Marisol Nichols - Founder and Executive Director
Born and raised in Chicago, after a troubled youth, Nichols found her way onto the stage at the age of 19. Since then, she has starred in numerous films and television shows. She has been a series regular on seven prime time television shows for ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and Showtime including Steven Bochco’s Blind Justice, and Fox’s award winning 24. Her film credits include Vegas Vacation, Can’t Hardly Wait, Felon, Scream 2, and Bowfinger to name a few.
Nichols has been balancing her humanitarian work while recurring on NCIS and Criminal Minds. She is currently filming her new show, CW’s new television series Riverdale, a subversive take of the famed comic series Archie.
Nichols has been fighting human rights abuses for over a decade. She has traveled to DC and lobbied for new legislative bills addressing human rights violations. She hosted the 11th and the 12th Human Rights World Educational Tour in Washington DC, produced the Youth for Human Rights Hero Awards, hosted the Citizen Commission on Human Rights Awards celebration, and helped launch a juvenile criminal rehabilitation program in her hometown of Chicago, as well as partnered with other human rights organizations to lend her voice and name in anyway she can. She was awarded the Spirit of the Community Award from the Association for Better Living and Education for her work on juvenile criminal rehabilitation, as well as Illinois State House Resolution HR1023, recognizing not only her work as an actress, but also her humanitarian efforts. She has also lent her support to imperative Federal and State trafficking legislation to help crack down on how the country deals with child sex trafficking. Her passion is now dedicated to putting an end to the most egregious human rights violation, human trafficking.
When Nichols began hearing of specific instances of children having been trafficked, abused and exploited, she had to do something about it. While attending many red carpet events for humanitarian issues, Nichols found herself wondering why she didn’t see many red carpet events to shine a light on human trafficking, to raise funds for the cause, and educate others on the issue. In typical fashion, she decided to start her own nonprofit organization and produce her own events to raise awareness and partner with organizations that are doing incredible work in this field, while garnering media attention in order to share their heroic work with the world.
Foundation for a Slavery Free World was born out of those travels and her events.
Advisory Board Members
John Ryan, Former CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
Since becoming president and CEO of the National Center, Ryan led a campaign to fight child sex trafficking in this country, raising awareness with Congress and a multitude of organizations. As the sale of children for sex shifted from the streets to the Internet – through online classified sites likeBackpage.com – Ryan led a crusade to help stop the sexual assault of children. “Defenseless children in this country need help,” Ryan said. "It's unacceptable that the most vulnerable in our society have become victims and their innocence lost."
In 2013, after the Penn State Jerry Sandusky scandal, Ryan spearheaded "Safe to Compete: Protecting Child Athletes from Sexual Abuse." The summit, co-hosted by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, brought together youth-sports organizations and issue experts to discuss child sexual abuse prevention. This national summit, held at NCMEC's headquarters, brought attention to this issue. Attending the event were many national youth organizations, who have made protecting child athletes from any kind of abuse, their top priority.
"John's commitment to America's children throughout his career – and in particular to the mission of NCMEC – is greatly appreciated,” said John Walsh, NCMEC's co-founder, long-time victims' advocate and TV host. "We thank him for dedicating so many years to our cause."
Tim Ballard, Founder and CEO Operation Underground Railroad
Tim Ballard is the Founder and CEO of Operation Underground Railroad (O.U.R.). He also serves as O.U.R.'s Jump Team Commander for rescue operations.
Ballard began his career at the Central Intelligence Agency where he worked cases dealing with terrorism and Latin America. He has spent over a decade working as a Special Agent for the Department of Homeland Security where he was assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and deployed as an undercover operative for the U.S. Child Sex Tourism Jump Team.
He has worked every type of case imaginable in the fight to dismantle child trafficking rings. Ballard has worked undercover in the United States and in multiple foreign countries to infiltrate child trafficking organizations. In this effort he has successfully dismantled dozens of these organizations and rescued countless children from sex slavery.
Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, Founder and President of Youth For Human Rights International
Born and raised in apartheid South Africa, Mary Shuttleworth saw firsthand the devastating effects of discrimination and a lack of basic human rights. As a teenager, she traveled extensively throughout Europe. During her studies and travels, she saw further discrimination and realized that issues of human rights violations reached far beyond the borders of her own country. Certain that education was the long-term solution to improving conditions, Shuttleworth earned her Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University. To rapidly expand the organization and reach youth around the globe, she has collaborated with like-minded individuals, groups, and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally. The organization now has hundreds of groups and chapters in over 100 countries around the world.
Believing in meeting with people in their own countries to observe the issues they face and to encourage their efforts, Dr. Shuttleworth has circled the globe annually since 2004, visiting over 80 countries. Her actions in forwarding the cause of human rights have been covered by local, national and international media, including radio, press and TV. Through her efforts she has reached millions of people across cultural and geographic boundaries, inspiring leadership through education.