Erik is an artist, founding partner of Queers Uniting to End Exploitation, national speaker, human trafficking survivor expert, and community leader in Seattle, WA. He seeks to revolutionize the systems that sought to serve him but failed. Erik has been a community organizer and activist – centering HIV prevention/care and anti-oppression work for the past decade in the Seattle area. Today, Erik takes focus in anti-trafficking and sex work movements. Within these movements, he most recently championed gender and LGBTQ2IA+ inclusion for CSE (commercial sexual exploitation) services in King county through his work at REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade). Previously, he launched a shelter focused on serving youth of color with YouthCare. He is the first male survivor advocate in Seattle, WA intentionally serving survivors of all genders. He has also served on the Kitsap County Human Rights Commission, as Student President of Olympic College, on multiple Diversity Advisory Boards and Bailey-Boushay HIV/AIDS hospice. Erik continues his dedication to public service through the City of Seattle Human Rights Commission Human Trafficking Taskforce Chair, and with the Seattle Metropolitan Elections Commission (SEAMEC) Steering Committee.
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Rafael Bautista is an Expert Consultant for OVCTTAC, the Office for Victims of Crime Training and Technical Assistance Center and NHTTAC, National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center. His expertise and real-life experience have helped different organizations across the country in creating training programs, strategies, videos, and outreach material for human trafficking awareness.
Graduated from the first Human Trafficking Leadership Academy, Mr. Bautista has participated in various panels and plenary sessions across the country like Washington, DC, Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA, Reno, NV, Chicago, IL and in his local area, Sacramento, CA. Mr. Bautista participated in the event, “Handling Human Trafficking Cases” with the Judicial Council of California.
As a member of the National Survivor Network and Freedom Network USA, Mr. Bautista has testified in support of bills that provide better services for survivors of human trafficking. He assisted Humanity United on the development of Pathways to Freedom; the Department of Homeland Security with their Blue Campaign- the Department’s human trafficking awareness and education programs.
Rafael Bautista is currently a paralegal for a Law Office community. Mr. Bautista has shared his skills and expertise with his fellow advocates and his fellow survivors, believing that any and all survivors can be restored and reintegrated into society in a positive way, with the proper support.
Leslie F. King is a survivor of human trafficking /sexual exploitation. She was coerced and forced into the lifestyle of prostitution at the tender age of 15 in Grand Rapids, MI, and she became trapped in the underworld of prostitution and drug addiction for over 20 years. On July 4, 2000, Leslie miraculously found the strength and the courage to get free. For the past 18 years she has been intense and intentional about working with women and teenage girls who find themselves trapped in the same horrors and loss of purpose that she experienced. In 2005, Leslie utilized her experience, expertise, and inspiring example of a renewed life to open Sacred Beginnings, a safe haven that offers hope, and healing to prostituted women.
Leslie consults with law enforcement agencies, human service professionals, clergy, and others requesting direction and understanding in working with prostituted women, teenagers, and children. Leslie also speaks at various conferences and academic institutions on the issue of human trafficking.
Leslie has earned awards including the 2008 YWCA advocate of the year and 2011 Rising Hero award. Leslie was also nominated for woman of the year in Grand Rapids, MI in 2005. Chosen 1 of “50 Most Influential Women in West Michigan” in 2014. Leslie was awarded the Michigan 2018 Liberator award. She is well respected in the inner city of Grand Rapids from which she hails; she is often seen “boldly going where many people are afraid to go” during unconventional hours doing outreach to prostituted women and teenagers who experience her pain both past and present.
Samantha Floyd is the coordinator of the South Central Kentucky Human Trafficking Task Force and a former Policy Champion within NSN. She was a 2018 Fellow with the Human Trafficking Leadership Academy. 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 of 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 fifteen 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 HIV rapid testing and 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 volunteers regularly with survivor led organizations in Kentucky: Women of the Well in Louisville and Phoenix Rising in Bowling Green. Samantha has been a member of the National Survivor Network since 2015.
Ms. Floyd’s areas of expertise include Human Trafficking Policy; Racism and Criminalization within Human Trafficking; Participatory Research, Policy, Prevention and Service Delivery; Activism and Reform; and Survivor Leadership.
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.
Suleman Masood is a Subject Matter Expert and Executive Board Member for the
National Survivor Network (NSN). Suleman has served as a Human Trafficking Subject Matter
Expert in the anti-trafficking movement since 2013. Raised in Santa Maria, California, Mr.
Masood’s tireless campaign in completing his education gave him the opportunity to attend
California State University Fresno to complete his bachelor’s degree. Mr. Masood has served as
a consultant throughout the state of California, as well as for the federal government. After
graduating, Mr. Masood was selected to participate in a pilot leadership development cohort
under the Office of Trafficking in Persons and NTTAC’s leadership and in partnership with Coro
Northern California. Mr. Masood was credited with creating the textbook definition of
“survivor-informed,” which was published by the Administration for Children & Families.
Mr. Masood’s experience in public speaking has given him the ability to speak out as an
advocate for survivors of human trafficking, specifically male labor survivors of crime. In these
presentations, he details his experiences with victim services and advocating on ways to
improve the quality of services. Mr. Masood has delivered curriculum and training with OVC
TTAC on “Tips of Engagement from a Survivor Leader’s Perspective”, as well as helping to
create an “E-guide for Creating a Human Trafficking Task Force”. This work emphasizes the
need to partner with survivors and ensure that strategies and implementation are created with
a trauma-informed approach. Mr. Masood’s commitment to education is living proof that if a
survivor is given a platform to return to normalcy, they will not only thrive but be the best
advocates in uplifting others.
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.
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.