Center honors two who continue the fight against modern-day slavery

Washington, D.C. – The abolition of the slave trade was passed in Britain parliament 200 years ago. To coincide with the anniversary of this historical date, the National Center for Leadership has chosen to honor two individuals for their present-day work in the global fight against human trafficking, exploitation and oppression.

The 2007 NCL Leadership Award will be presented to Gary Haugen, founder of International Justice Mission, and The Honorable Linda Smith, former Congresswoman and founder of Shared Hope International, at “An Evening of Amazing Grace.” The event will be at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 18, at the Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. Tickets are on sale now.

The NCL Leadership Award is given to those in influential positions of leadership, who exemplify the integration of the Christian faith with their leadership responsibilities.

“Gary Haugen and Linda Smith exemplify the integration of their Christian faith with their desire to make a difference in the lives of human beings around the globe,” said Lora Tredway, vice chairman of the National Center for Leadership board of directors.  “Both Gary and Linda were doing that in their chosen careers of law and politics. Then each witnessed such significant examples of human oppression and exploitation that they felt compelled to do an entirely different thing.” 

“Each founded an organization to end current systems of human bondage. Each cultivated that organization and inspired others to commit to the mission. Each has worked tirelessly for the past decade inspiring people with a sense of purpose for their lives, while providing servant leader ship to end modern-day slavery.”


Haugen founded International Justice Mission 10 years ago. As a lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice, Haugen and was put on loan to the United Nations to direct its investigation into the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The atrocities he witnessed there prompted him to found IJM as an international human rights agency that rescues victims of violence, sexual exploitation, slavery and oppression.

Smith founded Shared Hope International nearly a decade ago after her experience while traveling in India as a member of the U.S. Congress. In Bombay, at a location of one of the worst brothels in the world, she saw the hopeless faces of desperate women and children forced into prostitution. On her return, she was compelled to found SHI, a non-profit organization with the mission to fight sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation and to serve the long-term restoration needs of women and children in crisis.

These individuals have reached the highest levels of their professions, demonstrate Christ-like attitudes, and are making a difference for their fellow human beings on a significant scale, Tredway said. The National Center for Leadership seeks to honor key leaders in the professions of medicine, law, government, education, sports, the arts and the non-profit sector.

Past recipients include Charles Mann and Art Monk, co-founders of the Good Samaritan Foundation and former Washington Redskins players, former Senator Harris Wofford and former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist.

For ticket information, contact Dianne Rodgers at (202) 244-6424 or

For more information about International Justice Mission, visit; for more information about Shared Hope International, visit


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