Over the last decade Jess Torres has dedicated their professional work to gender and racial activism focusing on education, community organizing and empowering survivors of trafficking, exploitation and gender violence to heal and reclaim their lives. Jess has consistently worked to challenge structural injustices through various direct services, direct action, coordinating and speaking opportunities – activating folks to change laws and defend the rights of marginalized populations.
Presently, Jess is proudly serving as the Survivor Coordinator for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST), co-overseeing and co-developing projects related to survivor leadership including the Resilient Voices group (local Survivor Advisory Caucus) and The National Survivor Network, an initiative launched by CAST to provide survivors a platform for advocacy work, peer to peer mentorship and support. Also, Jess partners with the California Department of Social Services to provide DMST/CSEC training and consulting throughout California, in addition to assisting in the development and implementation of educational curriculum’s and workshops for system-involved, LGBTQ+, and undocumented youth.
In their previous position at the NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, Jess organized borough to borough events in an effort to educate the community about trafficking and domestic violence and create awareness about the services available throughout NYC. While building and maintaining collaborative relationships with and conducting trainings for city agencies, city officials and community stakeholders — exceeding referral goals in their targeted housing developments and curating social media content for the agency.
Jess is also a full-time liberation artist and small business owner. As a survivor and overcomer of commercial sexual exploitation; their mission is to continue to advocate for those who are silenced and empower survivor leaders and community leaders with the competency and technical assistance needed, so that our energy can translate into true accountability, healing, and constructive uplift for survivors, while sponsoring prevention for future generations.
Samantha is a consultant and human trafficking Survivor Leader. She is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, holding a Bachelor of Social Work, Cum Laude and a Masters of Science in Social Work. During her college career, she served as officer in a number student organizations, honor societies and worked extensively with students and faculty committees on topics of racism and multiculturalism. She has led and participated on several research teams, with primary focus on marginalized populations.
For over ten years, Samantha worked in the nonprofit arena in a variety of executive and consultant roles dealing with adolescent mental health, crisis assessment, public health, communicable diseases, managed care, long term care, home health and hospice. She has been trained by the Centers for Disease Control as a Train the Trainer in harm reduction, with specific focus on adult learners. Samantha was an adjunct professor for three years, with a primary focus on multicultural studies.
Samantha believes in giving back to the community. She has served as a field instructor and advisory board member for several university social work programs. She has volunteered with United Way, the Department of Children’s Services, Juvenile Court’s Foster Care Advisory Board and Court Appointed Special Advocate programs, and has served on the board of directors for a handful of nonprofits and community organizations.
Samantha is a graduate of the Rebecca Bender Initiative ELEVATE Business Advanced program and a member of the GEMS Survivor Leadership Institute. She volunteers regularly with Women of the Well in Louisville, KY and serves as a survivor consultant with Phoenix Rising in Bowling Green, KY. Samantha speaks several times throughout the year at survivor led conferences on human trafficking policy and survivor leadership. She is the coordinator of the Southcentral Kentucky Human Trafficking Task Force. Samantha has been a member of the National Survivor Network since 2015 and is now honored to serve as a Policy Champion.
Tanya is an International Speaker, Licensed Minister, SME Trainer, and Inspirationalist. She has served in numerous outreach organizations in the United States, Ireland, Cameroon and other countries around the world.
Currently Tanya Street serves in her own community as a Museum and Fine Arts commissioner. She is a board member and advisor to various human trafficking organizations, a founder of a human trafficking support group for survivors, and a human trafficking survivor awareness presenter/expert trainer. She hosts a talk show for TBN’s Joy in Our town shown on WTPC in Virginia Beach, and lastly, Tanya is the President and Founder of Identifiable Me, a non-profit organization.
Tanya has a degree in communications and uses her gift of gab to tell her story of being trafficked when she was ending her high school career. Tanya’s Subject Matter Expertise in the area of human trafficking assists her goal to educate and change the way society views the issues of modern day slavery. Passionately, Tanya consistently seeks opportunities to network with communities, inspire change, and share the message of love, hope, and forgiveness.
Beth Jacobs is a survivor of child sex trafficking, Beth has a bachelor’s degree in social work and has been working with victims for 15 years, including providing group facilitation and curriculum writing. In St. Paul, Minnesota, she spearheaded the Offenders’ Prostitution Program (John school) and then was a field instructor for social work students at Winona State University and Alfred Adler Institute.
After moving to Arizona, Beth started an NGO in Tucson called Willow Way to help sexually exploited people find their way from victim to survivor to leader. She also collaborated with CODAC Behavioral Health, Our Family, Ward 6, Pima county courts, and Tucson police to create Project Raise, an alternative-to-jail program for prostituted/sex trafficked people. The collaboration organized and facilitated community dialogue trainings, focusing on public policy issues, to educate the public and change outdated, ineffective legislation, federally and locally. In addition to these efforts, she provides weekly educational/support groups for victims trying to escape prostitution/sex trafficking in Tucson.
To help with additional changes in state legislation, Beth worked with Arizona legislators, and, in the 2015 legislative session, her efforts visiting legislators, providing expert testimony and educating the community about human trafficking laws needing updating resulted in the passage of HB2553.
Ms. Jacobs, a field trainer for Truckers Against Trafficking, was the policy chair, and is currently policy champion for National Survivor Network (NSN) and serves as a consultant to ATEST, a collaborative of the 14 largest anti-trafficking agencies in the nation. In 2014, she participated in three legislative briefings in Washington D.C. and also spoke in Cali, Columbia at the first International Meeting for Human Trafficking Survivors. She has participated on a panel of experts at the New Hampshire School of Law and conducts workshops and educational presentations throughout the country, speaking as a subject matter expert.
Beth is a sought-after community trainer on the issue of prostitution/sex trafficking and is skilled at establishing collaborative efforts to accomplish common goals needed within the community. She believes her greatest accomplishment has been moving from victim to survivor to leader.
Vishal is a survivor of labor trafficking, he has been an active member of CAST Survivor Leadership Program and volunteer with CAST since June 2016. He is also a professional speaker on Human Trafficking with a major focus on spreading awareness on Labor Trafficking. Vishal has presented in numerous speaking events on human trafficking to students at Loyola Marymount University, doctors and medical staffs at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, and Dignity Health-California Hospital Medical Center. He also spoke at the 2017 Annual Freedom Walk.
His major achievement was his contribution in getting California state bill SB 54 passed, where he worked with ACLU along with other members of various organizations and spoke with California assembly members and their staff at the Capitol building in Sacramento, CA. and explained why we need to get SB54 bill passed.
Deborah Pembrook has many years’ experience in the anti-human trafficking movement is and passionate about ending all forms of human trafficking in our community. As Outreach Advocate for the Monterey County Rape Crisis Center, Deborah works directly with commercially sexually exploited children and adults as well as incarcerated survivors. She leads an outreach and training program educating organizations, businesses and community leaders on ending human trafficking in Monterey County in California.
Deborah is Chair of the Coalition to End Human Trafficking in Santa Cruz and Monterey County, a regional collaboration of government agencies, nonprofit direct service organizations, law enforcement, legal resources and businesses working to end all forms of human trafficking and modern slavery. She also serves on the California Department of Social Services Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Action Team Advisory Board. Deborah is a member of the National Survivor Network, where she serves as Consultants and Speakers Bureau Chair. She received the 2016 YWCA Silicon Valley Empowerment Award.
Deborah is a survivor of childhood commercial sexual exploitation.
Shanna Parker is a national and local Survivor Leader. She was elected this year as the Public Relations Communications Chair for the National Survivor Network, she is also the Executive Chair of the Arizona Survivor Leadership Council. Shanna works with several law enforcement agencies in various capacities including training, consultation, outreach operations, and victim advocacy. Shanna’s desire is to be a contributing part of the world that puts in the work to eradicate Human Trafficking.
Shanna has trained law enforcement, first responder, and social service professionals nationally and internationally (Europe). Shanna developed a Human Trafficking 101 computer-based interactive training module as an employee of the Department of Economic Security for staff education. Shanna facilitates life skills classes with at risk youth in local group homes where she reaches hundreds of youth each year. In 2015, she was honored to receive the H.O.P.E. award for her work with youth girls giving them a Head start, Opportunity, and Positive future through Education.
Nat Paul is a transgender identified survival sex/trafficking survivor. She has worked with Office for Victims of Crime during their Jan 2016 Survivor Forum. She was a part of the SOAR (Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond to Human Trafficking) Technical Working Group under the Department of Health and Human Services 2016. She has given Survivor input into video awareness campaigns for Department of Homeland Securities Blue Campaign as well as input for the Health and Human Services awareness campaign. She is the policy chair of the National Survivors Network under Coalition to Abolish and Slavery &Trafficking; as a member of National Survivor Network she has assisted in a lobbying campaign to help Senator Gillibrand promote vacate legislation to assist survivor’s lives federally. She has also presented as a survivor leader for the training of dealing with victims of trafficking, at the National Network for Youth’s Summit on Homelessness in DC. Nat has participated in the Freedom Network Conference on panels. She is currently working on the policy priorities of NSN on the hill. Nat is working to establish PRISM: Pride and Respect for Individuals in Sexual Minorities that will assist in research, awareness, and long term aftercare of LGBTQ survivors of trafficking in persons.
Ima Matul is a survivor of labor trafficking, when she was 17 years old, she was brought to Los Angeles from Indonesia with the promise of a job as a nanny. Instead, she spent the next three years in domestic servitude and being abused.
Ima is now the Survivor Coordinator for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST), as the Survivor Coordinator, Ima is responsible for multiple projects related to survivor leadership including overseeing the local Survivor Advisory Caucus and The National Survivor Network, an initiative launched by CAST to provide survivors with a platform for advocacy and peer to peer mentorship and support.
Ima has participated in a number of speaking events at conferences and trainings all over the world, and she has met with state and federal legislators, officials, academics, and celebrities to advocate for increased protections for survivors. In 2010, Ima received the CAST Seeds of Renewal award for her leadership, a recognition that was given to her by fellow survivors. In 2012 she was recognized by President Barack Obama as a hero in today’s abolitionist movement during the Clinton Global Initiative when he announced a major U.S. government initiative to combat modern-day slavery in the United States and abroad.
In 2014 Ima participated at Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) Survivor Forum & Listening Session, and worked with OVC to developed curriculum on Survivor Professional Development Training. In 2015, Ima was appointed to the first United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking to provide advice and recommendation to the U.S. government, specifically the President Interagency Taskforce and the Senior Policy operating group to strengthen federal policy and programming effort in the anti-trafficking field. In 2016, Ima was invited to speak by Hillary Clinton to speak at the National Democratic Conference on the issue of human trafficking.
Katariina has a personal story of human trafficking from the time she was just 13 years of age to 17. Throughout her early life, she experienced several separate trafficking scenarios; recruited through a friend in her middle school to more organized crime trafficking rings. All of her experiences centered in the metropolitan area of Miami, FL. After escaping trafficking and drug addiction, she went on to experience teen pregnancy followed by a twenty-year abusive relationship. With so many triumphs over unbeatable obstacles, Katariina is now a much sought after speaker and trainer in the areas of human trafficking and domestic violence as well as an inspirational leader to many women all over the world. She has provided expert witness testimony on human trafficking cases in Florida, testified before the Florida legislature, and provided testimony in Congressional briefings on Capitol Hill related to human trafficking in Washington, D.C. At the invitation of Florida Governor Rick Scott, she has also shared her testimony as to the importance of stopping human trafficking in her state at bill signings and continues to work closely alongside state and federal legislative bodies on the issue. She is part of the Federal Speaker’s Bureau for (OVC) as well as a featured speaker at the National Survivor Leader Forum in Washington, DC, January, 2016 where only a few selected survivor leaders are chosen annually to speak to every federal agency through the Office of Victims of Crime on the issue of human trafficking nationwide. As well, Kat has spoken on the topic before several federal agencies such as the Dept. of Justice, the State Dept., the Dept. of Health and Human Services, the Dept. of HUD and the White House on human trafficking. She is a long-time member and is on the speaker’s bureau of the (NSN) National Survivor’s Network. She has ongoing speaking engagements on the issues of domestic abuse and human trafficking to universities & schools, law enforcement, public defenders’/prosecutor’s offices, juvenile justice centers, the medical profession as well as to the travel & tourism industry. Her story has been covered worldwide from local news NBC6, WPLG Channel 10, the Sun Sentinel Newspaper, and Miami Herald to being nationally recognized on the cover of Christianity Today’s Christian Woman’s Magazine, World Vision, CNN, Telemundo, AmeriTeve, and Dr. Dobson’s Family Talk & More!
Katariina holds an LL.M. (Masters of Law) degree from St. Thomas University School of Law in Miami where she got her start in activism against human trafficking; there she was on the inaugural law review for human trafficking in 2005 then on Child Soldiering in 2006. Kat also holds a PhD with her dissertation entitled Trafficking in America – The Most Undetected Human Rights Violation of Our Time, published by Lambert Academic Publishing, 2014. Her memoirs, Stolen is published by Baker Publishing, 2014. Katariina has received training through GEMS in New York and is an accomplished author with published articles on domestic violence and human trafficking in such journals as The Family Violence Prevention Journal, Empulse Medical Journal and is in the US Encyclopedia. She is a former member of the Ad Hoc Committee for Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking for the State of Florida as the voice for the voiceless to help make a difference for legislation in the state of Florida to aid victims of human trafficking, called the Safe Harbor Act (enacted 2013), Kat has taught courses on Human Trafficking & Domestic Violence at Trinity International University & Palm Beach State College’s Law Enforcement Academy; and is asked regularly to work with and to consult on cases with local and federal law enforcement authorities across the nation such as the FBI & Dept. of Homeland Security. Kat is currently apart of several interagency task forces nationwide including: The South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force under the Dept. of Homeland Security, a member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network Task Force, the federal task force for the Dept. of Health & Human Services in Washington, D.C. called S.O.A.R. where she trains alongside federal agencies in developing identification tools to healthcare providers as well as social workers within the school system to identify potential human trafficking. Kat also serves as the survivor liaison on the steering committee for the 11th Judicial Human Trafficking Task Force & Court named G.R.A.C.E. Court, meeting the needs of juveniles involved in human trafficking (the first court of its kind in Florida).
She has also created several identification tools to aid law enforcement, public schools and social service providers to better serve and identify potential victims of human trafficking; such tools include her Human Trafficking Wheel and Youth Behavior Assessment Tool; approved and used in public schools nationwide. Kat has also led survivor support groups for Kristi House in Miami to domestic minor female survivors of human trafficking. Kat has also founded a survivor-to-survivor first hand outreach and mentoring program called There Is H.O.P.E. For Me, which is, a 501c3 where she provides her specialized brand of survivor leader mentoring and support nationwide. Kat has been the host of her own monthly podcast entitled “From Survivors to Survivors’ on ZenoRadio.
Kat currently conducts nationwide trainings and consulting on building up survivor leadership, peer support and mentoring as well as effective collaboration among DCF State agencies as well as federal agencies nationwide. Dr. Kat has served as an expert witness in cases related to human trafficking and domestic violence and has received specialized training in domestic minor sex trafficking through the 11th Judicial Circuit where she served on the steering committee. Her expertise has helped minors and adults, including Florida’s first male sex trafficking case involving foreign born victims. Kat serves on the national SOAR training team for the Dept. of Health and Human Services in Washington, D.C. developing train the trainer materials and providing webinar trainings to medical, mental health and school social workers through the department’s innovative training systems. Kat also works as a consultant for the Department of Homeland Security on their Blue Campaign, conducting in person trainings to law enforcement through FLETC (Federal Law Enforcement Training Centre) and aiding to develop the Blue Campaign materials targeting potential identification of victims of human trafficking. Kat also works as a consultant for DOJ – Office of Victim’s of Crime OVC TTAC and is on their expert training & consultant team as well as a current survivor fellow with that department in helping to develop promising practices for programs to serve survivors nationally.
Suamhirs Piraino-Guzman is currently the Healthcare Navigation Coordinator/Survivor Coordinator at the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking. Suamhirs has years of experience developing curriculum and providing training on trauma-informed care, mental health, bullying, the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC), evidence-based practices, and more to a diverse range of audiences. Suamhirs has previously served as a Behavioral Health Specialist, and most recently as the Pathways Initiative Program Coordinator for Harmonium, Inc. In addition, Suamhirs is a certified trainer through the National Council for Community Behavioral Health Care on Mental Health First Aid. Suamhirs has been a strong voice in the survivor community. As a male survivor of child sex trafficking, Suamhirs has been an active member of the National Survivor Network, and now currently assists in coordinating the network. In addition, Suamhirs was appointed by President Barack Obama to the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. Suamhirs is a strong advocate in the community and believes that it’s key for survivors of human trafficking to have services that promote Social Justice and Social Inclusion. Suamhirs attended the University of California, San Diego and graduated with a Bachelor in Political Science and International Relations.