PLNU professor wins award for anti-human trafficking efforts

Jamie Gates, director of the Center for Justice and Reconciliation at PLNU, received the Angels in Trafficking award Jan. 8 from the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition (BSCC) for aiding human trafficking survivors in San Diego.

The BSCC board chose Gates because of his efforts to raise awareness of human trafficking and for creating the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund for survivors.

“We chose a university that really showed commitment to human trafficking and to making a difference,” said Maris Ugarte, executive director and founder of BSCC. “I recommended Gates name to the collision board and we agreed that he deserved the award. He is a leader.”

Gates is a professor of sociology at PLNU and one of the masterminds behind Beauty for Ashes, a scholarship that provides a year’s worth of tuition at PLNU to a human trafficking victim.

Ugarte and Board Chair J.W. August, a former channel 10 investigative reporter presented Gates with the Angels in Trafficking award. The award was given to Gates at the annual BSCC breakfast.

“I’m glad for the award because it shines light and brings attention to what’s needed,” Gates said. “What’s really important is the work we’re doing.”

Gates believes the scholarship is the first step for PLNU to help with human trafficking. As of now the funds are closing in on $80,000, exceeding their original goal of $40,000.

“I’ve had at least seven organizations from other states like New York City, Sacramento, or Denver contact me,” said Gates.

They wanted to see if human trafficking survivors in their organizations could qualify for the scholarship explained Gates.

Senior Mollie Ah Sing, an international studies major, is the lead CJR Beauty for Ashes intern and the BSCC outreach coordinator. She said this is a huge encouragement to him as a leader of their efforts.

“Jamie puts in a lot of hours but even more heart and faith into this work and fully deserves the recognition,” said Ah Sing via text to The Point.

Currently, the team is working with local organizations like Generate Hope, Hope House, and the Salvation Army for scholarship recipients but would love to partner with more in the future.