipients at its annual luncheon on Nov. 4.

Dr. Nissi Hamilton

Dr. Nissi Hamilton, a survivor, leader and expert in human trafficking was honored along with Lynn McBee, a philanthropic and leadership force in Dallas and longtime champion for women and girls. Santander Consumer USA Foundation, which collaborates with and invests in organizations that provide positive social and cultural change, also received the award.

ProtectHER Award Recipient Dr. Nissi Hamilton, a survivor, leader, and expert in human trafficking, is a winner of the Foundation for Improvement of Justice’s 2022 Paul H. Chapman Award for her advocacy in the passing of the Texas Smart Act which was signed into law in 2021. This legislation provides protection and resources to trafficking victims and survivors.

As a survivor herself, Dr. Hamilton has become a passionate leader in the national anti-trafficking movement.  She is a sexual abuse counselor and CEO of Nissi’s Network Inc., a nonprofit which aims to “provide holistic support for children of pimps, prostitutes, and victims of human trafficking so that they can have an opportunity to lead healthy and successful lives.” Her push for legislative reform demonstrates the power of survivors to effect positive change in our justice system. In October, Dr. Hamilton was also recognized by The Board of the Foundation for Improvement of Justice at the organization’s annual awards banquet in Atlanta, Georgia. Additionally, she is the recipient of the National Black Prosecutors Association “Profiles in Courage Award.”

Lynn McBee

ProtectHER Award Recipient Lynn McBee, a longtime community volunteer, leader, and philanthropist as well as a biochemist, has been a champion of women and young girls throughout her career. She serves as the CEO of the Young Women’s Preparatory Network which supports single-gender, college preparatory, public education giving young women the academic and leadership skills to achieve success. She first began in an advisory role at Young Women’s Preparatory Network after working three decades at New England Bio Labs in Boston as a research scientist.

Her board service in Dallas spans dozens of different nonprofit groups and organizations. She has worked to combat domestic violence through the Family Place, mentored young women in service and leadership with the Junior League of Dallas, and protected young girls at risk through her leadership with the Letot Center serving teenage women who are homeless or victims of trafficking.

In January, McBee accepted an invitation from Mayor Eric Johnson to serve as the city’s workforce development czar. She is the recipient of numerous awards for her extraordinary leadership and service.

Santander Consumer USA Foundation

ProtectHER Award Recipient Santander Consumer USA Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity established in 2004 that works to provide positive social and cultural change through five philanthropic pillars that address: economic mobility; educational mobility; physical mobility; social and racial justice; and sustainability, crisis and disaster. With a $50 million dollar commitment to digital and financial inclusion and $10 million in grant commitments in its home communities, Santander Consumer supports organizations that make a measurable impact.

Since 2018, Santander has partnered with New Friends New Life, providing transformative financial and volunteer support to help remove the legal and economic barriers faced by sex trafficking victims.

The luncheon was sponsored by The Dallas Morning News and PaperCity. It was co-chaired byKatherine Wynne, Kristi Sherrill Hoyl and Melissa Sherrill Martin. Honorary co-chairs wereMatrice Ellis-Kirk andAmbassador Ron Kirk.

Julia Ormond, a British Emmy® award-winning stage, film, and television actress who has been fighting human trafficking since the 1990s, headlined the event. She is also a longtime activist against human trafficking, promoting international awareness in her role as the first and former United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Goodwill Ambassador Against Trafficking and Slavery. Ormond is the founder of the nonprofit ASSET Campaign, which is the source of the global legislation the Transparency in Supply Chains Law that requires major businesses to publicly disclose their policies to prevent human trafficking and forced labor in product supply chains.

NFNL was founded in Dallas 1998. The organization restores and empowers trafficked and sexually exploited teen girls, women and their children by providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health, and spiritual support. Services help those served to overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty and limited opportunities. In 2021, NFNL served 312 members.

The organization also drives awareness of the issue and its prevalence, and works to eradicate the epidemic of human trafficking through advocacy, legislative reform and strategic partnerships that address systemic causes. In 2018, NFNL opened a drop-in Youth Resource Center (YRC) in partnership with the Office of the Governor to serve trafficked and high-risk teen girls. Since its opening, the project has served 546 girls. In 2015, NFNL organized its  Men’s Advocacy Group to engage men in the fight against sex trafficking and exploitation.

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About the author

Mindia Whittier