Mallory Martin: Empowering Dallas to End Slavery
When Mallory was a student at the University of Missouri, she was busy studying, volunteering for her local Young Life chapter, and making big decisions about grad school. But then came a life-shattering moment - the moment she learned about sex trafficking.
A friend had recently come back from a ministry trip in Uganda where she had met students interning with IJM (International Justice Mission). Their accounts of young girls and boys being sold, trafficked, and purchased for sex slavery were so unimaginable, but after hearing the first-hand stories Mallory knew her trajectory would be different. Thoughts of bringing justice to exploited people around the world left her seriously considering law school as her next step, but after some research, Mallory realized law school wasn't the right fit. She wasn't sure how to make the connection between her career and human trafficking, so she decided to pursue an MBA and, after graduation, landed in a sports advertising and sponsorship firm. "It was fun and energizing, and I loved it," Mallory shared.
For the next few years, Mallory continued to grow in her career while keeping tabs on IJM and their work protecting the poor from violence in the developing world. "After time I got distracted from the cause," said Mallory. "And honestly, I developed a callous toward nonprofits. I had seen so many nonprofit organizations that were poorly run, I thought I could never work for one. But I also wasn't devoting my time to any meaningful cause, and I still regret that."
When Mallory's job brought her to Dallas, she fell in love with the city (proven by her admitted addiction to Mi Cocina!). She was working for the Dallas Stars and during that time her friend Hunter Allen invited Mallory to join the IJM Dallas fundraising steering committee, reminding her of the cause she once cared for deeply. Dallas became Mallory's true home when she met her husband, a Texas native. When their first son was born, Mallory considered what it would mean to continue her full-time, corporate job. "I knew that I no longer wanted to pursue a career in sports, but I also wanted my time and my career to matter," Mallory shared. "We certainly need people successfully doing their work in the corporate world, but I was searching for something different."
Then one day during a quick scroll-session on LinkedIn, an ad caught Mallory's eye. IJM was hiring a Director of Strategic Partnerships in Dallas and Mallory suddenly knew that she needed to apply. After a three month hiring process, Mallory was assured that IJM was professional in all areas - stewarding their money with wisdom, tracking data and metrics, and making a significant impact on behalf of the world's most vulnerable populations. Once she began her new role, it was easy to see how Mallory's skill set in sales was now being used for a greater purpose.
Over 40 million people are still held in slavery today. Gary Haugen, CEO of IJM, says “while it’s more prevalent than ever, it is also more stoppable than ever.” The broken justice systems in these communities can be fixed and slavery can be stopped. If the justice systems begin working correctly, then they will prevent most abuses from happening in the first place. And Dallas is proving to be a key factor in IJM's fight against injustice. "Dallas is the number one city that supports IJM," said Mallory. "There are incredibly generous families who champion our work around the world." These families, combined with the support of many local churches are making it possible for IJM teams to help bring freedom to people in places like India, Thailand, Ghana, and the Dominican Republic.
Mallory's background in sports is also helpful as she develops partnerships with athletes who are passionate about human trafficking. Together their movement is called TEAM FREEDOM. "There are billions made in profit in the trafficking industry – there is a network of bad guys, we need to inspire the network of good guys" Mallory shared.
Last year Dallas native and MLB pitcher, Clayton Kershaw, joined TEAM FREEDOM and is using his public platform to bring awareness to an issue close to his heart. Clayton and Ellen Kershaw expressed, “We are humbled to partner with our friends at IJM. We deeply believe in the work that they do – impacting the lives of hundreds by offering freedom and new life. IJM shares our heart for making life infinitely better for vulnerable children. Our contribution plays a small part in their huge task: breaking through darkness with light and hope. It's our joy to stand in support of this incredible cause."
By inspiring and empowering the Dallas community, Mallory is creating a force for good around the world, gathering people together to use their influence and resources to bring an end to exploitation, trafficking, and violence.
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Story by Mary Martin. Photos courtesy of International Justice Mission.