Today is Shay Mitchell’s 27th birthday, and the Pretty Little Liars star has a very specific birthday wish. What does she want for her birthday? The answer may surprise you! In Shay’s words: “Whatever you can contribute would be greatly appreciated, both by me, and the women and children whose lives you help save.”
For her birthday, Shay wants those reaching out with “thoughtful messages from friends, fans, and family alike” to consider giving their gift in the form of a donation to The Somaly Mam Foundation (SMF). She has set up a page on the website Crowdrise to make it easy for birthday well-wishers to donate to the fundraiser. So far, Shay has raised more than $4,400 for the cause!
What is the SMF? We’ll let Shay explain: “This is an extraordinary organization that is dedicated to eradicating the trafficking and sexual exploitation of women and girls, and empowering survivors as part of the solution,” she says on the Crowdrise page. “During the trip that I made to Cambodia, I have witnessed, first hand, the incredible work that SMF does, and it is life-changing for all involved.” She calls the organization “one of the things most dear to my heart,” and any and all donations “the best birthday gift ever.”
The SMF has made it its goal to make the world safe for girls and women from trafficking and sexual exploitation. Right now, human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry and the fastest growing criminal enterprise in the world, according to the SMF site. An estimated two million women and children are sold into sexual slavery every year. The SMF works to eradicate this industry and empower the survivors as part of the solution.
We’re so proud of Shay for devoting her celebrity voice to such a worthwhile cause.
Catch the next episode of Pretty Little Liars on June 10, 2014 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.