Meet Our Team

Prof. Dr. Roza Pati

Professor of Law & Executive Director, LL.M./J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights
Founder & Director, The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy

Professor Roza Pati is a tenured Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law. She teaches International Law, Human Rights Law, Human Trafficking Law, Comparative Law and Human Rights & Terrorism. Formerly an elected Member of Parliament and a Cabinet Member serving as the Secretary of State for Youth and Women of Albania, Dr. Pati has been involved in anti-trafficking work since the early 1990s. She has a rich experience in public service and academia. She is a prolific scholar, who has written extensively in the field of international law, human rights and human trafficking. She is a globally published author in multiple languages.

In 2005, Dr. Pati facilitated the preparation of The Miami Declaration of Principles on Human Trafficking, a set of law and policy recommendations that have been broadly invoked worldwide. She lectures at academic, governmental and inter-governmental institutions around the world, focusing on human trafficking as a crime against humanity and as one of the most egregious affronts to human rights and human dignity.  She holds a Doctor of the Science of Law degree, summa cum laude, from University of Potsdam, Germany; a Master of Laws, summa cum laude, St. Thomas University, a J.D. degree, cum laude, and a Bachelor of Arts, summa cum laude, from the University of Tirana, Albania.

Karla Garcia

Executive Assistant

Karla Garcia joined our team in May 2016 as Executive Assistant. Ms. Garcia assists the director in coordinating and maintaining the overall implementation of the Human Trafficking Academy in all its components.

Ms. Garcia earned a B.A. in Management and a M.A. in Communication Arts from St. Thomas University. She is an experienced administrative professional with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry and supporting upper-level management.

Tessa J. Juste, J.D., LL.M. IHR

J.S.D. Candidate, LL.M./J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights
Graduate Fellow

Tessa J. Juste is the Graduate Fellow of the Human Trafficking Academy.  She graduated summa cum laude from St. Thomas University School of Law’s LL.M. in Intercultural Human Rights program. She attained her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law, and her B.A. in Political Science from St. Thomas University.

Ms. Juste has long dedicated herself to the advancement of human rights. While pursuing her J.D., she analyzed gender-based abuses and migrant workers’ rights at the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice in Ghana, she advocated on behalf of LGBTQ foster youth as an intern at Lawyers for Children in New York, and she participated in a fact-finding mission investigating access to justice for marginalized communities in Bangladesh. She also helped to conduct a three-day training for NGOs advocating for LGBTI rights in sub-Saharan Africa. As an LL.M. candidate, Ms. Juste served as Co-Editor in Chief of the Intercultural Human Rights Law Review, volunteered in an Immigration Legal Screening Clinic, and assisted in the Glades Detention Center Project, focused on providing immigration relief for Somalian detainees.

Ms. Juste aims to integrate her legal knowledge and passion for empirically supported interventions to champion efficacious and intersectional social justice programs and policies for the benefit of the most vulnerable communities.

Marina Rakopyan, LL.M. IHR

J.S.D. Candidate, LL.M./J.S.D. Program in Intercultural Human Rights
Research Assistant

Originally, from Armenia, Marina Rakopyan received her B.A. in Translation Studies at Yerevan State University. During her studies, Ms. Rakopyan interned at the Ministry of Diaspora of Armenia and also volunteered with Armenian National Olympic Committee as General Interpreter for World Youth Boxing Championship.

She then went on to pursue her M.A. in Human Rights from Yerevan State University and Tbilisi State University, where she was one of only ten students to receive a fully funded scholarship from the European Union. During this time, Ms. Rakopyan worked closely with ‘Save the Children’ and ‘Sustainable Family,’ non-profit organizations dedicated to promoting the foster care system in Armenia and helping children in orphanages. She also interned at the Office of the State Minister of Georgia on European and Euro-Atlantic Integration.

In 2016, Ms. Rakopyan earned her LL.M. in Intercultural Human Rights at St. Thomas University School of Law, and became the Executive Editor of the Intercultural Human Rights Law Review. Since graduating, Ms. Rakopyan has worked at Americans for Immigrant Justice as a Program Coordinator for the Children’s Legal Program. Currently, she is a J.S.D. candidate in the Doctoral Program in Intercultural Human Rights at St. Thomas University School of Law. Her doctoral dissertation titled, “Rehoming of Adopted Children: Second Chance or Human Trafficking,” explores the dark side of international and national adoption, and the development of the new practice known as ‘rehoming’, which is creating a high risk of exposing adopted children to human trafficking.