May 11, 2022

“Stepping Up to Serve” – Bikers Against Trafficking (BAT) Mississippi

Nicole McCardle

“STEPPING UP TO SERVE” IS A MISSISIPPI-BASED INITIATIVE TO SHOWCASE PEOPLE IN OUR COMMUNITY WHO ARE GOING THE EXTRA MILE TO GIVE BACK. THIS SEGMENT IS MADE POSSIBLE BY:

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“Stepping Up to Serve” – Bikers Against Trafficking (BAT) Mississippi

There were 187 reported trafficking victims in Mississippi in 2020, according to the NHTH (National Human Trafficking Hotline). 

Meaning, at 175% higher than the national average, Mississippi holds the title for the second-highest amount of human trafficking cases in the country.

L to R: Amanda Jo Brown, Nick Brown, Kristina McCool, John McCool (Photo Credit: BAT Mississippi)

Investigator Nick Brown with the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office has worked in law enforcement for over 17 years and is assigned to a federal Human Trafficking Taskforce.

He observes the aftermath of human trafficking on a daily basis – but not just from his job.

Nick and his wife, Amanda Jo, are the founders of the Mississippi chapter of Bikers Against Trafficking (BAT).

With a team of bikers around the state, the chapter helps spread information and awareness about human trafficking in the community, participates in in public events, and hosts fundraisers to provide resources to human trafficking victims.

“Whenever we do an event there’s always at least one person who will come up and say something about either their daughter, their mother, or their brother or sister,” said Nick.

The Bikers Against Trafficking organization was originally established in Lake Mary, Florida by Diena “Rainey” Cannavino-Nave, and Patrick “Doc” Nave.

Being survivors of human trafficking themselves, their goal for BAT is to eradicate human trafficking around the globe.

And so far, their efforts have been successful.

BAT has partnered with over 530 individuals and their families who have been trafficked since inception.

The BAT Mississippi chapter was founded in 2019 when Brown, who had been riding motorcycles since he was nineteen, was looking to join a bike crew that rode for a cause.

Working in human trafficking, he naturally came across the BAT chapter in Florida.

Kristina McCool (Photo Credit: BAT Mississippi)

Brown knew that he could help.

He had the unique duality of being able to to identify victims in need through his federal work, and also connecting them to critical resources through BAT.

Opening doors to shelters, mental health, food, clothing, personally hygiene products, job placements, and treatment plans helps victims overcome complex trauma and exploitation from trafficking.

“If you can help one person, it’s worth it,” said Brown.

“And I’ve had more than one person message me with pictures of their kids at holidays and birthdays and say, ‘If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have this opportunity’, or, ‘I’d be dead.’”

One of the BAT Mississippi chapter members, Kristina McCool, is also the Operations Manager at The Tower, the only long-term trafficking shelter in the state.

The Tower is a safe haven that provides housing for victims and their children at an undisclosed location in Pearl.

In their first year, BAT Mississippi was able to raise enough donations to double the bed space at The Tower.

90% of all funds raised stay in the state of Mississippi, and 100% of those donations are given directly to victims of human trafficking.

“I want to make sure that we can stand up and say that 100% of what we raise goes to the victim. That’s where it should go,” said Brown.

BAT MS Mascot (Photo Credit: BAT Mississippi)

“Our goal is to make sure that people in the entire state, top to bottom, know that if they are working with a victim and they need something they can’t afford, they can contact us.”

The BAT Mississippi 2022 fundraising event will be held on September 17 at Black Axes Throwing Club.

Live bands, a dunking booth, bounce houses, inflatable axe throwing for kids, a poker run, and live auction will all be available to the public.

Follow BAT Mississippi on Facebook to stay up to date with fundraising events and human trafficking statistics.

If you know someone who is a victim of human trafficking, call 911 or your local police department immediately.

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BAT Mississippi Photo Gallery:

(Photo Credit: BAT Mississippi)

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