Nick Jonas on Ending Human Trafficking: ‘I Think That’s Our Responsibility, to a Certain Degree’

Nick Jonas celebrates the launch of the new fragrance JVxNJ at Mission Nightclub on Aug. 8, 2018, in New York. (Andy Kropa/Invision/AP)

WASHINGTON – Grammy-nominated artist Nick Jonas said it’s the “responsibility to some degree” of U.S. citizens to support efforts to combat human trafficking, urging his fans to “get behind” organizations dedicated to the cause.

For the second year, Jonas is supporting the Strike Out Slavery initiative, established by Los Angeles Angels player Albert Pujols and his wife, Deidre. Jonas is scheduled to perform at a concert following the Nationals vs. Phillies game on August 23 in Washington. The singer and actor explained his connection to the Pujols family and how he initially got involved with their organization, which is dedicated to fighting human trafficking.

“The moments like this where I can share with my fans a cause that is important that I feel like they should get behind as well are why I do what I do. In my life so far, in the public eye, and personally, my focus has been diabetes and some other areas as far as giving back and causes I am aligned with, but my relationship with the Pujols family goes back, I think 8, 9 years now to when I was performing with my brothers,” Jonas said during a press conference July 30 at Nationals Stadium.

“We met them and saw the passion they have about all their causes and how tight-knit they are as a family, and it really spoke to me and my family,” he added.

According to the official Strike Out Slavery website, the Pujols family “knew that if Major League Baseball teams, players and fans joined them, Strike Out Slavery could spread awareness about modern slavery and help a global network of nonprofit organizations rally against it.” Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg is involved with the cause and also participated in the news conference.

Jonas is optimistic that the concert will encourage his fans and the general public to support Strike Out Slavery and similar efforts to combat human trafficking and sex trafficking as well as help victims.

“I’m hopeful that we can continue some great awareness and prevent this from happening because I think that’s our responsibility, to a certain degree. And when you have people who are as passionate as the Pujols family is and Stephen, it’s just great to be part of it and I’m truly grateful and hopeful we can do some great work,” he said.

Before Jonas left the press conference, Deidre Pujols said, “Nick really has an incredible audience of young people, the age group that we really want to help encourage and educate.”

Last year, President Trump signed the executive order “Enforcing Federal Law with Respect to Transnational Criminal Organizations and Preventing International Trafficking.” According to the White House, the order “directed the United States government to identify, interdict, disrupt, and dismantle the transnational criminal organizations that engage in human trafficking.”

Trump has argued that the completion of a border wall system would help the U.S. crack down on human traffickers.

“You have the coyotes, you have the traffickers, the human traffickers. Not only drug traffickers, but the human traffickers. They use these children as passports to get into the country,” Trump said in June. “So we have to work on that, too. It’s a very complex issue.”

PJM asked Deidre Pujols if she would be willing to bring the Strike Out Slavery coalition to the White House to meet with Trump and discuss the issue of human trafficking.

“I’m always open to going to the White House. We have. Albert and I met with Ivanka [Trump] several months back and then after that we met with some of her team. They know about Strike Out Slavery and I know that there’s many efforts, you know, the government is just one part of how we can make things better, but they can’t do it alone. And so I feel like if we can kind of get all of the groups together, it will be much more powerful,” she replied.

“I don’t say it lightly, but my thought is if we keep having roundtable discussions the bad guys are just going to stay ahead in the game. They’ve figured out how to do their crime well and so, for me, I’m a very action-minded person and boots on the ground. So I just kind of go after the issue and the cause, rally my troops and go after it; I don’t sit around much and have meetings, although in 2016 that was a big part of all I did,” she added.

Pujols continued, “If those doors at the White House or with both parties or any party – I’ll tag along. I want to talk about the issue and how we can make it, the fight, stronger against the bad people and I would absolutely be open to that.”