April 5th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Baseball strikeouts help free child slaves

By Ryan Cooper, CNN

(Jupiter, Florida and Scottsdale, Arizona) - A growing number of Major League Baseball players are coming together to make every pitch, home run and strikeout count in the fight against child trafficking.

The players are pledging to donate money for each of their on-field achievements this season to the Free 2 Play campaign, a platform for the California-based Not For Sale non-profit group.

"A lot of Americans are shocked to hear that there are 30 million people living in slavery today, and [many] of those are children," Dave Batstone, Not For Sale's co-founder, said. "So we decided to create a program that not just releases a child from slavery, but provides them a new future."

Jeremy Affeldt, a relief pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, has been one of the most vocal athletes raising money and awareness for Not For Sale. Last season, he pledged $250 for every strikeout he pitched.

Affeldt has been recruiting teammates and other teams' ball players to join the fight.

"This is an opportunity for us as ball players to join together as one team, to support something that's very, very important," Affeldt said.

This season, at least 17 players from MLB have signed up to Team Free 2 Play, with more expected to join the effort.

Josh Collmenter, a pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, said he wanted to take part after hearing Affeldt and Batstone speak about the global problem of modern-day slavery.

"It is definitely something I wanted to make sure I did to give back to the community and be a role model and help out where I can," he said.

But it's not just players who can make a difference. Fans can now get involved, too.

This season, Not for Sale has launched a new Free 2 Play Facebook app. It allows fans to pick their favorite player and stat, and then pledge a donation for every on-field achievement.

For example, fans of St. Louis Cardinals player Matt Holliday may choose to pledge 25 cents for every home run he hits this season.

"A fan can choose their favorite team, their favorite player, their favorite stat – and pledge 50 cents, a dime, doesn't matter what the money is – but they can participate," Batstone said.

Every little bit counts, organizers say.

"When it comes to raising money, it's not about going after big hitters, it's about going after a large amount of people who give a little," Affeldt said. "And you can do a lot of damage with that."

To take part in Free 2 Play, you can log on to Facebook and search for 'Not For Sale.' Then click on the Free 2 Play app.

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soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. John Ludlow

    Here is the direct link to the Facebook app. http://www.facebook.com/notforsale/app_379810828709266

    April 5, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  2. Kristal

    Wen did this take place? Im doing my international current events report on this, and i need to know when this took place and if is still in progress when sid it strt?

    April 5, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Reply
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    April 8, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
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    April 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  5. Hiren Pabari

    Well,in a developed economy and in a well organized and sophisticated society of the world,there is no place for the slavery.The UN must intervene,as it is the protector of the political and civil rights of the living humans of this world,irrespective of their citizenship.There is no room for slavery.The rogue elements must be terminated ruthlessly with the help of the Armed Forces of the UN.No human can be at the mercy of another human.There should be a rule of law and not the law of guns nor the law of Fascists.If the concerned government is not able to curb this menace,the UN must intervene and use all the channels including the diplomatic channels to stop this business.No religion,and no religious leader will support slavery.We still have problems even in the developed countries like China,where the people are shot dead for not obeying superiors' orders,and that too without any prior warning.It is next to slavery.Even the world is kept in dark on human rights violations and Labor Exploitation in China.What is on the African coast,only the UN knows,and please for god's sake,terminate those ruthlessly who are indulging these practices.

    April 10, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Reply
  6. Renee

    I think its really sweet that these men are doing this to help stop child trafficing. Hopefully others will follow in thier footprints. =)

    April 16, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  7. Audrey

    I am glad that these basebal players are taking a stand in an injustice that many believe has not been happening. More public figures, like themselves, should use their star power to spread word on an important cause like this one. What they are doing is great and I hope many people chose to do the same.

    April 16, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Reply
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  11. AZScouser

    Kudos to Jeremy. But only 17 players signed-up? Shameful

    May 4, 2012 at 11:44 pm | Reply
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