Author, All That Is Bitter and Sweet (Ballantine, 2011)
Hollywood Movie Star, has been in twenty films
Serves on Board of Directors for Population Services International
Graduate, University of Kentucky
MPA, Harvard's Kennedy School of Government
Ashley Judd: Sounding the Alarm on Human Trafficking
The 700 Club
GLOBAL AMBASSADOR - Ashley Judd became the global ambassador for Population Services International (PSI), a public health nonprofit, in 2003. Since then she’s been on the front lines of the fight against preventable diseases such as HIV and human trafficking, sex slavery and labor slavery.
Ashley has always had “an intense sense of righteous indignation and an urge to speak for the voiceless and the oppressed “because she felt “so invisible and invalidated” as a child. She was first invited by PSI to become part of their YouthAIDS campaign — shortly before she made a ten day “Heart of America” tour with Bono to raise awareness about African Aids.
Ashley took her first trip to Cambodia in 2004 as YouthAIDS ambassador. She visited brothels and orphanages and met with government officials. Ashley learned that years of war had turned Cambodia into one of the poorest nations in the world and that many women turned to prostitution to survive. Others were lured to the city of Phnom Penh with promises of jobs and then coerced into brothels. Some were sold outright to traffickers for international sex slavery. Ashley was deeply moved by the women she met one-on-one—and especially the orphans who had lost parents to AIDS.
Next, Ashley headed to Thailand, where she was permitted access to the brothel district of Pattaya. She listened to the stories of six prostitutes living there—and became desperate to help them escape. Later she realized such action would jeopardize the very access PSI needed as a public health organization. She also visited an AIDS hospice, where her picture was taken as she embraced and comforted a man dying of AIDS. The photo was placed on the front page of Bangkok’s newspapers. She also met with the prime minister of Thailand, who offered PSI the full support of his government.
After her trips to Cambodia and Thailand, Ashley was invited to join PSI’s board of directors and began planning her next trip to Kenya, Madagascar and South Africa. In Kenya, she confronted the horrors of female circumcision. Following her trip, Ashley was asked to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations committee and the National Press Club about the violence against women that forces them to exchange sex for economic survival.
Ashley has also worked with PSI in India, Rwanda and the Congo, which she refers to as “the Republic of Rape.”
Ashley says she has “always had an absolutely insane sensitivity to sexual exploitation of any kind….” because she was abused herself. As a young teenager, she was sexually molested by the husband of a family member. She also identifies with the orphans of the world since she considers herself a “lost child”—one who was left alone by her mother sometimes for days at a time. Today, Ashley is happily married to race-car driver Dario Franchitti, a two time Indy Racing League and two time Indy 500 champion.
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