Summer 2019 Human Trafficking Academy

INSTRUCTORS

Prof. Dr. Roza Pati
Professor of Law, Founder & Director
John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy
St. Thomas University School of Law
Miami, FL
Prof. Dr. Roza Pati

Professor of Law, Founder & Director
John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy
St. Thomas University School of Law
Miami, FL

Prof. Dr. Roza Pati is a tenured Professor of Law at St. Thomas University School of Law, where she also co-directs the programs of Master of Laws and the Doctorate of the Science of Law in Intercultural Human Rights. Inspired by her work against human trafficking since the early 1990s, Dr. Pati founded in 2010 the John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy, an institute she continues to direct.

Dr. Pati is a prolific scholar, who has written extensively in the field of international law, human rights, human trafficking and international criminal law. She is a globally published author of books, book chapters and law review articles in multiple languages and she lectures at academic, governmental and inter-governmental institutions around the world. She earned her Doctorate of the Science of Law degree, summa cum laude, at the University of Potsdam, Germany, her LL.M., summa cum laude, at St. Thomas University School of Law, and her B.A., highest honors, and LL.B., honors, at the University of Tirana, Albania.

Her areas of expertise include international law, human rights law, comparative law, human trafficking law, terrorism law, and she is a proponent of the New Haven School of Jurisprudence. Dr. Pati is Faculty Adviser of the Intercultural Human Rights Law Review and member of the Editorial Board of the international series: Studies in Intercultural Human Rights, published by BRILL/ Martinus Nijhoff Publishers.

Formerly a Member of Parliament and a Cabinet Member serving as the Secretary of State for Youth and Women of Albania, Dr. Pati has a wealth of experience in public service and academia. Since 2012, appointed by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and confirmed later by Pope Francis, Dr. Pati served as member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace at the Vatican, which is now part of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, The Vatican.

See more at: https://www.stu.edu/law/faculty-staff/faculty/roza-pati/.

Dr. Roza Pati may be contacted at: rpati@stu.edu

Callahan Walsh
Child Advocate & Senior Specialist
Strategic Advancement & Partnerships
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Washington, D.C.
Callahan Walsh

Child Advocate & Senior Specialist
Strategic Advancement & Partnerships
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Washington, D.C.

Callahan Walsh is a child advocate for the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and co-host of In Pursuit with John Walsh on Investigation Discovery. At the National Center, Mr. Walsh works together with law enforcement, including USMS, to further NCMEC’s mission and to help change laws in favor of child victims. He is the son of John and Revé Walsh, who co-founded NCMEC in 1984 after the kidnapping and murder of their first son, Adam. In addition to co-hosting In Pursuit, Callahan can also regularly be seen on various media outlets such as Good Morning America, ABC, NBC, CNN, and HLN promoting NCMEC’s programs.

Prior to joining the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, Mr. Walsh served as the Supervising Producer for America’s Most Wanted on FOX and helped co-create The Hunt with John Walsh on CNN/HLN. Following in his parent’s footsteps, Mr. Walsh has focused his energy on fighting crime, helping find missing children, reducing child sexual exploitation and preventing child victimization.

Barbara A. Martinez
Chief, Special Prosecutions Section
Human Trafficking & Project Safe Childhood Coordinator
United States Attorney’s Office
Miami, FL
Barbara A. Martinez

Chief, Special Prosecutions Section
Human Trafficking & Project Safe Childhood Coordinator
United States Attorney’s Office
Miami, FL

Since 2009, Barbara A. Martinez has served as the Chief of the Special Prosecutions Section at the United States Attorney’s Office in Miami.  She supervises federal prosecutors who handle cases involving human trafficking, child exploitation, and violent crime involving death or serious bodily injury.

Ms. Martinez is also the Human Trafficking Coordinator and the Project Safe Childhood Coordinator for the Southern District of Florida.  She currently serves on the Department of Justice’s Nationwide Investigations Advisory Committee, which is a working group in the area of child exploitation prosecutions. Ms. Martinez also teaches a human trafficking seminar at the University of Miami School of Law.

Some of her notable honors and awards include: 2018 Attorney General’s Award for the prosecution of a case involving sex trafficking of minors in Honduras; 2018 Dade County Bar Association’s Women of Distinction Government Award; 2016-2017 Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellow; 2015 Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an Assistant United States Attorney (AUSA) for the prosecution of a sex trafficking case involving more than 50 adult victims; 2013 Women in Federal Law Enforcement’s Top Prosecutor Award; DOJ’s 2011 Outstanding Overall Partnership Coalition Group Award for her work and contributions on cases involving domestic sex trafficking of minors; and the 2005 DOJ’s Director’s Award for Superior Performance as an AUSA for the prosecution of a production of child pornography and sex tourism case involving more than 100 victims.

Ms. Martinez earned her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and her B.A. in Criminal Justice from University of Texas at San Antonio.  She joined DOJ in 1997 as a Trial Attorney through the Attorney General’s Honors Program.  She worked for the Fraud Section in the Criminal Division from 1997 until 2000, when she joined the USAO.

The Honorable Kristy M. Nunez
County Court Judge
11th Judicial Circuit of Florida
Miami, FL
The Honorable Kristy M. Nunez

County Court Judge
11th Judicial Circuit of Florida
Miami, FL

Judge Kristy Nunez, daughter of Cuban immigrants, was born and raised in Miami, Florida.  She graduated from Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and attended the University of Miami where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration.  Judge Nunez then earned her law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law.  Upon graduation, she accepted a full-time position as Assistant State Attorney, which she held for 13 year where she prosecuted thousands of criminal cases, argued hundreds of motions, and tried approximately 50 cases before a jury.

In 2016, Judge Nunez was appointed as the Director of the Human Trafficking Unit where she prosecuted sex and labor trafficking cases as well as supervised the unit.  As part of her duties, Judge Nunez assured that current laws protect the needs of the human trafficking victims by serving as an advocate for legislative change.  In 2017, Judge Nunez was instrumental in identifying gaps in the law and helped achieve legislative changes to Florida Statute 907.041 and Florida Statute 92.565. She has trained hundreds of law enforcement officers on the proper procedure of handling these sensitive cases, and has been a staple in community outreach events focusing on human trafficking.   In 2017 and 2019, Judge Nunez served as a Faculty Presenter at the College of Advanced Judicial Studies, where she spent a day training and educating judges in the State of Florida on the topic of Human Trafficking.  She was also a Faculty Presenter for the 2018 National District Attorney’s Association Conference, and has appeared before the Florida Supreme Court Family and Children Steering Committee to present and discuss relevant matters that affect minor victims of sex crimes as a result of being deposed.

Prior to 2016, Judge Nunez served as a Felony Division Chief for four years where she focused on investigating and prosecuting homicide cases and training junior prosecutors. Judge Nunez has also specialized in prosecuting violent career criminals during her time in the Career Criminal and Robbery Unit and spent almost four years in the Sexual Battery and Child Abuse Unit advocating for the rights and safety of minor victims and rape victims.

Judge Nunez’s passion for youth advocacy and dedication to crime prevention extend beyond the walls of the State Attorney’s Office, and in 2010, she was compelled to action. Judge Nunez co-founded Urban Promise Miami (UPM), a nonprofit organization committed to serving at-risk youth and their families in under-resourced communities within Miami-Dade County.  Judge Nunez served as Board Chair of UPM for 9 years, and currently serves as a Board Member.  From 2016 to 2019, Judge Nunez served as a Board Member of the Miami-Dade League of Prosecutors.  From 2010 to 2013, Judge Nunez served on the Board of Directors of The Melissa Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the study and prevention of violence.  In 2012, she served on the Alumni Council for Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, and as Events Chair for the St. Thomas School of Law Alumni Council.

In August of 2018, Judge Nunez was elected to serve Miami Dade County as a County Court Judge.  Since January of 2019, Judge Nunez has served in the Criminal County Court.  Judge Nunez has dedicated her professional career and personal life to public service.  It is her passion for the law, as well as her love for the community, that ignites her desire to serve Miami-Dade County from the bench. Judge Nunez has received numerous awards and honors for the significant impact she has made in the community, particularly with respect to issues affecting children and minorities.

Carl Berry
Deputy Superintendent of Police & Head of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit
Jamaica Constabulary Force
Appointed Human Trafficking Expert
INTERPOL
Kingston, Jamaica
Carl Berry

Deputy Superintendent of Police & Head of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Unit
Jamaica Constabulary Force
Appointed Human Trafficking Expert
INTERPOL
Kingston, Jamaica

Mr. Carl Berry is a Detective Deputy Superintendent of Police and an Authorized Financial Investigator (AFI) who has spent over 26 years with the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). He has served several areas within the Criminal Investigative Branch (CIB) and the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Investigation Branch (C-TOC). He is the current head of the anti-Trafficking in Persons (Vice Squad).

He holds a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) Degree from the University of the West Indies (Mona Campus) and a Master of Science (MSc) Degree in Forensic Psychology and Criminal Investigations from the University of Liverpool in England.

Mr. Berry has received training and mentorship from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the French, Columbian and United Kingdom Police in cybercrimes, human trafficking, economic crimes, anti-money laundering, counter-financing of terrorism and other transnational organized criminal investigations.

He was accredited as a Financial Investigator by the Caribbean Anti-Money Laundering Program (CALP). He is a trained Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) Mutual Country Examiner and a trainer in the Strategic Implementation Process (SIP).

He is an INTERPOL appointed Human Trafficking Expert, certified INTERPOL Trainer and a current member of INTERPOL Human Trafficking Expert Group (HTEG). He has provided sensitization on human trafficking to members of the Jamaican and United States judiciary in different areas around the Caribbean, Panama and in the United States of America. He is a senior lecturer at the Caribbean Regional Drug Law-Enforcement Centre (REDTRAC) and at the National Police College of the Jamaica (NPCJ).

Mr. Berry has participated in several successful local and international investigations that resulted in the identification and rescue of over 96 victims of human trafficking of which the majority were women and children. He has also managed investigations, which resulted in the arrest, charge and conviction of several human traffickers in different jurisdictions.

Sondra A. Skelaney
Program Director
Initiative for Gender Violence Prevention
Center for Women's & Gender Studies
Florida International University
Miami, FL
Sondra A. Skelaney

Program Director
Initiative for Gender Violence Prevention
Center for Women's & Gender Studies
Florida International University
Miami, FL

Sandy Skelaney is Program Director of Florida International University’s Initiative for Gender Violence Prevention out of the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, where she builds community partnerships and trains the next generation of changemakers to innovate solutions around pervasive social problems in her undergraduate class Sex Trafficking: Building Solutions.

A compelling educator and public speaker, Ms. Skelaney has presented to over 15,000 people in various venues from prison to TEDx, and provides consultation to organizations across the United States launching and scaling victim-service, public policy, and advocacy initiatives.

In 2007, Ms. Skelaney spearheaded Florida's response to domestic minor sex trafficking with the creation of Project GOLD in Kristi House; an effort which resulted in the development of the first coordinated multi-disciplinary response, transformation of protocols in dozens of agencies, passage of Florida Safe Harbor Act, and opening of a drop-in center that has provided mental health services for hundreds of trafficked children in Miami.

Ms. Skelaney’s work on child trafficking spans over 15 years, previously working with renowned organizations such as ECPAT International in Bangkok, Thailand, and GEMS in New York City where she organized the First National Summit of Commercially Sexually Exploited Youth and Congressional Briefing in 2002.

Ms. Skelaney is a member of the South Florida Human Trafficking Taskforce and the Miami-Dade Human Trafficking Coalition, is on the Board of Directors of the Miami Girls Foundation and HEART Initiative, and has won several awards including the prestigious Women Who Make a Difference in Miami from the Junior League of Miami.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Women’s Studies from CUNY Hunter and a Master of Arts in International Relations from Yale University.

Shanika Ampah, LPN
Founder
Guiding Light Outreach, Inc.
Miami, FL
Shanika Ampah, LPN

Founder
Guiding Light Outreach, Inc.
Miami, FL

Shanika Ampah, LPN, is a Miami native.  She is a mother, nurse, advocate, policy leader, and motivational speaker.  Currently employed as an Outreach Coordinator at the University of Miami T.H.R.I.V.E. Clinic and Kristi’s House as a Survivor Leader for Human Trafficking Division Project Gold. Ms. Ampah is living life full circle by using her life's experiences and nursing career to help other victims and survivors. Describing these venture as a marriage between her career, passion, and purpose.

Ms. Ampah is also a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and human trafficking. She is the Founder and Director of Guiding Light Outreach, Inc., a nonprofit organization that serves the community as a beacon of light to address social issues and traumatic events. Ms. Ampah identifies unaddressed social issues as doorways of vulnerabilities, which lead to traumatic events.

Shanika Ampah serves the community as a lighthouse of hope; by speaking out she believes others will seek help and should be given the resources and support needed to be healed holistically. Through strategic partnerships with many key stakeholders including The Department of Homeland Security, The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, and Miami-Dade County Health Department, in addition to partnering with various universities, colleges and local and international organizations. She knows the key to success for any organization's mission is a collaborative effort to serve.

Ms. Ampah is an alumni of the National Human Trafficking Training and Assistance Center (NHTTAC) based in Washington, D.C., and graduated from the Human Trafficking Leadership Academy a collaborator between NHTTAC and Coro of Northern California. As she continues to acquire certifications, she understands that her voice of influence will help bring systemic and policy change. Helping sponsor a national human trafficking bill, Ms. Ampah knows that through prevention, awareness, and trainings we can lead a fight against childhood sexual abuse and human trafficking.  Her empowering and motivational speeches have reached people throughout South Florida (Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County) and various school systems. She a most sought after advocate to train professionals such as social workers, law enforcement officers, and nurses on various topics ranging sexual abuse prevention in adolescents to recognizing and identifying victims of human and sexual trafficking.

Shanika Ampah uses her experiences from the past to equip her for this journey as an overcomer and warrior.  She is quoted, “This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine so that others will be ignited. Together we set ablaze a pathway of change.”

Connie Rose, M.S. Ad. Ed. PhD(c)
Connie Rose Consulting
Founder, Victims2Survivors
Tampa, FL
Connie Rose, M.S. Ad. Ed. PhD(c)

Connie Rose Consulting
Founder, Victims2Survivors
Tampa, FL

Connie Rose is a PhD Executive Leadership student with a focus on Trauma-informed Care, ACE and Resiliency. She is an idea generating, game-changing, goal-oriented, human dynamo whose rare blend of style and substance has made her a powerful, transformational speaker, trainer, consultant and life coach.  Mr. Rose is hired by organizations who want their leaders and teams to have impact, influence and the ability to inspire others.  She delivers game-changing programs – keynotes, breakouts, and trainings that offer messages of leadership, change, team building and resilience.

Bringing her years of expertise to tens of thousands of people and hundreds of organizations, Ms. Rose has worked extensively with a variety of organizations, government and non-government agencies, law enforcement, corporations, healthcare providers, colleges and universities and non-profits. Her company, Connie Rose Consulting, is a training and development company providing training, consulting and coaching in the areas of interpersonal communication, public speaking, human trafficking, domestic violence, human and social services, leadership and professional business skills. Ms. Rose is the founder of Victims2Survivors – U.S., a non-profit providing training and supportive coaching to survivors of sexual violence, exploitation, sex trafficking and domestic violence with a goal of preparing them to be trainers, speakers and media contributors. She is a woman on a mission breaking the silence one voice at a time, drawing on her personal journey of over 16 years of childhood sexual abuse and sexual exploitation at the hands of a serial sex offender father who was also her pimp.

Ms. Rose is a member of the National Speakers Association, and a veteran of TEDx stage “What Can You Learn From A Rubber Band?,” which shares her message of resiliency, the glue that holds us all together.

Prof. Dr. Donna M. Hughes
Professor of Gender & Women's Studies
The University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI
Prof. Dr. Donna M. Hughes

Professor of Gender & Women's Studies
The University of Rhode Island
Kingston, RI

Donna M. Hughes, PhD, is a Professor at the University of Rhode Island (URI) in Gender and Women's Studies Program and the Criminology and Criminal Justice Program. She holds the Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair in Women's Studies.

Dr. Hughes conducts research on human trafficking, particularly the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and girls. She has published research reports on Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union. She completed the first studies on the use of information technology for the trafficking of women and girls in 2001 and 2002.

Currently, she is working with undergraduate students to analyze prostitution and sex trafficking in Rhode Island. In 2014, three of her research students won the URI Excellence Award for Undergraduate Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

In 2017, she was awarded the College of Arts and Sciences Annual Research Award; and she was awarded the Alice Paul Award for Women Who Have Worked to Confront Men’s Violence Against Women by the Committee on Feminist Movement History of the National Organization for Men Against Sexism. In 2010, she was awarded the URI Council on Research Annual Research Award; and she was awarded the Norma Hotaling, Josephine Butler Award for "challenging the status quo and creating new abolitionist policy or approach to sex trafficking in the United States."

She currently serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

In 2016, she founded a peer-reviewed, academic journal Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence. She is the Editor-in-Chief.

Ana I. Vallejo, Esq.
Co-Director & Attorney
VIDA Legal Assistance, Inc
Miami, FL
Ana I. Vallejo, Esq.

Co-Director & Attorney
VIDA Legal Assistance, Inc
Miami, FL

Ms. Ana Isabel Vallejo is a co-director of VIDA Legal Assistance, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the rights of immigrant survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking in persons and other violent crimes. From 2011 to 2013, she was the Project Coordinator for the Human Trafficking Academy of the Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights at St. Thomas University School of Law. Prior to her joining St. Thomas University and VIDA, she supervised a team of four attorneys and three paralegals, while representing low-income immigrant women and children victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, rape, incest, and other gender related violent crimes.

For more than 10 years, Ms. Vallejo has dedicated her practice to representing survivors of human trafficking (modern day slavery). She has worked tirelessly in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Section Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, The Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Department of Homeland Security to insure that victims of trafficking have access to justice. Recently, Ms. Vallejo appeared as a witness before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission where she testified on issues related to trafficking in persons in the context of the agricultural industry in Florida. Ms. Vallejo has also participated as faculty at international trainings and conferences geared towards law enforcement and government officials sponsored by the Department of Justice, Criminal Division Office of Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training (OPDAT) in Panama, El Salvador and Mexico. Additionally, she has presented at international conferences on the topic of access to justice for survivors of trafficking in persons in Thailand, Spain and Puerto Rico.

Prior to working with survivors of trafficking in persons, Ms. Vallejo represented hundreds of victims of human rights violations seeking protection in the United States. In the course of her duties, she appeared before the Department of Homeland Security’s Bureaus of Citizenship and Immigration Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service), the Executive Office for Immigration Review and the Board of Immigration Appeals. Additionally, Ms. Vallejo’s experience includes the research and writing of three amicus curiae briefs -- two for the European Court of Human Rights and one for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. She has researched and written in the area of Women’s Human Rights, specifically on the issues of female genital mutilation, forced prostitution and trafficking of women for commercial sexual exploitation. She received a B.A. in Political Science and a B.A. in International Affairs from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin; a law degree from St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami, Florida; and a Master of Laws degree in Intercultural Human Rights Law from St. Thomas University School of Law, Miami, Florida, where she graduated cum laude.

Brenda Mezick, Esq.
Assistant State Attorney
Supervisor, Human Trafficking-Child Plan and Recovery Initiative
Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office
Miami, FL
Brenda Mezick, Esq.

Assistant State Attorney
Supervisor, Human Trafficking-Child Plan and Recovery Initiative
Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office
Miami, FL

As an Assistant State Attorney, Ms. Brenda Mezick has specialized in the prosecution of offenses involving human trafficking, cyber-crimes, capital sexual battery, and homicides.  She has forensic sub-specializations in the areas of digital evidence investigation and DNA. She served as Chief of Program Development & Public Policy for the Human Trafficking Unit in the Office of the State Attorney for Miami-Dade County.

Ms. Mezick supervises her office’s groundbreaking Human Trafficking-Child Plan and Recovery initiative. She has participated in the drafting of several successful legislative initiatives to help improve Florida’s legal infrastructure for minors and human trafficking victims. She has created human trafficking training materials for law enforcement and lectures statewide on the use of digital evidence and Florida’s RICO statute to investigate human trafficking. Ms. Mezick has taught for the National District Attorneys Association, the Florida Prosecuting Attorneys Association, and the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Initiative. She has presented at numerous police department trainings, conferences, and community events.

She received her law degree from Georgetown University. She is the recipient of the Florida Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Prosecutor of the Year Award, the Women’s Fund Law Enforcement Visionary Award, the National Crime Victims’ Rights Committee Justice for All Award, the CABA Pro Bono Award, the Dade Chiefs of Police ASA Recognition Award, and the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Award of Distinction.

Nita Belles
Executive Director & Founder
In Our Backyard
Redmond, OR
Nita Belles

Executive Director & Founder
In Our Backyard
Redmond, OR

Nita Belles is an author, speaker and leading national expert in the anti-human trafficking movement. Ms. Belles is the Executive Director and Founder of In Our Backyard, a national nonprofit organization that links arms across America in the fight against human trafficking through awareness, action, education, legislative advising and advocacy for survivors. Her journey as a tireless crusader against human trafficking began in 2006 when she witnessed the cruelty of this atrocity and was compelled to take action. Each year since 2010, Ms. Belles anti-trafficking work surrounding the Super Bowl has been instrumental in holding traffickers and sex-buyers accountable, and recovering victims of human trafficking. In her years of dedication to this issue ‒ from prevention to restoration ‒ she has collaborated with top law enforcement, survivors, government officials, social service providers, medical professionals, and faith communities as the key to creating comprehensive, lasting change.

As a prominent trainer and motivational speaker, Ms. Belles engages audiences of all kinds, empowering them to use their expertise and sphere of influence to stop human trafficking. She frequently speaks to government officials, law enforcement, universities, businesses, civic organizations, medical communities, conferences and faith-based groups. Some past audiences have included National Association of Attorneys General, Oregon Youth Authority Parole and Probation, University of Oregon, Brigham Young University, Saddleback Church, Willow Creek Church, and innumerable human trafficking conferences.

She possesses a deep understanding of both labor and sex trafficking and is sought after to assist in the recovery
and restoration of victims. Ms. Belles knows that to make a lasting impact in ending human trafficking, laws must be changed and she often advises legislators regarding laws to bring justice in this realm. She provides expert testimony as an advisor on human trafficking laws and has influenced the passing of human trafficking legislation in several states. Ms. Belles was instrumental in the passing of Oregon’s House Bill 3143 which requires that Freedom Stickers go out with every renewed liquor license in the state of Oregon, and in Oregon's Senate Bill 375 which placed poster replicas of Freedom Stickers in rest areas across the state. Freedom Stickers contain the National Human Trafficking Hotline number, offering a pathway to freedom for victims of human trafficking. They originated with In Our Backyard in 2011 and were designed in collaboration with survivors.

Expanding upon her first book written in 2011, Ms. Belles authored what has been acclaimed as the primer on human trafficking: In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It (Baker Books 2015). Ms. Belles's work has been published in Huffington Post, Washington Post, and the Journal of Christian Nursing, among others. Often interviewed as an expert on human trafficking, her work has been featured by CNN, FOX Files, USA Today, Focus on the Family, and more.

After a career in business, Ms. Belles earned her Master’s Degree in Theology with a concentration in Women’s Concerns. She served as a domestic violence chaplain, an associate pastor and built and sold a successful business prior to founding In Our Backyard.

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Y. Mattar
Clinical Professor of Law & Director
Law Clinic, Qatar University College of Law
Former Executive Director
The Protection Project of the Foreign Policy Institute
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Washington, D.C.
Prof. Dr. Mohamed Y. Mattar

Clinical Professor of Law & Director
Law Clinic, Qatar University College of Law
Former Executive Director
The Protection Project of the Foreign Policy Institute
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)
Washington, D.C.

Dr. Mattar is a Clinical Professor of Law and the Director of the Law Clinic at Qatar University College of Law. Dr. Mattar’s professional expertise is in comparative and international law.  Recognized as an international expert on anti-trafficking legislation, Dr. Mattar has worked over 15 years in more than 75 countries, including countries in the Middle East, to promote state compliance with international human rights standards and to advise governments on drafting, and enforcing human rights laws. Dr. Mattar has testified in the United States on the status of human trafficking around the world at various Congressional Hearings. He also testified before the Russian Duma, the Mexican Senate, the Inter- American Human Rights Commission and the Egyptian Parliament.

He was the Executive Director of The Protection Project of the Foreign Policy Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C., from 2005 to 2014. In this role, he directed and supervised seven areas: Trafficking in Persons; Clinical Legal Education; Corporate Social Responsibility; Legal Reform; Promotion of Religious Dialogue; Enhancing Capacity of Civil Society; and Human Rights Education. He monitored, analyzed and reported on violations of human rights, conducted training and capacity building programs for NGOs, government officials and service providers, while working towards universal implementation of human rights.

He has taught at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C., and Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. Dr. Mattar teaches courses on International Trafficking in Persons; Labor Law; Corporate Social Responsibility; International Contract Law; Investment and Trade Laws of the Middle East; Islamic Law; Introduction to the American Legal System; International Business and Human Rights; and Legal Ethics. His latest publications include Medical Liability for Trafficking in Persons for the Purpose of Human Experimentation: International Standards and Comparative Models from Arab Jurisdictions, International Annals of Criminology 2017.

Dr. Mattar is a consultant at The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), where he advises on International and National Laws on Combating Trafficking in Persons, Legislative Drafting, Drafting of Strategies and Action Plans, Legal Aid, and Middle East Legal Systems.

Dr. Mattar received his Doctorate of Juridical Sciences (S.J.D.) and Master of Laws (LL.M) from Tulane University, his Master of Comparative Law (M.C.L.) from the University of Miami, and his License en Droit (LL.B.) from Alexandria University where he still serves as a non-resident distinguished professor of law.

Alexis Carpinteri
Special Agent Recruiter
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Miami, FL
Alexis Carpinteri

Special Agent Recruiter
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Miami, FL

Special Agent (SA) Alexis Carpinteri is a 25 year veteran of the FBI. Since 1998, she has worked mostly Crimes Against Children violations and helped to create the first specialized squad in the Miami Division for Crimes Against Children to deal with the exploitation of children and criminal reactive crimes involving children in 2005. SA Carpinteri helped to create the Minor Vice Task Force, a multi-agency task force dedicated to cases involving the commercial exploitation of children.

SA Carpinteri has authored several publications, presented at national conferences and testified as an expert witness in federal court on crimes against children matters.  SA Carpinteri has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice & Criminology from the University of Maryland (1993), a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law (1996) and a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology from Nova Southeastern University (2014).  Currently, SA Carpinteri serves as the Special Agent Recruiter for the Miami Division.

Lisa Lungren
National Outreach Coordinator
Immigration and Anti-Trafficking
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Washington, D.C.
Lisa Lungren

National Outreach Coordinator
Immigration and Anti-Trafficking
U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
Washington, D.C.

Lisa Lungren, M.A., National Outreach Coordinator - Immigration and Anti-Trafficking, manages public outreach, constituent education, and resource development for two national Catholic anti-human trafficking campaigns at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). She also helps to convene USCCB’s Coalition of Catholic Organizations against Human Trafficking (CCOAHT), a group of over 30 national and international Catholic agencies working to eliminate the plight of trafficked victims.

Ms. Lungren previously oversaw the development and implementation of multi- and cross sector initiatives in Mexico, Colombia, and Panama to combat illicit activity and promote the rule of law (a culture of lawfulness). The project, which involved faith-based leaders from the Catholic Church, as well as stakeholders from civil society and law enforcement, was recognized by the U.S. Department of State, the World Bank, and United Nations as an effective crime and corruption prevention strategy.

Dr. Kanathy N. Haney, Ph.D., CPH, CHES
Health Science Professor
Palm Beach State College
Palm Beach, FL
Dr. Kanathy N. Haney, Ph.D., CPH, CHES

Health Science Professor
Palm Beach State College
Palm Beach, FL

Dr. Kanathy Haney is a health sciences and education professor and chair of the human trafficking coalition at Palm Beach State College. She is also a researcher and instructor at the University of Florida with the Department of Epidemiology. Dr. Haney received her doctorate in public health at the University of Florida in which she focused her dissertation on sex trafficking in the United States. She has been working in public health social work since 2007. Dr. Haney is working to spread awareness and prevention of human trafficking from a public health perspective. She believes that by better understanding the nature of this kind of trauma she can create evidence-based community interventions. This would promote social justice and enhance public health goals to reduce harm. Dr. Haney advocates for a multi-disciplinary approach to reduce mental health and substance use issues among human trafficking victims and survivors by implementing an effective trauma-informed and survivor-centered continuum of care. She also places importance on the ability of professionals in the field to identify risk factors and intersections among those affected by human trafficking. Dr. Haney is a member of the Human Trafficking Coalition of the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach County Human Trafficking Task Force.

Dr. Haney also obtained doctoral level epidemiology, biostatistics, and pathology training from the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Department of Public Health Sciences. She obtained her bachelor’s of social work in 2008 from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) magna cum laude along with a child welfare certificate. She then received her Master of Science in exercise science and health promotion from FAU. She is is Certified in Public Health (CPH) and a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Dr. Haney has worked in community agencies focused on promoting health across the spectrum of prevention since 2007. She understands how to translate research into sustainable community practice to influence communities. By utilizing existing resources there can be feasible, multi-disciplinary approaches to prevention.

Dr. Haney believes that by better understanding the spectrum of human trafficking she can develop effective interventions across levels of prevention. She has a desire to work towards social justice and health equity among all individuals by reaching across cultural barriers and empowering populations to engage in healthy, longstanding behavior change. Her goal is to address the public health issue of human trafficking across the United States and around the globe to reduce health disparities and enhance health for all global citizens.

Maria Clara Harrington, MS
Training and Outreach Coordinator
CHANCE Program
Citrus Health Network, Inc.
Miami, FL
Maria Clara Harrington, MS

Training and Outreach Coordinator
CHANCE Program
Citrus Health Network, Inc.
Miami, FL

For more than 17 years, Maria Clara Harrington has been serving young survivors of sexual abuse, sexual exploitation and sex trafficking through counseling, advocacy and outreach. At the Chance Program, she is in a role that enables her to combine her understanding and compassion for survivors with her skills as an educator to raise awareness and understanding of child sex trafficking. Additionally, Ms. Harrington continues to collaborate with other organizations in the development of a community-based approach to CSEC that holds the promise of healing and restoring the life of exploited youth.

Ms. Harrington started working directly with survivors of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation in 2008 and has been in the trenches since then, from responding to the 24-hour crisis hotline, leading teams of volunteers including searching for missing children and others who were on the streets during the night, to advocating for youth and providing supportive services.  She also went into at-risk schools working with girls through a 16-week prevention and empowerment program. She led the launch of the first drop-in center for young female survivors of sex trafficking in Miami. For five years she oversaw the day-to-day operations of the drop-in center and led a dedicated team of professionals working around the clock to provide support, mental health and enrichment services to child survivors of sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.

Ms. Harrington has personally reached thousands of people in Florida and throughout the country, and untold hundreds of thousands more through media with education and information about human trafficking. As a lead trainer, she has helped several other Florida communities launch a CSEC response, bringing together all the agencies involved in these complex cases.

Ms. Harrington holds a master’s degree in School Counseling from NOVA Southeastern University. Maria Clara was the recipient of Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi’s 2015 Distinguished Victim Services Award, and the Global Initiative Consulting Network’s 2019 Outstanding Leadership Award.

Lowell and Sally Senitz
CEOs/Founders
Wings of Shelter Int'l, Inc.
Estero, FL
Lowell and Sally Senitz

CEOs/Founders
Wings of Shelter Int'l, Inc.
Estero, FL

Lowell J. Senitz has many years of experience as a licensed Teacher/Educator in New York working with at-risk children in lower income districts. Mr. Senitz’s international expertise with at-risk children extends through many countries such as Germany, Kenya, Sudan, Haiti and Romania. Mr. Senitz and his wife, Sally C. Senitz, developed a Safe House Program which housed 48 youth in Romania.  Mr. Senitz assisted in the development of Intervention of Child Trafficking Training for law enforcement, in medical, legal, judicial, mental health, and other victim services called “Out of the Shadows” as well as program development of a non-punitive system for children with complex trauma coming out of child trafficking.

Sally C. Senitz, B.A., holds a degree and background in Counseling Psychology, with a minor in Organizational Development.  Mrs. Senitz was the Founding Director of the Family Resource Center for Sexually Exploited Children in Monterey, California. She also developed and ran a residential youth program and Safe House in Romania, serving sexually exploited trafficked youth.  Having worked in prevention of child abuse for over 30 years, Ms. Senitz is dedicated to the intervention of abused children.

Mrs. Senitz's international expertise with at-risk children extends through many countries such as Germany, Kenya, Sudan, Haiti and Romania. Along with her husband, she is CEO/Co-Founder of Wings of Shelter Int’l, Inc.,  DCF licensed, long-term Rehabilitation & CSEC Safe Houses for minor females rescued out of sex trafficking. She developed the Program Model: Neuro-Relational (Non-Punitive System), which is tailored for rehabilitation of victims out of child sex trafficking. Mrs. Senitz developed the 24-hour Human Trafficking training approved by Florida Department of Children and Families to meet the legal requirements for mandatory training for all persons working in CSEC Safe House programs.  Mrs. Senitz's has helped thousands of at risk-children and believes that “Together We Can Make a Difference.”

Dotti Groover-Skipper
Council Member, Statewide Council On Human Trafficking
Florida Division Anti-Trafficking Director
The Salvation Army
Lutz, FL
Dotti Groover-Skipper

Council Member, Statewide Council On Human Trafficking
Florida Division Anti-Trafficking Director
The Salvation Army
Lutz, FL

Dotti Groover-Skipper believes in dynamic living through servant leadership. Since graduating from the University of South Florida, she has facilitated expert programming to impact positive policy change in tobacco, alcohol, gambling, substance abuse, addiction, and sex trade and has helped develop numerous sustainable community coalitions. She is founder of HeartDance Foundation, which serves men, women and children working in the adult entertainment industry.

Ms. Groover-Skipper is an ordained elder and missionary and has operated at the national level in Washington, D.C. to mobilize and train clergy and faith communities to engage in issues of addiction, human rights and social justice. She continues to present at numerous national conferences on anti-trafficking strategies.

Ms. Groover-Skipper is credited as a catalyst to peak action against human trafficking in Tampa Bay and recognized by former Florida Governor Rick Scott and former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi as the Human Trafficking Advocate of the Year for the State of Florida in 2013. In March 2014, she was recognized for her tireless work as a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida. Ms. Groover-Skipper received the 2014 Florida Achievement Award from the Florida Commission On the Status of Women. Additionally, in February 2016, she was recognized by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation as a Community Hero, received the Zonta International Status of Women award as the 2016 Human Trafficking Victims Advocate, and in 2018 received the Ribbon of Honor award from The American Association of University Women.

Ms. Groover-Skipper is re-appointed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody to the legislatively formed Statewide Council On Human Trafficking and re-appointed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis to the Florida Drug Policy Advisory Council.  She serves on The FREE Network Board of Directors , serves as Commissioner on the Hillsborough County Commission on the Status of Women, serves on the board of the Hillsborough County Anti-Drug Alliance, serves as a member of the Salvation Army Southern Territory Anti-Trafficking Council, serves on the steering committee for the Salvation Army Women’s Adult Rehabilitation Center, and is currently employed as the Florida Division Anti-Trafficking Director for the Salvation Army.

Staca Shehan
Executive Director
Case Analysis Division
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Washington, D.C.
Staca Shehan

Executive Director
Case Analysis Division
National Center for Missing & Exploited Children
Washington, D.C.

Staca Shehan joined the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) in 1999 and is the Executive Director of the Case Analysis Division. She is responsible for policy decisions and overall operations within the Division including oversight of the Child Sex Trafficking Team and Sex Offender Tracking Team. In this role, she helps create and manage the division’s budget; conducts print, radio and television interviews about issues relating to child sex trafficking, noncompliant registered sex offenders, internet crimes against children, and attempted abductions of children; and provides training sessions and presentations to the public, private industry, other nonprofit organizations and law enforcement agencies.

In 2011 Ms. Shehan spearheaded the creation of a dedicated Child Sex Trafficking Team at NCMEC to respond to the increased need for technical assistance and analysis in cases involving child sex trafficking. This team of analysts provides support to law enforcement agencies who are working to identify and recover children victimized through sex trafficking and successfully prosecute those individuals involved in trafficking children. These unique resources include analysis of potential suspect names or aliases, unique tattoos, link analysis about child sex trafficking victims/potential victims, telephone numbers, addresses and/or online postings.

In 2017 Ms. Shehan was selected as one of twenty-one representative members on the National Advisory Committee on Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States. The Committee will advise the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General on practical and general policies concerning improvements to the Nation’s response to the sex trafficking of children and youth in the United States. She has also written several articles on behalf of NCMEC regarding child sex trafficking and child missing from care. Such publications were featured in the ‘United States Attorneys' USA Bulletin, Vol. 65, No. 6’ and by the OJP Diagnostic Center.
During her career at NCMEC Ms. Shehan also developed and implemented the Sex Offender Tracking Team. This includes the creation of procedures and protocols used by analysts to provide technical assistance to law enforcement in support of their efforts to locate noncompliant sex offenders. During this process, she worked closely with NCMEC programmers to outline the creation of the Sex Offender Case Management system. This system allows analysts to track offenders and compare their geographic locations to open and unsolved child abductions, attempted abductions, and incidents of child sexual exploitation.

Ms. Shehan holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from La Salle University with a minor in Criminal Justice and a Certificate in Executive Leadership from Cornell University.