Ashlee Hunt Kleinert ’88 shines a light on the tough topic of sex trafficking

A young woman carrying a backpack walked into the Fairmont Dallas bar, sat next to Ashlee Hunt Kleinert ’88 and her husband, Chris ’88, and ordered a glass of water. In her cutoff overalls and tank top, she stood out in the crowd of suits and cocktail attire. The Kleinerts, who were at the downtown hotel for a social event, thought she looked too young to sit at the bar. They guessed she was about 17 or 18. More conspicuous, though, was the young woman’s trembling discomfort. “She was constantly looking over her shoulder, scanning the room and scraping her nails along the bar’s surface,” Kleinert remembers. “She seemed terrified.” New Friends New Life, co-founded by Nancy Ann Hunter Hunt ’65, Pat Schenkel and Gail Turner in 1998, helps human trafficking survivors. Kleinert, a longtime volunteer with New Friends New Life, a faith-based Dallas nonprofit offering a comprehensive program for human trafficking survivors, recognized the behavior of a young woman being exploited. “Her pimp likely sat among the patrons, keeping watch while she waited to join a john in a hotel room,” Kleinert says. When her husband suggested passing along a note about New Friends and the phone number, Kleinert hesitated. Through her volunteer work, she knew that if the pimp were watching, such contact could put the trafficking victim in peril. Torn by the possible ramifications [...]