TRIPCHAT APP Draws National Attention: First Mobile App Featuring Action Button for Human Trafficking Prevention Women-owned Louisiana Business Joins Forces Nationally With Operation Underground Railroad, Pop-A-Lock and Louisiana Secretary of State's N
LAFAYETTE, LA. – GWBD LLC, dba TripChat Global, a business founded by Louisiana entrepreneurs Nicole Quinlan and Ali Landry providing an ingenious travel and tourism mobile app, is the first in the travel industry that includes a feature connecting users directly to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The app is an innovative disruptor in the travel/marketing industry, providing highly effective and affordable branding and advertising for businesses.
TripChat features proprietary audio billboards featuring geo-fencing technology delivering curated stories and images about the culture, history, business and attractions that surround users as they travel.
TripChat answers life curiosities, boosts the economy through real time details of attractions and experiences available nearby.
Ali Landry is famous as an actress, model, and founder of RE/SHAPE Lifestyle platform, and former Miss USA. She partnered with Quinlan, to create a way to share Louisiana's rich cultural heritage, featuring both engaging stories and images.
“I am so thrilled to be launching TripChat in my beautiful home state of Louisiana, sharing our history and culture with all those who visit, said Landry. "With a family that loves adventure and travel, TripChat allows us to explore both new and familiar places. These stories bring our beautiful world to life.”
“Consumers now rely heavily on technology to navigate their lives, creating a demand for innovative solutions that provides consumer confidence,” explains Quinlan. The company's founders chose to feature their new mobile app launch as a platform to raise awareness about Human Trafficking Prevention during a private screening of the movie "Sound of Freedom," on March 7, 2022 prior to the premier and national release scheduled for September 2022.
The "Sound of Freedom" is a gripping and heart stopping biographical action drama documenting the heroic human trafficking rescue missions of Timothy Ballard, as an agent with the Office of Homeland Security who later founded Operation Underground Rescue (O.U.R.), an international human trafficking prevention and rescue organization.
“We applaud TripChat, their founders and the entire TripChat team for their efforts to put the use of technology to good! Human Trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises on the earth. In order to put an end to it, we need individuals like these to rise up and use their own talents to help put an end to this horrific plaque. This will be a great tool that will make a major impact in the fight against human trafficking and exploitation,” said Ballard at the preview of the movie.
Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and national sponsor Pop-A-Lock were among the distinguished guests of state elected official, local leaders and business owners partnering with TripChat.
“I’m proud to announce our partnership with TripChat, along with the launch of the Louisiana Businesses Against Trafficking program. Our goal is to help Louisiana business owners become the first line of defense by teaching them its signs, and the devastating effects of human trafficking,” said Ardoin.
Pop-A-Lock CEO Don Marks has seen the growth of TripChat's development and was eager to support the app for a variety of reasons related to their proprietary audio billboards, focus on safety and family travel opportunities. Since it’s founding in the early 90’s, Pop-A-Lock’s has provided free emergency unlocking services, which has rescued over 350,000 children.
"Now, with just one click of a button, users can be connected to the National Human Trafficking Hotline and Pop-A-Locks National dispatch center, said Quinlan. TripChat envisions this connection will create a network of heroes, by allowing for an easy way to report any suspected human trafficking activity or to request emergency roadside and unlocking assistance”.
“Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery in which traffickers use force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of engaging in commercial sex acts or labor services against their will," said Attorney General Jeff Landry. "From learning the signs of human trafficking to reporting suspected trafficking, we can all do our parts to save victims’ lives and bring criminals to justice.”
TripChat is a free mobile app available compatible with Apple and Google.
For more information about TripChat and to download the app: https://tripchatapp.com
New Orleans Rallies in Support of Ukraine
By Jenn Bentley
Hundreds of New Orleanians gathered in support of Ukraine at a rally on Monday. Anna Kushnir (right), seen here in traditional Ukrainian clothing sang the country’s national anthem. Photo by Jenn Bentley
Around one hundred New Orleanians showed up at a rally in support of Ukraine in spite of the cold and the threat of rain on Monday. The rally was hosted by Louisiana’s Honorary Consulate of Ukraine, Edward Hayes. Hayes says that people from all over Louisiana have been calling his office nearly constantly to find out how they can help after Russia invaded the country on Feb. 24.
“That’s one of the most amazing things about Louisiana: we have such a wonderful spirit and the support has been overwhelming,” Hayes said. “There’s obviously a lot of charities and things that I’ve been referring people to, but I think most fundamentally, just continue to talk about what’s going on, make sure that this story continues to lead because innocent people are dying unnecessarily in this unprovoked war.”
Edward T. Hayes, Honorary Consul to Ukraine speaks at a rally in support of Ukraine at Lafayette Park, New Orleans March 8, 2022. Photo by Jenn Bentley
In addition to those wanting to donate their time and money, Hayes said that there has been no shortage of people wanting to sign up to help in the fight against the Russian army as well. Ukraine began accepting American volunteers, sending out a message that any veteran or former law enforcement officers could reach out to their local Ukrainian consulate office to volunteer.
“We’re receiving at least 15 to 20 calls every day from military veterans, law enforcement personnel, who want to volunteer to go over there. Quite frankly, my receptionist is a little upset with me because of the number of calls we’ve been getting,” Hayes said. “But the overwhelming amount of support in that regard has truly been remarkable. And it’s one of the only things that’s made me feel good throughout the week.”
Shortly before the rally began, President Joe Biden announced further sanctions against Russia, including a ban against Russian energy imports. Hayes says that although he believes it was “a great step” that “needed to be done sooner rather than later,” it’s unfortunate that the move will likely have a negative impact on Louisiana’s own oil industry - which refines the majority of imported Russian crude. In addition, Hayes isn’t optimistic about the impact the energy sanctions will have.
“Unfortunately, I don't know that it’s going to have a major impact, because China’s just likely going to step in and purchase all the oil and crude and gas that’s now going to be prevented from coming here. And China has expressed its support for Russia throughout this. So I hope it has an effect, but I’m not entirely optimistic.”
Thus far, China has not condemned Putin’s attack on Ukraine, though the Chinese government did call for “restraint and respect for national sovereignty.” On Feb. 8, China and Russia announced that China would begin importing Russian wheat and barley - agricultural products that had previously been banned in China due to concerns over wheat smut fungus. It’s believed the lifting of the ban will help soften the blow of US and European sanctions banning the import of Russian agricultural products.
The Ukrainian government and Ukrainian people continue to call for President Biden to do more to help their country in the face of the Russian onslaught.
Ukrainian Anna Kushnir (right) and Lana (left) attend a rally in support of Ukraine in New Orleans. Lana withheld her last name for fear of endangering the safety of her family remaining in Ukraine. Photo by Jenn Bentley
“I want to tell the United States and everybody in the United States, please tell them to close the skies,” said Anna Kushnir. Though she has lived in the US since she was 14, Kushnir says many of her family and friends remain in Ukraine and are trying to get out of the country. “We need to close the sky, we need to shelter us from all the attacks from the skies. I know that my president has been speaking about it, and as he said, if you don’t close the sky, people are going to die more and more.”
Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky issued a statement on Tuesday (March 9) saying that the responsibility for Ukrainian deaths lies with Western governments who have, thus far, refused to create a no-fly zone over Ukraine.
“The blame for every death of every person in Ukraine from air strikes and in blocked cities, of course, lies with the Russian state, the Russian military, those who give and those who carry out criminal orders, who violate all the rules of warfare, who deliberately exterminate the Ukrainian people," Zelensky said. "The responsibility for this lies also with those who have not been able to make an obviously necessary decision somewhere in the West … those who have not yet secured the Ukrainian sky from Russian murderers; those who did not save our cities from air strikes. From these bombs, missiles, although they can.”