Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols and his wife, Deidre, hold a special place in the heart of New York Mets second baseman Robinson Canó. So when he first learned of their campaign to raise awareness for the issue of human trafficking, it was important for him to lend his voice to the cause.
“I look at [Pujols] as a big brother, and why not support?" Canó told amNewYork on Saturday. "This is the type of thing that not only a few of us but a lot of us should get involved [with] and support each other."
While Canó was automatically on board to help his fellow countryman, he nonetheless performed his due diligence. He said there are between 60,000 and 400,000 victims of human trafficking in the United States. Beyond statistics, the 36-year-old from the Dominican Republic cited one of the most memorable recent action films that put a spotlight on the worldwide issue.
“The first time I saw the movie ‘Taken’, how his daughter went into another country and that happened, imagine if that’s one of my family members?" Canó said. "You don’t even want your enemies to go through that.”
Strike Out Slavery was created in 2017 by the Pujols to create awareness among baseball fans of modern-day slavery, including sex trafficking, forced labor, involuntary domestic servitude, and child soldiers.
After the Mets hosted the Colorado Rockies on Saturday at Citi Field, the announced 29,077 fans were treated to a performance from hip-hop legend and Grammy winner. Lauryn Hill to lend her support for Strike Out Slavery. Both Canó and Deidre Pujols, who was in Queens on Saturday, are fans of Hill.
“I would say everyone, not only in the United States but [among] Dominicans, fell in love with the song ‘Killing Me Softly,’ ” Canó said, smiling.
“Oh my God! I am definitely a fan. I grew up with her music,” Pujols said. “She’s been huge since we invited her in. She’s been very vocal and very involved.”