TAMPA (WFLA) – Rob Canton is usually busy on his Thonotosassa goat farm but he’s now turning his attention to a new herd and worthy cause.
If you’ve recently been to the International Plaza in Tampa, you may have noticed that it’s been taken over by 15 painted goat statues. The herd is a part of Project G.O.A.T. or Global Offensive Against Trafficking.
“Project G.O.A.T is a fundraiser awareness campaign that was started to raise awareness in the fight against human trafficking,” said Canton.
Canton is the president and CEO of a nonprofit corporation, Athletes and Causes. He also runs Grady Goat farm with his wife. Together, the couple started Grady Goat Foundation to raise funds for various charities. Project G.O.A.T is their latest campaign.
“We decided to have 55 goats sculpted and painted by different artists throughout Tampa Bay, as a way to bring attention to the cause,” said Canton. “We picked 55 goats because of the fact that Super Bowl LV is going to be here in Tampa in February Fingers crossed. Super Bowls and other major events like that across the country are big magnets for human trafficking, unfortunately.”
“It’s human trafficking, child sex trafficking, it’s something that doesn’t get a lot of exposure, doesn’t get a lot of notice. So, the fact that people are stopping and looking at them, I think is the most important part of it, the awareness that we can get,” said Canton. “This is $300 billion a year industry, which is just sickening.”
Canton tells WFLA.com, he also chose to use goats as his muse after learning how the animals are empowering women in India.
“I actually came across a web blog by Bill Gates that talked about how goats are empowering women in the poorest parts of India. Essentially, it’s giving them a career and keeping them out of a life of being trafficked,” said Canton. “There, the goat ownership per capita in India is higher than anywhere else. So, it’s just creating these really poor desolate areas in India, creating jobs and careers for these women.”
Project G.O.A.T sculptures will eventually be auctioned off with all proceeds going towards organizations dedicated to fighting human trafficking.
“Hopefully all of them will have a home by the time the Super Bowl comes along. That’s Saturday before the Superbowl is our target to auction them all off.”