Anyone who has met Mary McAdams knows that she is not afraid to speak out about the things she believes in. It is a trait that has been passed around the household, because for the past two years, McAdams has watched her daughter, Lexi, take up the banner of an important cause.
“When she was 15, she went out to Washington, D.C., on a youth trip,” McAdams explained. “While she was there, one of the tasks they were given was to attend a seminar on something you know nothing about. She chose sex trafficking.”
The human sex trade is something that McAdams had touched on before. Her song “Girl Next Door” is about human trafficking, and McAdams was already aware of the trade’s prevalence in the United States. But for Lexi, the seminar in D.C. was a paradigm shift.
“It was very eye opening to her,” McAdams concurred. “Sex trafficking of children is happening right here in the United States. Here in Iowa. During the Iowa State Fair, boys basketball tournament, Drake Relays. She wanted to spread the word. She got off the plane and she was like, ‘You’re with me or not, but I’m doing this.’ ”
From that determination came Teens Against Human Trafficking (TAHT). Founded by Lexi when she was 18, the organization is a 501(c)3 non-profit that strives to educate young people about the realities of the human sex trade that’s taking place in their own back yards. The group has written a curriculum and created teams of teens who go into schools and communities to help spread the word and stop the flow. But now TAHT is preparing for a transition.
“We’re losing Lexi,” McAdams said. “She’s going off to start the next phase of her life, and we need an executive director to take this over and take it to the next level.”
To help make that happen, TAHT is hosting a benefit this week, with McAdams and some other local music heavy hitters lending their musical talents to help raise money. People who cannot make the event are encouraged to donate at the organization’s website, www.LetsGetAngry.org.
“It works,” McAdams said of the organization’s efforts. “Teens from these teams are saying, ‘This generation will expose sex trafficking in Iowa.’ ” CV