• “When people tell me that women choose this life, I can’t help but laugh. Do they know how many women like me have tried to escape, but have been beaten black and blue when they are caught? To the men who buy us, we are like meat. To everybody else in society, we simply do not exist.”

    – Ayesha, Sex Trafficking Survivor


    The Story


    When people think of abolitionist leaders, the names of icons like Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Henry Ward Beecher, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton come to mind. A diverse cross section of Americans—black and white, enslaved and free—were in the forefront of the 19th century antislavery movement and responsible for its many victories. But America has a new generation of 21st century abolitionists, women and men committed to ending human trafficking here in our country and everywhere. Our gallery of portraits celebrates New Abolitionists and their determination to end slavery once and for all in our lifetimes.


    The New Abolitionists Campaign is much more than a collection of photographs. It is a campaign that teaches that slavery is neither a historical artifact nor something confined to distant lands. Sex and labor slavery happens in our midst to our girls and boys, to our women and men. Some of the victims are brought here from other parts of the world. Often lacking English and immigration status, they are at the mercy of the criminals who buy and sell them. Many more, however, are born and raised in our communities and enslaved by traffickers from our communities, usually for sexual exploitation that typically starts when the victims are children or young teens.


    Serial predators, traffickers seek out victims rendered vulnerable by such factors as youth, poverty, and a history of abuse. Traffickers brutalize their victims until they are too broken to be lucrative commodities and then move on to new prey. When law enforcement takes down a pimp ring, it not only does justice for its victims; it prevents the exploitation of others.


    Traffickers are only half of the slavery equation. The other half are the buyers whose demand for commercial sex—or, in the case of labor trafficking, for free labor or cheap goods—is the economic driver of the local and global trafficking industry. When buyers are held accountable, the incentive for trafficking is curtailed. Nineteenth Century abolitionists recognized that slave buyers are just as culpable as slave traders. Those who wear the abolitionist mantle take a stand against demand.


    Few know that between the first wave of abolitionist leadership and the antitrafficking movement today there was a second wave, carried out after the Civil War and waning before the Second World War. Founded by British suffragist and feminist education reformer Josephine Butler, this abolitionist wave fought the legalization of prostitution in the United Kingdom through the Contagious Diseases Acts, which branded prostituted women and girls as vectors of disease and would have forced them to undergo brutal inspections and incarceration. Butler’s demand-focused abolitionist campaign not only prevented the Acts from being voted into law but raised the age of consent from 13 to 16, protecting vulnerable girls from sexual exploitation.

    New Abolitionists, like our forebears, are dedicated to the protection and empowerment of trafficked people. Protection means safe harbor for all, regardless of age, race, gender, sexual identity, or immigration status. Protection means an end to the re-victimization of victims by the criminal justice system. Too often, the justice system has failed in its mission, turning a blind eye to the perpetrators and punishing their victims. Too often, society has reinforced injustice, stigmatizing victims as “prostitutes” or legitimizing their oppression as “work.”

    New Abolitionists are not only educators and thought leaders. We are activists who take bold action, as Henry Ward Beecher did when he staged a mock slave auction in Plymouth Church in 1860 and purchased an enslaved girl’s freedom. Like our predecessors, New Abolitionists take to the streets, petition our government, and stand at the bully pulpit to educate our peers and the public that all humans are equal and no one should be bought and sold.


    Today’s abolitionists are neighbors, philanthropists, doctors, lawyers, social workers, students, actors, and business leaders. We are judges, teachers, political leaders, and community organizers. We are old, young, in the public eye, and completely anonymous. Some of us are survivors. We are united by our commitment to ending human trafficking, in our country and globally. Take a look; you might be surprised by the faces you recognize. Embrace our abolitionist legacy and help build its future. Join us!


  • The Facts

    “It’s impossible to describe the experience of being owned by someone else, but what I can tell you is that I will work tirelessly for the rest of my life to stop other people from having to experience what I did.”
    – Kenya, Trafficking Survivor


    of trafficked youth have prior child
    welfare involvement.
    Between 70 and 95 percent of people in prostitution have been physically assaulted.


    Average age that a pimp recruits a girl into prostitution.

    5.5 Million

    Number of children worldwide who are victims of human trafficking each year.
    The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline received 3,598 reports of human trafficking in 2014.

    $9.5 billion

    Amount generated by human trafficking each year in the United States.
    In the U.S., Women and girls from racial minorities are disproportionately recruited by sex traffickers.


    of victims in federal investigations of confirmed sex trafficking incidents were identified as U.S. citizens.
    On any given night in New York State, more than 4,000 underage youth are the victims of sex trafficking.


    Percentage of people in prostitution that have been raped by pimps and sex buyers.
    A pimp can make $150,000-$200,000 per child each year and the average pimp has 4 to 6 girls.

    $150 Billion

    Amount generated globally by the human trafficking industry

    Up to 84%

    Percentage of prostituted women and girls are survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
    Substance use and abuse are common among those in the sex trade. Abuse and addiction lead to involvement in the sex trade, as well as occur as a result of becoming involved in the sex trade.


    Workplace homicide rates for women in prostitution, according to one study with a small sample, are 51 times higher than the next most dangerous occupation for women
    Pimps' primary means of coercion: 
    Economic – 74% 
    Psychological – 57% 
    Chemical – 42%.
    Physical or sexual violence - 12%.
  • For more statistics on human trafficking and sexual exploitation, please click the World Without Exploitation link below.




  • New Abolitionists

    Who Are We?

    Lena Alhusseini

    Executive Director, Arab American Family Support Center


    A leader in the global movement to end violence against women and children, Lena Alhusseini has worked with USAID, UNICEF, and other international organizations on child protection and human trafficking issues. She also founded the Jordan River Foundation’s child protection unit, the first organization to address child abuse in the Middle East. Ms. Alhusseini has been honored as a White House Champion of Change for her work to combat domestic violence.


    “Human trafficking violates every single one of us. As long as there is one child suffering, our collective dignity as human beings is violated. Our work will continue until all forms of violence, slavery, and human trafficking end—and all inalienable human rights are upheld, valued, and respected.

    Aliza Amar

    Activist, Educator, Public Speaker, and Artist


    Not having family, Aliza Amar grew up in an institution in Israel and was sexually assaulted throughout her childhood starting at age six. In Tel Aviv, as a naïve 21 year old, she answered an advertisement for modeling. At the “audition,” she was raped by a man she thought was to interview her. Ms. Amar learned that her rape was recorded and disseminated as pornography. She now organizes cross-country bike rides and creates artistic political pieces to help survivors break their silence about their own experiences with violence and sexual exploitation, and create social change to end the violence against women.


    “There is life after sexual exploitation. Your purpose is bigger than the violation. In every woman is a leader; you just need to awaken to it. Meet the right people to walk along with you to fulfill your dreams. Though it takes a lot of healing, for women who experience violence, it is important to see the beauty in the scars.”

    Barbara Amaya

    Advocate, Author, Trainer, and Survivor of Sex Trafficking


    Barbara Amaya is an award winning advocate, speaker, best selling author of Nobody's Girl, and a survivor of sex trafficking. From the age of twelve to twenty-two, Ms. Amaya was trafficked on the streets of New York City. She overcame heroin addiction, horrific trauma, sexual abuse, domestic violence, and cancer that was directly related to sex trafficking. Today, Ms. Amaya is a survivor leader in the movement to end human trafficking and all violence against women and children. In her book Nobody's Girl, she writes: "To those who may question why I chose to write this book and how I could share such deeply traumatic, painful, even horrific experiences, here is my response, 'How could I not?'"


    "Breaking my silence is a political statement for me, one of choosing to never again be a voiceless victim. It is a deliberate choice to take my life back and to help others do the same for themselves. Would it matter any less to you if it were only one child being trafficked? Or would it matter more if it were a million children? One child abused and trafficked is too many. All I want to do is make a difference."


    Survivor and Factory Worker

    Amelia was tricked into coming to the U.S. from Mexico by a boyfriend who promised her love and work in a restaurant or day care. Instead, her trafficker held her captive in an apartment in New York City with ten other women and forced her into prostitution. She was very innocent when she left Mexico and had no idea what a condom was, much less prostitution. Amelia escaped her trafficker with the help of a woman who offered a safe place to live. Amelia hopes that by telling her story, she can reach others so that they do not have to suffer like she did.
    “Many women get into this world because they are threatened through violence. They put on a happy face but it is a façade — inside they are suffering and are afraid to show it. People on the outside do not understand what is really happening."

    Emily Amick

    Legislative Counsel to United States Senator Charles E. Schumer

    Now Legislative Counsel to U.S. Senator Schumer, Emily Amick previously spent nearly three years representing trafficking victims and leading anti-trafficking advocacy at Sanctuary for Families. Today, she is an integral part of Senator Schumer’s team, working to advance smart policy initiatives that will improve the lives of victims and ensure that the criminals behind this dangerous trafficking system are punished.


    “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
    — Anne Frank

    Julia Anderson

    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Founder, Touch One; Lose None


    Raised in an affluent but physically abusive family, Julia Anderson became a mother at age 17 and a flight attendant thereafter. When her children were age six and seven, she and they were kidnapped by her coworker who forced her to marry him by threatening to kill her children. He trafficked them across the country. After escaping captivity, Ms. Anderson answered a bait-and-switch advertisement leading to her being raped for her exploiter's profit. In 11 years, she was sold by organized trafficking rings, a madam, and a guerilla agency and faced multiple retaliation efforts trying to exit “the life.” Today, Ms. Anderson receives emotional support from her psychiatric service dog, Allie, who helps her manage her post-traumatic stress disorder.


    "Many people are guarded because they've been HURT. Trafficked victims and survivors are guarded because someone PROFITED from it."

    Amy Andrews

    Survivor of Sexual Exploitation and Childhood Sexual Abuse, Trainer, Advocate, Public Speaker, Poet, and Actress


    Amy Andrews was sexually trafficked in various United States cities starting at age 13 after being sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend and in foster care. She describes these abuses as the true form of identity-theft, leaving her to figure out who she is at 41 years old. Ms. Andrews is an experienced trainer, advocate, and educator working to raise awareness about human trafficking, providing real time victim-centered services and empowering survivors of all kinds of sexual violence.


    “A person buying sex doesn’t distinguish between who appears they want to be there and who is forced. There isn’t a price that can be put on pieces of a person. We are forced to fragment ourselves to appease each person’s desire. Splitting ourselves apart from our intelligence, talent, and humanity for someone’s brief satisfaction strips our dignity. Our worth is greater than being reduced to a sex object for hire.”

    Rosanna Arquette

    Actor, Director, and Activist


    Rosanna Arquette became a professional actor as a teenager and has appeared in over 70 films. She has worked with lead directors, including Blake Edwards (S.O.B.), John Sayles (Baby It’s You), Martin Scorsese (After Hours, New York Stories), Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction), David Cronenberg (Crash), Hal Ashby (8 Million Ways to Die), and Alison Anders (Sugar Town). She received the British Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in “Desperately Seeking Susan” and an Emmy-nomination in the television adaptation of “The Executioner’s Song.” Ms. Arquette has also appeared in numerous television series, including “What About Brian,” and has directed and produced two highly acclaimed documentaries -- “Searching for Debra Winger” and “All We Are Saying.”


    "Human trafficking is the most horrific tragedy that is happening on our earth. The selling of children for sex is incomprehensible to me and that any one would allow this and profit from it is disgusting. For the rest of my life, I am committed to bringing awareness and helping combat and prosecute the pimps who do this."

    The Arts Effect: Vikki Eugenis, Odley Jean, Mira Maxwell, and Darci Siegel

    The Arts Effect all-girl theater company is an empowering space for girls ages 9 to 19 to artistically explore their world. Through the creation of original plays and community events, this 50-member company fuses arts and activism to raise awareness about challenges faced by girls globally. The ensemble’s latest play, A Day in the Life, was inspired by the stories of real girls and exposes the damaging impact of commercial sexual exploitation. The piece, along with supporting anti-trafficking trainings, has been presented across the United States. The girls also joined forces with teen trafficking survivors and traveled to Albany to perform and lobby lawmakers to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act.


    “We stand with survivors. We stand with our fellow girls out there. They are us and we are them—and we won't stop telling our stories until we're all free from the threat of commercial sexual exploitation. Girls are not for sale.”

    Holly Atkinson

    Director, Human Rights Program, Arnhold Global Health Institute and Co-Chair, American Medical Women’s Association’s “Physicians Against Trafficking in Humans” Task Force

    Dr. Holly Atkinson is a leader in the medical community’s efforts to halt human trafficking. A past President of Physicians for Human Rights, she trains health care professionals to identify and intervene on behalf of trafficking victims and directs the Mount Sinai Human Rights Clinic, which conducts medical evaluations of individuals seeking asylum.


    “We need each and every health care professional to use the power of their role to help heal the victims and end the scourge of modern-day slavery.”

    Jennifer Jones Austin

    CEO and Executive Director, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies


    A child and family advocate moving between the halls of government and the streets of struggling communities, Jennifer Jones Austin takes aim at legislation, policies, and programs that prevent our vulnerable neighbors—and especially our youth—from overcoming challenges and achieving their potential.


    “It shouldn’t matter that it’s not your daughter, sister, or friend whose life is being destroyed. Human trafficking is everybody's problem, and we must end it.”

    B Michael and Mark-Anthony Edwards

    Couture Designer; CEO of b michael AMERICA


    B Michael began his career as a milliner and honed his skills as a fashion designer and couturier while working with leading designers. In 1999, he launched his own label and is now at the helm of a multi-faceted brand that is the favorite among some of the most photographed women in the world. Mark-Anthony Edwards, Co-Founder and CEO of b michael AMERICA, began his career in wealth and business management before partnering with Mr. Michael. Always willing to take on new challenges, he serves on the Board of the Dream Yard Project and several charitable advisory boards, including Youth America Grand Prix and the Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts.


    "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter."

    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Ashley Baker

    Survivor, Advocate, and Activist


    After five years in the sex trade, Ashley Baker extricated herself and went to college to acquire the skills and training needed to help others who had also been ensnared. Today, Ms. Baker -- an ardent activist for the Nordic Model of prostitution, civil rights, and gender and racial equality -- works as an advocate at the EVA Center, a survivor-led exit program for prostituted women.


    “Some say we choose ‘sex work’ or to ‘sell sex.’ It’s always been my understanding that sex is a consensual activity that individuals engage in to derive pleasure or to reproduce. That’s not prostitution. Prostitution is when a person with capital taunts vulnerable individuals with currency or resources to gain sexual access to their body parts and use them as masturbation repositories. One person is exploiting another person for orgasm; the other is enduring traumatic exploitation for survival. This isn’t ‘sex’ or ‘work.’ It’s abuse. Nobody chooses this. You’re cornered into it.”


    Survivor of the Sex Trade


    Originally from Honduras, Barbara, now 64 years old, grew up in a loving home with parents who accepted that their young son was “effeminate” at a time when acceptance was not typical. Upon arriving in the United States, at the suggestion of a friend, Barbara turned to prostitution as a way to support herself financially, and was in and out of the sex trade for five years servicing male buyers who knew what “merchandise they were buying.”


    “By referring to prostitution as 'sex work,' people are trying to cover the sun with one finger. But, the problem is much bigger. I believe they are simply not informed. I want a change for this new generation of transgender women so that they do not have to go through what I went through because you really do suffer.”

    U.S. Representative Karen Bass

    United States Representative for California’s 37th Congressional District


    Elected in 2010, Congressmember Karen Bass serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, the House Judiciary Committee, and the Steering and Policy Committee, and also plays a leadership role in the Congressional Black Caucus. She also has taken leadership positions in reforming America’s foster care system and strengthening the United States’ relationship with Africa. Prior to serving in Congress, Ms. Bass made history when the California Assembly elected her to be its 67th Speaker, catapulting her to become the first African American woman in U.S. history to serve in this powerful state legislative role.


    "The idea of having new perspectives on our planet, and actually being able to get that message out, gets me out of bed every day with a spring in my step."

    Nikki Bell

    Survivor of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Founder, Living in Freedom Together


    Nikki Bell was trafficked as a teenager. It took her many attempts before she could exit prostitution at 33 years old and recover from the drug addiction she developed during years of exploitation. She understands that it takes a lifetime of healing and therapy to recover from the aftermath of prostitution. For women to exit prostitution, Ms. Bell believes that, rather than criminalizing the victims, the real perpetrators – pimps and buyers -- need to be prosecuted and victims offered exit services.


    “Everything in my life set me up to be standing on that street corner. Never once did anyone offer me a chance or help. The question was always what’s wrong with you and not what happened to you. It’s a privilege to 'choose sex work.' Individuals are forced into it because of poverty or drug addiction. Nobody is choosing to be out on those streets. These women stuck now are the kids nobody engaged.”

    Shanifa Bennett

    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Intern, Community Board 10


    Shanifa Bennett was 17 years old when she was trafficked in New York City after moving from Texas with her family. Her mother experienced financially instability as she struggled to adjust, eventually returning to Texas. Wanting to contribute financially to her household, Ms. Bennett worked in prostitution at night while going to school during the day. She made a conscious decision that prostitution was not going to be her last stop, holding on to the fact that she came from a stable home life before the relocation to New York City, which gave her a foundation rest upon.


    “Being in ‘the life’ doesn’t determine who you are or your future. You do that yourself, not your past. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Being in ‘the life’ isn’t a final destination and doesn’t define you. It is not your last mark. Life after this is there for you if you can take action.”

    Janet Benshoof

    Founder and Former President, Global Justice Center


    Janet Benshoof was an expert in international and constitutional law. She spearheaded the use of international law to prosecute rape by the Iraqi High Tribunal, established U.S. Supreme Court precedents on religious liberty and reproductive rights, and obtained the first U.S. approval of emergency contraception. Ms. Benshoof advised governments, leaders, judges, and the UN on international laws. She advised Burmese groups on issues of access to justice and has several projects to end systemic discrimination against women in how the Geneva and Genocide Conventions are implemented. In 2015, she launched a project to seek accountability for ISIS crimes of genocide, particularly against Yazidi women and girls. Ms. Benshoof, who founded the Center for Reproductive Rights, received a MacArthur fellowship, taught at Bard and Harvard Law Schools, and publishes extensively in law journals and popular media. She died on December 18, 2017.

    “Power, not pity.”

    The Reverend Alfonso R. Bernard, Sr.

    Co-Founder and Pastor, Christian Cultural Center, Author, and Motivational Speaker

    In 1979, Reverend A. R. Bernard, Sr. left a ten-year banking career and together with his wife, Karen, started a small storefront church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn that has since grown into a mega-church sitting on an eleven and a half acre campus with a congregation of over 37,000. In addition to being co-founder and CEO of the Christian Cultural Center, Bernard founded the Christian Community Relations Council, has served as the President of the Council of Churches of the City of New York, and is a board member of the Commission of Religious Leaders. Reverend Bernard has been recognized as one of New York City’s most influential leaders by numerous publications, including Crain’s, the New York Daily News, the New York Post, and New York Magazine. He recently published a booked entitled, "Four Things Women Want From a Man."

    “Our choices determine our destiny.”

    Alisa Bernard

    Survivor of Prostitution and Advocate, Writer, and Educator


    A survivor of sexual abuse as a child and young teenager as well as a victim of bullying at school, Alisa Bernard dropped out of high school and entered prostitution at age 15. Moving in and out of her family home, she remained “in the life” to until age 22. Since leaving the sex trade, Ms. Bernard has had a vibrant professional life as a board member, mentor, advocate, and educator, and as a consultant to law enforcement, legislators, journalists and writers. She has written numerous articles related to anti-gender based violence.

    “Prostitution is the culmination of trauma in a lifetime. As prostitution survivors, we have experienced childhood sexual abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence and, because of this, all those who have survived gender-based violence are our sisters.”

    U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara

    Distinguished Scholar in Residence at NYU Law School and Former United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York

    Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara supervises more than 200 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and oversees cases involving domestic and international terrorism, cybercrime, public corruption, financial fraud, gang violence, organized crime, civil rights violations, and human trafficking.


    “In the pandemic problem that is human trafficking, people who are nameless, faceless, and voiceless to the outside world are being bought, sold, beaten, caged, silenced, and exploited every day. It will take the collective effort and will of governments, advocates, law enforcers, prosecutors, and politicians to set them free and to abolish this sinister problem for good—and we must.”



    Devika Bhise

    Actor and Activist


    Devika Bhise is an actor and human rights activist as well as a professional Bharatanatyam dancer. Ms. Bhise directed, filmed, and produced an award-winning documentary, Hijras: The Third Gender, about sex trafficking and prostitution of the transgender community in India, and can be seen in The Man Who Knew Infinity, to be released in 2015. Ms. Bhise also works with Symphony Space to expose public school students in underprivileged areas to global cultures through art.


    “I ask no favors for my sex . . . . All I ask of our brethren is that they will take their feet from off our necks.”


    — Sarah Moore Grimké

    Milan Jordan Bien-Aimé and Ali Gabriel Jordan Bien-Aimé

    College Student and Writer; College Student and Activist


    At the age of twelve, Milan spoke at his first rally calling for the New York State Human Trafficking Act and his younger brother, Ali, attended its signing in Albany in 2007. Since then, both have respectively worked in elected officials’ offices and supported efforts to ensure positive social change. Ali has led high school initiatives that address equality, sexual harassment and diversity issues and has spoken at conferences dedicated to exploring gender issues and “masculinities.”


    “We come from a long line of strong Afro-Caribbean women, including a suffragette great-grandmother. As young men of African descent, we have a responsibility to continue challenging gender and other prescribed roles so that everyone is judged as a full human being. As Einstein said: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ We must imagine what equality feels like if we ever want to end violence and discrimination.”

    Taina Bien-Aimé

    Executive Director, Coalition Against Trafficking in Women


    Taina Bien-Aimé has dedicated her career to ending violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world. She was one of the founding Board Members of Equality Now, an international human rights organization, and later served as its Executive Director for a decade. As the Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Ms. Bien-Aimé continues to advocate for the right of each individual to enjoy the full spectrum of fundamental human rights. She also serves on the Boards of the New York Women's Foundation and New York City's Commission on Gender Equity.


    “I never understood why prostitution is so often considered an exception to gender-based violence and discrimination when, in fact, prostitution exists only because of it.”

    Jayne Bigelsen

    Director, Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives, Covenant House New York


    Jayne Bigelsen leads the anti-trafficking programming at Covenant House New York (CHNY), New York City’s largest provider of services for homeless, at-risk, and trafficked youth ages 16 to 20. She co-directs CHNY’s services for survivors onsite and at a safe house where they can communally heal, thrive, and progress one day at a time. The resiliency, spirit and laughter of CHNY youth inspire her every day.


    "In 2016, no one should have to sell their body to meet basic needs of survival like food and shelter. Yet it happens every day. Youth shelters across the United States are full. When someone can't find shelter, pimps and traffickers are ready to pounce. To truly end human trafficking, we must ensure no one seeking shelter or services is ever turned away.”

    Michael Bloomberg and Diana Taylor

    Founder of Bloomberg LP and Former Mayor of New York City; Chair of the Board of Accion and Vice Chair, Solera Capital


    Entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg served three terms as Mayor of New York City. During his time in office, he implemented innovative programs and initiatives to make the city a safer, cleaner, and better place to live and work, including a campaign to stop human trafficking by raising awareness of the problem and working with law enforcement agencies and community groups. After a career as one of the first women on Wall Street and then as New York State Superintendent of Banks and Chairwoman of the New York State Banking Board, Diana Taylor now devotes her leadership to bettering the lives of women and girls. She is Chair of Accion and serves on the Board of GEMS and the IWHC. Previously, she served as Chair of the Board of New York Women’s Foundation.


    "Working to end sex trafficking, Ms. Taylor recalls a pimp’s modus operandi, 'Young girls, especially troubled young girls, you promise them heaven. They’ll follow you to hell.'”

    William Bratton and Rikki Klieman

    Former Police Commissioner for the City of New York; CBS News Legal Analyst


    William Bratton was appointed the 42nd Police Commissioner of New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio. This was the second time he has held the position. As Police Commissioner in the 1990s, he established a reputation as a crime-fighting innovator and led the development of CompStat, the command accountability system used by police departments nationwide. An attorney, author, and public speaker, Rikki Klieman has been an advocate for women’s issues and empowerment for decades. She has served on various boards and has received public service awards for her work to end violence and create a safe haven for women and children.


    “I swear never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”


    — Elie Wiesel

    Jimmie Briggs

    Executive Director, Leave Out Violence-U.S. (LOVE-U.S.)

    Award-winning journalist and advocate Jimmie Briggs’ book on child soldiers and war-affected children, Innocents Lost: When Child Soldiers Go to War, won him accolades. He is the Co-Founder of Man Up Campaign, a global campaign to activate youth to stop violence against women and girls. Mr. Briggs’ upcoming book, Blood Work, examines manhood and transformation through the lens of illness. He is a member of the Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity at New York University and is the Executive Director of LOVE-U.S., a media arts organization assisting youth affected by violence and trauma.


    “No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.”
    — Frederick Douglass


    Christie Brinkley

    Model and Actress

    Christie Brinkley has appeared on more than 500 magazine covers worldwide, made numerous television appearances, and starred on Broadway throughout an unparalleled 43-year career. Ms. Brinkley is also an artist, designer, writer, environmentalist, and philanthropist, lending her support to causes promoting public health, education, environmental protection, and the prevention of nuclear proliferation.

    “It’s easier to be ignorant and say I don’t know about the problem. But once you know, once you’ve seen it in their eyes, then you have a responsibility to do something. There is strength in numbers and, if we all work together as a team, we can be unstoppable.”

    — Craig Kielburger

    Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl

    Senior Rabbi, Central Synagogue

    From her pulpit as the Senior Rabbi of Central Synagogue, Rabbi Angela Warnick Buchdahl speaks out on issues of injustice and modern-day enslavement of body and soul. She works to build a world in which every person is given equal opportunities to realize their God-given potential, and has joined Auburn Seminary’s campaign to fight child sex trafficking in New York State.


    “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt and God freed you from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.”


    — Deuteronomy 5:15

    “Each one of us was once enslaved. And we must help God with our mighty hands and outstretched arms to help free our sisters and brothers still in Egypt.”

    Jennifer and Peter Buffett

    Co-Chairs, The NoVo Foundation

    Recipients of the Clinton Global Citizen Award, Jennifer and Peter Buffett are dedicated to a world based on collaboration and partnership and are

    committed to using foundation resources to end all forms of violence against girls and women. Viewing prostitution and sex trafficking as a form of violence that disproportionately impacts girls and women of color and those from lower caste communities, NoVo invests in systematic changes that shift social, cultural, and economic inequalities to create meaningful opportunities for girls and women.



    “We know there will be a time when no girl or woman is sexually exploited. No oppression is inevitable, and we stand with and support girls and women who are working to create a better life for themselves and their daughters.”



    Ted Bunch

    Co-Founder and Chief Development Officer, A CALL TO MEN

    Ted Bunch co-founded A CALL TO MEN in 2002 to make men active participants in creating a world where women and girls are valued and safe. His pioneering work strives to make men part of the solution to end all forms of violence against women, including the buying and selling of women and girls for prostitution.


    “When men stop purchasing the bodies of women and girls, this horrific industry of violence will be brought to an end.”



    Ursula M. Burns

    Chair and CEO, Xerox Corporation


    As Chair and CEO of Xerox Corporation, Ursula Burns helped the company become the world’s most diversified business services company serving enterprises and governments. Ms. Burns, who regularly appears on Fortune’s and Forbes’ lists of the world’s most powerful women, is a Board Director of American Express Corporation, Exxon Mobil Corporation, and the Ford Foundation. In 2009, President Obama appointed Ms. Burns to help lead the White House’s national program on STEM and she was appointed Chair of the President’s Export Council in 2015 after serving as Vice Chair. She also provides leadership counsel to several educational and non-profit organizations.


    "The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people."

    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Autumn Burris

    Survivor of Sexual Exploitation and Founding Director, Survivors for Solutions

    Autumn Burris is a public speaker, trainer, and policy analyst. As Founder and Director of Survivors for Solutions and a survivor of sexual exploitation, she is a leader in the movement to end all forms of sexual exploitation and is committed to generating positive social recognition and support for survivors.


    “Prostitution occurs at the nexus of racial, economic, and gender-based violence and oppression. It constitutes a violation of the most fundamental human rights, and embodies harms unimaginable. For the vast majority of those exploited, it is not chosen, and stems from a toxic combination of vulnerabilities. In practice, prostitution and trafficking are inextricable. There can be no end to trafficking and sexual exploitation without strong abolitionist politics and a firm commitment to dismantling systems of prostitution.”

    Stephen Byrd

    Theatrical Producer

    Stephen Byrd is an award-winning theatrical producer. He and his producing partner, Alia Jones Harvey, are currently the only African-American producers on both Broadway and London’s West End.


    “I was astounded when I read the statistics about the proliferation of human sex trafficking in this day and age. Thanks to the commitment and dedication of New Abolitionists, of which I am proud to be part, there’s another laser-like spotlight focused on helping victims and eradicating this despicable scourge and crime against the helpless and defenseless. Remember, we are all only removed from each other by six degrees of separation.”

    Judge Fernando Camacho

    Administrative Judge for Criminal Matters, Queens County, New York State

    Formerly the Acting Supreme Court Justice in the Integrated Domestic Violence Part in Queens County Supreme Court, Judge Fernando Camacho created a specialized court to serve teenagers charged with prostitution- related offenses in order to enable victims to escape prostitution by connecting them with counseling and case management services instead of sentencing them to jail.


    “I am determined to find more partners in the struggle to eradicate the blight that is prevalent in many of our communities—the commercial sexual exploitation of our children.”


    Katie Cappiello


    Founding Artistic Director, GoodCapp Arts, and Playwright


    Katie Cappiello is an award-winning playwright, director and teacher whose plays–including SLUT, Now That We’re Men, Her Story, Uncut, and JOY –explore sex, gender and equality. Her works have reached thousands across the US and are currently being produced in Mexico, Canada and Australia. Katie is a co-creator of Project Impact, a theater-based leadership workshop for youth and adult trafficking survivors, and is also the writer/director of A Day in the Life and After 18, which have toured cities nationwide, raising awareness about commercial sexual exploitation through theater and conversation. Katie is the Founding Artistic Director of GoodCapp Arts. She has been honored by the National Women’s Hall of Fame for her work fusing arts and activism.


    “Theater is resistance; it’s essential in this fight for cultural change and legislative advancement. It lives, breathes, speaks, haunts– allowing us to bear witness and connect like nothing else.” 


    Survivor of Human Trafficking

    Carmen was kidnapped in Mexico when she was fourteen and pimped to thousands of men in New York State for five years before escaping with the help of Good Samaritans. Carmen bravely assisted in the investigation that led to her trafficker’s arrest and conviction. She is an inspiration for victims of sex trafficking in their fight for freedom.

    “When I was forced into prostitution, I did not know what ‘trafficking’ was. My trafficker stole my childhood. I want to make sure that no girl ever again suffers what I went through. I hope someday that I can show my face without fear for my safety or my family’s, but until then I will speak out until I have no voice left.”

    Dr. Marlene Carson


    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Author, Coach, and C.E.O. of The Switch


    While many have a textbook knowledge of the perils faced by victims of human trafficking. Marlene Carson knows from her own personal experience. At age 15, she became one of the tens of thousands who are exploited daily. Through faith in Jesus Christ and sound biblical teaching, Dr. Carson’s misery became a ministry. Her zeal has effected a vision that is unique in its application and effective in its efforts to break the cycle of exploitation, addiction, and poverty. The mission of The Switch is to develop appropriate responses, including the development of a model facility that can provide refuge and facilitate recovery. She believes that such a facility could provide a template, which if followed by others, could extend the benefits of their good efforts across our country and around the world.


    “I Survived to Thrive!”

    President James Earl Carter, Jr.

    The 39th President of the United States, Humanitarian Activist, Author, and Recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

    Originally a peanut farmer in Georgia who served two terms as State Senator and one as Georgia's Governor, President Jimmy Carter was elected as the 39th President of the United States in 1976. During his term in office, President Carter established two new cabinet-level departments--the Departments of Energy and of Education. In foreign affairs, President Carter achieved the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal treaties, the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks, and the return of the Panama Canal Zone to Panama. In 1982, President Carter established The Carter Center as a powerful base for advancing human rights, and has traveled extensively to conduct peace negotiations, observe elections, and advance disease prevention and eradication in developing nations. President Carter has long been a passionate defender of the human rights of girls and women.

    “The abuse of women around the world is the worst unaddressed issue that the world faces today. Even in the United States, human slavery now is greater than it ever was during the 18th or 19th centuries. In Atlanta, Georgia, we have between 200-300 girls sold into sexual slavery every month.”

    Vednita Carter

    Founder and President, Breaking Free, and Author, Speaker, and Survivor


    Vednita Carter is renowned for her pioneering work creating programs for sex trafficked women and girls. She received the Norma Hotaling Award and the Path Breaker Award from Shared Hope International and was named a CNN Hero for her work in ending sexual exploitation of women and girls. Ms. Carter authored Prostitution: Where Racism and Sexism Intersect, published in the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law, co-authored Prostitution, Racism and Feminist Discourse, published by Hastings Women’s Law Journal, and wrote a chapter in Sisterhood Is Forever: The Women’s Anthology for A New Millennium for Journal of Trauma Practice. She has written articles published nationwide and appeared in several documentaries including her own 2014 "A Day in The Life.”

    “Until men and women are able to come together and see each other as equals, there will never be a time when women and girls are not sold, abused, and exploited as property.”

    Zachary Carter

    Corporation Counsel of New York City and Former United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York

    Zachary Carter was appointed Corporation Counsel for New York City by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014. Previously, he was a partner at Dorsey & Whitney LLP and served as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, leading an office that shut down dangerous gangs of crack dealers, exposed securities fraud, and prosecuted international criminal organizations engaged in human trafficking.


    “Human trafficking is a form of slavery that exploits our neighbors for selfish pleasure and profit. It must end.”


    Christine Cesa


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Public Speaker, Advocate, Trainer, and Consultant


    Christine was first trafficked for sex by a family member at age four. Throughout her childhood, while enduring an immense amount of abuse, she fought to complete her education and ultimately earned a master’s degree.


    “No person should ever be sold, exploited, or dehumanized. A society is measured by how it treats its weakest. Those most vulnerable to abuse, exploitation, and human trafficking are often those who are most marginalized. We must do everything possible to protect vulnerable individuals, particularly those marginalized by virtue of poverty, race, youth, and foster care. Individuals who are being exploited in our communities are often unseen. It is essential to begin to recognize, respond to, protect, and restore the dignity of those who are being victimized and punish the buyers who exploit girls and women.”

    Kathleen Chalfant


    Kathleen Chalfant is an actor in theatre, film, and television. She was in the original company of Angels in America and the New York premiere of Margaret Edson’s Wit. Ms. Chalfant has an honorary doctorate from Cooper Union and teaches at The New School. She serves on the Board of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and on the Board of Friends of The Jenin Freedom Theatre. Ms. Chalfant has worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and other human rights organizations. She is a mother, grandmother, and wife.


    “If any of us is enslaved, all of us are enslaved. We must all look into ourselves to see what it is in us that makes slavery possible and what we can best do to root that out.”

    Debra Martin Chase

    Television and Movie Producer

    Debra Chase is an Emmy Award-nominated and Peabody Award-winning television and movie producer, whose company, Martin Chase Productions, has been affiliated with The Walt Disney Company since 2001. Much of her work has focused on women. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College and Harvard Law School, Ms. Chase serves on the boards of Mount Holyoke, the New York City Ballet, and the Second Stage Theatre. In 2012, Black Enterprise Magazine named her one of the Ten Most Bankable African-American Movie Producers in Hollywood, based upon worldwide box offices—the only woman on the list.


    “It is the obligation of a civilized society to protect those who cannot protect themselves. I am horrified by the evil that some women must endure in order to survive.”

    Evelyn Chumbow

    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Activist


    Evelyn Chumbow is a survivor of labor trafficking and an anti-trafficking activist. For seven years, she lived in constant fear and worked day and night for her trafficker, never receiving a dime. After years of captivity, she finally escaped. She enrolled in GED courses and then community college and now studies Homeland Security at the University of Maryland. Today, Ms. Chumbow is an activist against modern-day slavery as a Survivor Consultant for Humanity United and is an intern at the law firm of Baker & McKenzie LLP.


    “I was inspired to be part of this movement because I was once a child slave myself. My goal is to help inform people all over the world that modern-day slavery is still going on around us.”

    John Clark

    CEO, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children


    John Clark, a former director of the United States Marshals Service and a long time child safety advocate, is the president and CEO of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, a non-profit organization that works tirelessly to find, protect, and rescue children from harm. His advocacy to end child sex trafficking has been taken to the halls of Congress, law-enforcement leaders, top Fortune 500 companies, and foreign delegations.


    “Human trafficking is a global problem that requires people in every nation to take action, take a stand, and take responsibility to end it. I’m especially appalled at the number of children being trafficked and sold for sex or into forced labor. Hopefulness must triumph over hopelessness.”

    Lori L. Cohen and Christopher Rothko

    Director, Anti-Trafficking Initiative, Sanctuary for Families; Human Rights Leader

    Lori Cohen directs the Anti-Trafficking Initiative at Sanctuary for Families, which offers legal, clinical, and economic empowerment services to domestic and immigrant victims of human trafficking and draws upon their experiences for advocacy and education. The resilience and courage of these survivors inspire her daily. Dr. Christopher Rothko is Board Chair of the Rothko Chapel, an interfaith center that promotes human rights globally and celebrates the human spirit. A lifelong feminist, he is an ardent advocate for women’s reproductive freedom.


    “Trafficking is not just a women’s issue. Both men and women share the responsibility to end this fundamental human rights violation. In a society that glorifies ‘pimp culture,’ we continue to teach our two sons and our daughter alike that the purchase of one person by another for sex is not acceptable.”


    Jack Collins and Hector Martinez

    Police Officer and Sergeant, Port Authority Police of New York and New Jersey


    A member of the Port Authority Police of New York and New Jersey (PAPNYNJ) force for 18 years, Sergeant Hector ​Martinez was assigned​ four years ago​ to the Youth Services unit responsible for ​investigating and ​recovering missing and exploited children at Port Authority. Officer ​Jack ​Collins has been on the PAPNYNJ force for 16 years, and has been attached to the Youth Services investigatory unit since 2004. They have found in their work that one recovered child often provides a link to ten or more other children being trafficked by the same exploiter. Many federal investigations have been instigated by the kids they recover. In New York’s Port Authority bus terminal, they’ve uncovered trafficking networks operating out of New York and New Jersey, as well as networks extending ​across the nation​.

    “The kids we recover are often viewed as throwaways. They’re ignored because they look homeless, or like junkies or prostitutes. No matter what, they’re still children. The bad guys always depend—too often successfully--on society’s indifference."

    Judy Collins

    Musician, Author, Filmmaker, and Activist


    Judy Collins, now 76, is as creatively vigorous as ever—writing, touring worldwide, and nurturing fresh talent. She is a modern-day Renaissance woman who is also an accomplished filmmaker, activist, record label head, musical mentor, and an in-demand keynote speaker for mental health and suicide prevention. She continues to create music of hope and healing that lights up the world and speaks to the heart.


    "But when I close my eyes I dream of Peace

    I dream of flowers on the hill

    I dream I see my mother smiling

    When I close my eyes I dream of Peace"

    Song for Sarajevo

    Angie Conn


    Survivor of Sexual Exploitation and Trafficking, Founder @She Who Dares Consulting, Influencer, Mentor, Educator, and Activist


    First trafficked at the age of 15 after running away to California from her home in West Virginia, Angie Conn was able to escape and now advocates for girls and boys who have been lured—or are at risk of being lured—into sexual exploitation. Through her work, she helps her community understand that ending up and remaining in captivity is often about invisible chains, like trauma bonding, violence, and dependence, rather than actual physical chains. Ms. Conn feels strongly that highly sexualized portrayals of girls and young women in the media normalizes sexual exploitation.


    “Violence is inherent in forced prostitution, from the trafficker to everyone who buys your body. When you walk into that room, or get into that car, or walk down that alleyway, they think they own you because they 'purchased' you. In that moment, you are required to surrender control.”

    Judge Michael Corriero

    Executive Director, New York Center for Juvenile Justice

    The visionary head of the New York Center for Juvenile Justice, a non-profit that he founded to reform juvenile justice in New York State, Judge Michael Corriero is a passionate advocate against sex trafficking and for the mission of New York State’s Safe Harbor legislation—ensuring that commercially sexually exploited children are treated not as juvenile delinquents but as trafficking victims who need and deserve safety and support.


    “Teenagers who are victims of sex trafficking urgently need services and support, not criminalization. They need to be seen and treated not according to an ill-conceived adult criminal standard, but rather precisely for who they are—New York’s children.”


    Francisco Costa

    Women’s Creative Director, Calvin Klein Collection

    Francisco Costa assumed the role of Women’s Creative Director of Calvin Klein Collection after working directly with Calvin Klein. He debuted his first collection for the house in 2003. Known for his iconic and reductive yet sophisticated designs, Mr. Costa’s work has received critical acclaim and numerous awards, including the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award in 2006 and 2008 from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

    “Enslave the liberty of but one human being and the liberties of the world are put in peril.”
    — William Lloyd Garrison

    Lee Daniels


    In 2013, Lee Daniels’ The Butler was released to rave reviews and went on to become a worldwide box office hit. Lee Daniels’ other film directing credits include the critically acclaimed Precious, for which he received Academy Award nominations for Best Film and Best Director, The Paperboy, and Shadowboxer. He is currently working on the hit television series Empire for Fox, for which he writes, directs, and serves as a producer.


    “Regardless of sex, of age, of color, of sexual orientation—we’re all equal, and by treating a single person with fewer rights than we all deserve, a disservice is done to humanity.”


    Ne'Cole Daniels

    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Director, CSEC Programs, Corbett Group Homes, Inc.


    Ne’cole Daniels is a survivor of sexual exploitation from age seven. Trapped for nine years in the sex trade through interfamilial pimping, she has since worked in social services for 15 years. Ms. Daniels is the Director of CSEC Programs at Corbett, Inc., an organization providing safe housing and supportive services to commercially sexually exploited minors. She develops curriculum and provides training to community providers, law enforcement, and the juvenile justice system. Ms. Daniels has used her advocacy and policy expertise to testify at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the British Parliament, and in Ireland for their Turn off the Red Light Campaign.

    “Coming from a dysfunctional family with so much unaddressed trauma, I was vulnerable to entering ‘the life.’ I didn't choose the life; it chose me. I question the systems, such as the schools I attended, that failed me as a child, the systems that should have stepped in did not.”

    Edwidge Danticat


    Born in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, Edwidge Danticat immigrated to Brooklyn, New York at the age of twelve. She started writing at age nine, and is now the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, an Oprah Book Club selection; Krik? Krak!, a National Book Award finalist; and The Farming of Bones, an American Book Award winner. Ms. Danticat is a 2009 MacArthur Fellow.


    “We must somehow become each other’s harbors to protect one another from the wolves. We must become each other’s better angels or we are all doomed.”

    Alphonso David

    Chief Counsel to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo


    Alphonso David is an attorney, law professor, and policy advisor with extensive litigation and management experience. For close to two decades, he has worked on groundbreaking litigation, legislation, policy initiatives, and advocacy to advance the rights of disadvantaged communities, including Governor Andrew Cuomo’s legislation to strengthen human trafficking laws. Mr. David currently serves as Chief Counsel to Governor Cuomo and oversees all significant legal and policy deliberations affecting New York State.


    “Although we have achieved some success, there is significant work to be done to eradicate the cancerous plague of human trafficking. Collectively, we must be relentless in our fight to protect the voiceless and the disenfranchised. Our obligation is not simply a legal one, but also a moral one.”

    Sister Joan S. Dawber

    Executive Director, LifeWay Network

    Sister Joan Dawber is the Founder and Executive Director of LifeWay Network, an organization that provides safe housing to women survivors of human trafficking. In the course of her work, she has expanded the public’s awareness of trafficking survivors’ immense suffering and acute needs through LifeWay Network’s education program to raise awareness, deepen understanding, and engage others around the issue of human trafficking.


    “I am committed to changing the culture of ignorance and apathy that enable modern-day slavery. Until this scourge is ended, I am equally committed to caring for women who have suffered the experience of trafficking.”

    Dawn's Place

    Founders, Sister Kathleen Coll, Public Defender Mary DeFusco, and Sister Terry Shields


    Through awareness of the painful reality of modern day slavery/trafficking,Sister Kathleen Coll, Mary DeFusco, and Sister Terry Shields came together from various disciplines, such as education, medical, social work, and law to found Dawn’s Place. At Dawn’s Place, they designed a program to pro-actively support women affected by commercial sexual exploitation ("CSE") by providing services, raising awareness through education, generating prevention, public policy reform, and community collaborations. Viewing CSE as a violation of human rights and the most extreme form of domestic violence, Dawn’s Place works to improve the lives of women trapped by, or at risk for CSE, by providing housing, trauma recovery services, vocational training, and other services.


    “There is no difference between prostitution and human sex trafficking. Those women who we view as criminals on our street are as much victims as those who we see as foreign trafficked victims. Dawn’s Place was designed to welcome them both!”

    Estela De Los Rios

    Executive Director, Center for Social Advocates in San Diego


    Born in Mexico, Estela De Los Rios grew up in California and picked grapes in at the age of 13 during the Cesar Chavez movement. As Executive Director of the Center for Social Advocates in San Diego, Ms. De Los Rios fights human trafficking, hate crimes, and civil rights violations experienced by immigrants/refugees. She served as an international leader for Justice Overcoming Boundaries and chaired the Immigrant Rights Consortium and United for a Hate Free San Diego. Ms. De Los Rios is a board member of Latinos y Latinas En Accion, Border Links, Empower San Diego, and Newcomers Support and Development collaborative.

    "We cannot let children be raped and trafficked on our border with Mexico, regardless of what side. It's very sad to know that this is occurring on a daily basis."

    Mylan Denerstein

    Partner at Gibson Dunn and Former Chief Counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo


    Mylan Denerstein is a partner at the law firm of Gibson Dunn. Previously, Ms. Denerstein served as Chief Counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo. In this capacity, Ms. Denerstein was the chief architect of the Women's Equality Act, which included the Governor's most comprehensive effort to strengthen New York’s anti-human trafficking laws. A graduate of Columbia Law School, Ms. Denerstein has served as the Executive Deputy Attorney General in New York for Social Justice and as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.


    "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

    — Margaret Mead

    Angela Diaz

    Professor of Pediatrics and Director, Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center


    An internationally recognized leader in healthcare, Dr. Angela Diaz is devoted to helping the most vulnerable teens. Under her leadership, the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center has developed programs to address the health needs of victims of human trafficking and at-risk teens at large, including prevention and treatment of pregnancy, HIV, violence, trauma, and sexual abuse. Through her health advocacy and policy work in the United States, as well as Africa, Asia and Latin America, Dr. Diaz has had a significant impact on the lives and health of young people worldwide.


    “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.”

    Paul Farmer

    Barry Diller

    Chairman and Senior Executive, IAC and Expedia, Inc.

    Barry Diller is one of the foremost leaders in business and the media today. He was the Chairman and CEO of InterActiveCorp (IAC) and Vivendi Universal Entertainment. He has also served as the Chairman and CEO of QVC, Inc.and Fox, Inc., where he was responsible for the creation of Fox Broadcasting Company. Prior to joining Fox, he was the Chairman of Paramount Pictures Corporation. Mr. Diller serves on the Boards of the Coca-Cola Company and Graham Holdings Company and is a Trustee of New York University.

    “Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.


    Mayor David Dinkins

    Former Mayor of New York City

    A lifelong advocate for gender and racial equality, David Dinkins was the 106th Mayor of New York City. He is known for his innovative approach to criminal justice, focusing on reducing crime and creating opportunities for children. He now serves as a professor in the Practice of Public Affairs at Columbia School of International and Public Affairs.


    “Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle.”
    — Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Abigail Disney

    Filmmaker and Philanthropist

    Abigail Disney’s passion for women’s issues and peace-building culminated in her first film, Pray the Devil Back to Hell. She then created the groundbreaking PBS mini-series Women, War & Peace and recently premiered her directorial debut, The Armor of Light, at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival. Ms. Disney also founded the Daphne Foundation and Peace is Loud.



    “The women and girls forced into prostitution in unthinkable numbers day after day are not simply an unfortunate fact of life. Their lives cannot be sacrificed to the idea that it is somehow an inevitable fact that men will always seek to serve their ‘needs’ in this way. Change is coming and now is the time to make it so. Abolition of demand. Abolition of exploitation and violence. Abolition of enslavement now and forever.”


    John Doman


    An actor who has worked extensively in film, television, and on the stage, John Doman has starred as Rodrigo Borgia in Tom Fontana’s Borgia and Bill Rawls in the HBO series The Wire. His television work includes roles in numerous shows, including Gotham, Damages, and the Emmy Award-winning The Affair. He can be seen in movies, including Blue Valentine, Mystic River, and The Company Men. He has performed in plays by writers ranging from Shakespeare to Sam Shepard in New York and beyond.


    “The human person ought never to be sold or bought as if he or she were a commodity. Whoever uses human persons in this way and exploits them, even if indirectly, becomes an accomplice of injustice.”

    — Pope Francis

    Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas

    Journalist and Host of The Phil Donahue Show; Actress and Producer

    Phil Donahue is an award-winning journalist, writer, and television host who pioneered TV’s audience-participation talk format. He has earned 20 Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, the President’s Award from the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Media Person of the Year from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance, and induction into the Academy of Television’s Hall of Fame. Marlo Thomas is an award-winning actress, author, and activist who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2014 . She has been honored with four Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, a Golden Globe Award, a Grammy Award, and induction into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. She broke ground as television’s first single working woman as the creator and star of That Girl, and co-founded the Ms. Foundation for Women.

    “Human trafficking and sexual exploitation are epidemics that must be eradicated. Today, as throughout our history, the fundamental rights of women, children, all people, are freedom, equality, and nothing less.”


    Survivor of Sexual Exploitation and Certified Nurse’s Assistant


    Raised in Los Angeles as one of eight children, Edith survived years of sexual abuse as a child by a family member and then gang rape as a teenager as a punishment for trying to leave a gang into which she was inducted. Later, she was enslaved in a trailer-like bunker by a long-term boyfriend, who sold her to men for sex. Edith credits her survival to having tremendous resilience and the support of her family and close friends and is today proud to be the “best mom and the best dad” to her four children.


    “I want young transgender women to get help as soon as abuse starts in their personal lives. There is protection if you let someone know that there is a problem and you need protection.”

    Jerome Alan Elam

    Survivor of Human Trafficking, President and CEO, Trafficking in America Task Force, and Scientist, Writer, and Artist


    Jerome Elam was sexually assaulted and trafficked into a pedophilia ring by his mother’s boyfriend from the ages of five until twelve years old, when he attempted suicide and was removed from his family. Mr. Elam, now a married father of twins, served in the Marine Corp for over a decade, later attending college and working in biotechnology.

    “Anyone can be a victim. There are misperceptions about male victims. Most male survivors don’t speak out. It is possible to start our lives over again as men and accept that we were victimized. The experience and trauma is always a part of you but does not define you. There are always triggers. Triggers can be as simple as a look, a cologne, a song. You find yourself being dragged into depression. You must dig your heels in and fight it. You need to want to survive and experience the fullness of life, happiness, friendships.”

    Judge Betty Weinberg Ellerin

    Senior Counsel, Alston & Bird, and Former Justice of the New York State Appellate Division, First Department


    Judge Betty Weinberg Ellerin’s position at Alston & Bird follows her almost 30-year judicial career. The first woman appointed Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for the New York City Courts, she was also the first female Associate Justice of the New York State Appellate Division and served as Presiding Justice of that court. Throughout her career, she has fought for equal rights for women and for the eradication of violence against women.


    “We must educate the public that sex trafficking is an everyday occurrence on the streets of every city, town, and state in this country and not a phenomenon limited to distant parts of the world. Every pimp is a trafficker. We must intensify our efforts to enforce existing laws and enact more stringent laws against these heinous predators who destroy the lives of vulnerable girls and women.”

    Tee Emmanuel

    Advocate for LGBTQ and Human Trafficking Survivor Communities

    Tee Emmanuel has worked hard to beat the stigma that often attaches to youth in the LGBTQ community and youth survivors of sexual exploitation and is proud to be able to help those who struggle with these stigmas. Through her association with Streetwise and Safe, Ms. Emmanuel facilitates Know Your Rights workshops in New York City, and through her involvement with Safe Passages, she has worked hard to help launch their Raise the Age campaign, to raise the age of criminal responsibility for a minor to 18 years of age.


    “I am the expert of my own experience.”

    The Reverend Que English

    Senior Pastor, Bronx Christian Fellowship Church

    Reverend Que English is the Chair of the New York City Faith-Based Coalition Against Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence. Through her leadership the coalition launched New York City’s “Not On My Watch!” movement, an advocacy and empowerment campaign combating human trafficking and domestic violence. Selected as one of the 25 most influential women in the Bronx, she was appointed to serve as advisor on the Mayor’s Clergy Advisory Council. She co-founded the New York City Clergy Roundtable, the Bronx Clergy Roundtable, and serves as co-pastor, along with her husband, Reverend Tim English, of Bronx Christian Fellowship Church.


    “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”


    — Matthew 25:40, NRSV

    Thomas Estler

    Comic Book Writer and Director, Freedom Ladder


    Thomas Estler wrote the Abolitionista! comic book series to educate young people about human trafficking and empower them with tools to protect themselves. His organization, Freedom Ladder, takes his comic book workshops into schools, YMCAs, homeless shelters, and churches where he is equipping the next generation of Abolitionists to live safe, powerful, inspired lives.

    "Since it is so likely that children will meet cruel enemies, let them at least have heard of brave knights and heroic courage. Otherwise you are making their destiny not brighter but darker."
    C.S. Lewis

    Anthony Favale

    Deputy Inspector and Vice President, New York Police Department

    Anthony Favale is currently serving as Vice President of Client Relations for the Quality Protection Services division of the New York Police Department (NYPD). He previously supervised all human trafficking investigations within the NYPD and represented the NYPD’s Anti-Trafficking Policies and Procedures to local, national, and global service providers and law enforcement agencies. Mr. Favale has received the 2013 Malone Prize and the 2014 Adam Frasse Public Service Award for his outstanding work and collaboration in combating domestic sex trafficking.


    “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
    — Edmund Burke

    Julissa Ferreras

    New York City Council Member, Queens

    Council Member Julissa Ferreras is the first woman to chair the New York City Council’s Committee on Finance. She oversees the city’s $75.3 billion budget and has directed funds to support programs for victims of gender-based violence. As Chair of the Committee on Women’s Issues, Ms. Ferreras presided over hearings on human trafficking and provided passionate leadership to protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable.


    “Although the common public perception about sex trafficking is that it is only prevalent in foreign countries, the truth is that it is here and now—and has health, economic, and social implications for all New Yorkers.”

    Tina Fey

    Writer, Actor, and Comedian

    Tina Fey is an award-winning writer, actor, and comedian best known for her work on Saturday Night Live and as the star and creator of television’s 30 Rock. She is the author of the best-selling memoir Bossypants and the 2004 film Mean Girls. Ms. Fey is a creator, writer, and producer of the Netflix series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. As a feminist and a mother, the safety of New York’s women and children is important to her.


    “Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”
    — Benjamin Franklin

    Brett M. Figlewski

    Legal Director, The LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York

    Brett Figlewski joined the LGBT Bar Association of New York (LeGaL) as its first Legal Director in February 2015. Previously, he worked for a decade as a family litigator with Sanctuary for Families and created Sanctuary’s LGBT Initiative. Mr. Figlewski co-authored the article “Trafficking and the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Young Men and Boys” for the Lawyer’s Manual on Human Trafficking and created a legal clinic for at-risk LGBTQ youth. He oversees LeGaL’s network of clinics, attorney referral system, and the creation of its Public Interest Law Committee to place cases of significance for the LGBT community with leading pro bono attorneys.

    “LGBTQ youth without stable means of financial and emotional support are particularly susceptible to commercial sexual exploitation.”

    Elizabeth Fildes

    Former Deputy Sheriff, Buffalo County Sheriff’s Office

    Prior to retiring in 2014, Elizabeth Fildes served both as the head of the Western New York Human Trafficking Alliance and as the Program Director of Human Trafficking for the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. In 2012, the U.S. State Department selected Ms. Fildes as an envoy to travel to Africa and assist local authorities in recognizing and preventing sex crimes against children. Currently, she serves as a consultant and provides technical assistance to the U.S. Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime.


    “We must treat sex trafficking as a violent crime because the victims experience countless hours of sexual abuse and psychological torture. The traffickers who recruit them intentionally seek them out for monetary gain and exploit them with no regard for their life or well being.”


    Terry Forliti

    Survivor and Interim Executive Director, Breaking Free


    A survivor of many forms of sexual, physical, and emotional abuse, Terry Forlitit now mentors women exiting the sex trade. She has a degree in Organizational Leadership from Bethel University and is a member of the Minnesota Human Trafficking Task Force, serving on two committees. Ms. Forliti received the 2015 Lois M. Christensen Award for Women Who Impact by the Minnesota Women of Today.

    “The act of prostitution is the most heinous, invasive abuse that a person can endure. It is wrong on so many levels and needs to be exposed for what it is—the worlds oldest oppression. It angers me when the media glorifies prostitution; there is absolutely nothing glamorous about it. The image during biblical times, the Wild West, and other periods in history that women had a choice and were having fun is false.”

    Rachel Foster

    Campaign Director, New Abolitionists, Attorney, and Founder Co-Chair, World Without Exploitation


    Rachel Foster has been dedicated to fighting injustice for 30 years. She has been an advocate at the Tompkins County Task Force for Battered Women and Sanctuary for Families, a community organizer at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House, and an attorney and Board Officer at Brooklyn Legal Services, as well as a Board Member of the Citizens Committee for Children, Brooklyn Bridge Animal Welfare Coalition, and Community Board Two. She developed two shelters, one for transitional families and another for domestic violence survivors. Ms. Foster received the New Yorkers Who Make a Difference Award from United Neighborhood Houses for her work representing disenfranchised New Yorkers.


    “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”
    — Maya Angelou

    Regina Fowler

    Survivor of Prostitution and Minister


    Regina Fowler entered “the life” at age 15. She was sexually molested as a child beginning at age six and ended up living with a friend as young teenager, where she was exposed to prostitution. During this period, she began using drugs as a way to cope. She has been out of “the life” for nine years having spent 19 years in prostitution. She now works to support and mentor girls and women and publically challenge the misperception that women are in prostitution by choice and that they like what they do, rather than having been victimized and forced into it by unstable and unsafe circumstances beyond their control.


    I wasn’t born to be in bondage.”


    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Activist


    The victim of sex abuse as a child growing up in Mexico, Frannya was first prostituted as a teenager by a man she loved, and later by a boyfriend in the United States through Backpage.com. As a transgender woman, her buyers often married men with children were attracted to her as “an exotic rare specious” or a “Martian.” A support group for transgender survivors gave Frannya back her life.


    “No man can ever give you value by owning you. It’s not victimless; you become damaged. I had aspirations, but being in the life stole my spirit and soul. Although being transgender is very hard, there are more opportunities now. Young transgender girls should study and prepare for their futures without going into this turbulent, dark life. They can do so much to reinvent the transgender community.”

    Joy Friedman

    Survivor and Overcomer of Sexual Exploitation and Spokesperson, Mentor, Abolitionist, and Advocate


    From the time she was in her teens until 37 years old, Joy Friedman survived brutal and terrifying years of being exploited in different arenas in the sex trade. A survivor of domestic abuse, drug addiction, and sexual exploitation, Ms. Friedman overcame years of torture, hardship, and instability to become a valued and seasoned mentor to other women in need of support, and today is a powerful motivational speaker and a leader in the fight to combat sex trafficking and exploitation.


    “In this day and age, it’s a shame that in the U.S. a human being can still be bought, sold, or traded at a price. We are a land of the free, except for those ‘others’ who are being sacrificed for the sole purpose of adult sexual satisfaction and what the U.S. calls ‘adult entertainment.’ The abuse and violence inflicted on a person’s child is acceptable as long as someone is willing to pay the price for this exploitation. This should not exist! We need to stop justifying and minimizing it now!”

    Victoria Fullen-Green


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Artist, CEO of Artistry 23


    Victoria Fullen-Green grew up in foster care from the age of three. Lacking guidance, she turned to the streets and was ensnared in sex trafficking. After resolving that she would no longer be victimized, she managed to escape and return to school to earn a high school diploma, and then went on to earn a BA in Business and Entrepreneurship. Mrs. Fullen-Green is now working on a Master’s Degree in Project Management while also managing Artistry 23, an organization she founded to provide therapy for trauma through art. Finding in her own life that self-expression through art was tremendously helpful in overcoming dark moments, she wishes to offer that same therapy to others.


    “Masterpieces can be created from trauma. No matter how dark the trauma, it can be reconstructed into art, and made beautiful. Keep pushing forward, as there is always a brighter side to your life.”

    Lisa Gagnier

    Survivor of Domestic and Sexual Violence and Mentor


    Lisa Gagnier entered the sex trade at the age of 23 soon after her mother died, which devastated and destabilized her. After spending eight years in prostitution in various settings and struggling with a drug addiction that was intertwined with her life during that period, she successfully struggled to leave “the life” and recover and now interns at Breaking Free, an organization that supports and mentors survivors of sex trafficking.

    “I was college educated and believed that because of that and that I wasn’t a child, I wouldn’t be hurt or exploited in the sex trade and that I could control my circumstances. I quickly learned that this was not the case and it took many years to get out of the harmful and dangerous lifestyle I was caught in.”

    Jenny Gaines

    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Advocate and Spokesperson


    Jenny Gaines survived 28 years of sex trafficking and prostitution. At age 14, she was recruited within 48 hours of running away from home during a painful time in her family life. As a teenager, she was trafficked from Minneapolis to New York City and later around the United States. Ms. Gaines felt “trapped and all used up” in that lifestyle and often felt like she wanted to die. For the past five years, Ms. Gaines has been a mentor, support, and advocate for women struggling to exit prostitution. She feels empowered to be a part of the movement to end all forms of sexual exploitation.

    “Prostitution ate me from the inside out. While in it, I could not see any way out. In the life, nobody supports you to make good decisions but everyone supports you to make bad decisions.”

    Taylor Gamble

    Attorney and Activist

    After several years as a rape crisis advocate and counselor, Taylor Gamble attended law school to continue to fight for justice for victims of gender-based violence. As a fellow at Sanctuary for Families, she provided legal support and advocacy for survivors of human trafficking, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Ms. Gamble was instrumental in coordinating the New Abolitionists’ campaign, publications, and social media efforts. She is now an attorney at the Administration for Children’s Services.


    “I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”
    — Audre Lorde

    Cecilia Gastón

    Executive Director, Violence Intervention Program


    Cecilia Gastón began her tenure as Executive Director of the Violence Intervention Program (VIP) in June 2008. In 1998, she was recognized as one of El Diario/La Prensa’s Outstanding Women of the Year for her commitment to social justice and women’s health. Prior to heading VIP, she worked at Inwood House, one of New York City’s leading teen pregnancy prevention programs.


    “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.”


    — Abraham Lincoln

    Julia Geynisman-Tan

    Gynecologist and Founder, Survivor Clinic


    Julia Geynisman-Tan is a gynecologist and the founder of the Survivor Clinic in New York City. As a physician and surgeon, she has cared for women who have survived sexual exploitation and female genital mutilation and her research focuses on the health consequences of this abuse. She also served on the board of the HEAL Trafficking network and lectures to health professionals on identifying and responding to trafficking in healthcare settings.

    "Survivorship after the repetitive and anonymous abuse of sex trafficking is not a discrete conclusion to an event. It is a constant state of mind. Despite the physical and emotional consequences they’ve suffered, my patients find the resilience every day to protect and love themselves."

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

    United States Senator

    Kirsten Gillibrand was first sworn in as United States Senator from New York State in January 2009 and was elected in November 2012 to her first six-year Senate term. In only a short time, Senator Gillibrand has made her presence felt in the Senate. From fighting to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” to providing health care and compensation for 9/11 first responders, to reforming the military justice system and tackling the problem of sexual assault on college campuses, she has created unique bipartisan coalitions. Senator Gillibrand is a leading voice for policies that will help families earn their full economic potential, including paid family leave and affordable childcare.

    “When we fight back against human trafficking, we hold dangerous criminals accountable, give victims a sense of justice, help them put their lives back together, and keep more New Yorkers safe.”

    Girl Be Heard Company: Ruby Gerber, Melanie Thompson, and Karen Vigo


    Melanie Thompson, a powerful writer, actor and activist, joined the cast of Girl Be Heard in 2012. Today, Ms. Thompson is one of the company’s rising stars, mentored by senior girls like Ruby Gerber and Karen Vigo. The 170 company members of Girl Be Heard, ages 12 to 21, write and perform shows to raise awareness about issues affecting girls—from sex trafficking to rape in the Congo. Girl Be Heard Special Advisor, Gloria Steinem, invites audiences to “join in the truth-telling as told by the clear voices of girls before pretense or pressure have quieted them.”


    “If a girl can change her own life, she can change the lives of girls everywhere."


    Girl Be Heard Philosophy


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Chef, and Public Speaker


    Thinking his young son was too effeminate, Giselle’s father put her up for adoption at the age of three. She was sexually abused, beaten, and prostituted by her adopted father from the age of four to almost 13 when she ran away. At 12, a doctor started giving her shots she believes were testosterone because she immediately went into puberty. Giselle eventually moved to a city where she felt free to dress like a woman and begin her transition.


    “Buyers of transgender women are usually married and seek sexual services that are uncommon. They want to be penetrated by a female who has breasts and long hair. These men have to understand they are part of a huge diversity of sexual of sexual beings and are not being honest about who they are. When they accept their sexuality, there will healthier relationships between transgender women and these men and less prostitution because they will be living a life that is authentic.”

    Ingibjorg Gisladottir


    Director of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)


    Ingibjorg Gisladottir, Director of ODIH, has more than 35 years' leadership experience working on human rights and women's rights, having previously served as the United Nations Women's Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia and Country Representative to both Turkey and Afghanistan. Early on in her political career Ms. Gisladottir was a founding member of the Women’s Party in Iceland, which lay the foundation for Iceland’s remarkable progress in gender equality, and thereafter served as Mayor of the City of Reykjavik, a member of Parliament, Chairperson and Leader of the Social Democratic Alliance, and Iceland's Minister for Foreign Affairs.

    “Let’s take note of the global power of the #MeToo movement and the impact it is having, in ending impunity for sexual harassment and sexual violence against women, including trafficking.”

    Klara Glowczewska

    Travel Editor-at-Large, Town & Country and Town & Country Travel

    Klara Glowczewska, formerly Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast Traveller, created the magazine’s World Savers Awards, which honor travel companies making significant contributions to poverty alleviation, health, education, wildlife conservation, and environmental preservation. A leader in the publishing world, Ms. Glowczewska is committed to ensuring that the industry calls attention to the world changers among us.


    “When my father spoke to us, his children, of the great wrong of slavery, I felt his powerful frame tremble and his voice would break. He told us sad stories of the hideous wrong inflicted. . . .[Women] were almost invariably forced to minister to the worst passions of their masters, or be persecuted and die.”

    — Josephine Butler

    Molly Gochman

    Conceptual Artist


    Molly Gochman considers both her work as an artist and her advocacy as a means to encourage questioning, communication, and empathy. In 2014, Gochman created Red Sand Project, a multi-faceted art project, to raise awareness about human trafficking. The project comprises earthwork installations, participatory sidewalk interventions, and convenings—all of which provide opportunities to question, to connect, and to take action to end modern-day slavery.


    “We have the power to end this atrocity if we are vigilant in addressing vulnerabilities and inciting progressive cultural change.”

    Noel Gomez

    Survivor of Prostitution and Co-Founder, Organization for Prostitution Survivors and Director, Survivor Services


    Noel Gomez was trafficked by an adult “boyfriend” as a teenager after growing up in an abusive household and becoming pregnant and homeless at 15 years old. Every time she escaped her trafficker, he abducted her. She survived various forms of sexual exploitation until she was able to exit the sex trade at age 32.

    “If someone weren’t offering money, you wouldn’t have sex with him. You’re choosing the money because you need it to survive. The sexual interaction is not a choice. The misconception is that prostitution is glamorous, and will get you where you want to go but you don’t realize it is killing your soul. It is so much work to find out who you are, if you ever get out. You become a different person and don’t realize how much damage it is doing to you physically, spiritually, and emotionally. The harmful effects will eventually take over your psyche and soul.”

    Karenna Gore

    Director of Union Forum, Union Theological Seminary

    Karenna Gore is an attorney, advocate, and the author of Lighting the Way: Nine Women Who Shaped Modern America. A former Board Member of Sanctuary for Families and a current member of its President’s Council, she has advocated to strengthen New York State’s laws against human trafficking and to ensure the protection of at-risk girls. A project of Union Theological Seminary, founded in 1836 by a group of ministers “deeply impressed by the claims of the world upon the church,” Union Forum applies that same spirit to the challenges of immigration, criminal justice, globalization, ecological crisis, poverty, and oppression.


    “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
    — Ida B. Wells-Barnett



    Lela Goren

    Founder and President, Goren Group

    Lela Goren is the Founder and President of Goren Group, a woman-owned and operated real estate development and investment company. Her organization, PowerHouse.org, supports non-profits through event hosting, cultural and educational programming, and community development. Previously, she served as Senior Vice President of Acquisitions and Development at Extell Development Company and as a partner at Oz Holdings.


    “As wives and mothers, as sisters and daughters, we are deeply responsible for the influence we have on the human race. We are bound to exert it; we are bound to urge man to cease to do evil, and learn to do well. We are bound to urge them to regain, defend, and preserve inviolate the rights of all, especially those they have most deeply wronged.”

    — Maria Weston Chapman

    William Gorin


    Chair of the Board, Sanctuary for Families, and Senior Counsel, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

    William Gorin was elected Board President of Sanctuary for Families in July 2013. He is currently Senior Counsel at Cleary Gottlieb, an international law firm, where he practiced for over 35 years, including 28 years as a partner. He is committed to the mission of Sanctuary for Families, which is dedicated to the safety, healing, and self-determination of victims of domestic violence and related forms of gender violence, including trafficking.


    “Freedom cannot be achieved unless women have been emancipated from all forms of oppression. . . . Our endeavors must be about the liberation of the woman, the emancipation of the man, and the liberty of the child.”
    — Nelson Mandela


    Margeaux Gray

    Advocate, Motivational Speaker, and Artist

    Margeaux Gray transcended her experience as a domestic child sex trafficking survivor and now advocates against this injustice. She is on the National Survivor Network Executive Committee and is a member of the Louisville, Kentucky Human Trafficking Task Force and the Advisory Board for TO THE MARKET. Ms. Gray testified before the U.S. Congress on a bill protecting trafficking victims. She presents at schools and community events, writes op-eds, and co-leads a mentorship program for teenage girls. Ms. Gray and her guide dog for the blind, Junebug, lead the way in making a difference.


    “To express myself freely and creatively through art has been an integral part of my liberation. My art incorporates everyday items that other people might consider useless, as a metaphor that people whom our society might disregard—among them victims of human trafficking—are full of worth and beauty.”

    Grizelda Grootboom

    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Author, and Human Rights Activist


    Raised in an orphanage in Cape Town, South Africa where she lost her closest friend to death by stoning after being raped, and was herself gang raped at the age of nine by teenagers in her township, Grizelda Grootboom was sold to sex traffickers when she was 18 years old. Life on the streets of Johannesburg in the sex trade meant brutal beatings and rape. A survivor who escaped, Ms. Grootboom today is an activist helping other trafficking victims in South Africa. In her memoir, Exit!, she reveals the often misunderstood world of prostitution to help raise awareness about its harms and the horrors of sex trafficking and to help others to heal.

    “When you are in prostitution, daytime doesn’t look like daytime and nighttime doesn’t look like nighttime. You just have reflections on what was done to you. I speak out because I know what it feels like to be that teenage girl being raped."

    Jane Guerino

    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Founder, Executive Director, and President, Glory House


    Jane Guerino was an adopted child, who was sexually abused from the age of four to nine years old. In her late 20s, she entered the sex trade to support her drug addiction. At age 30, Ms. Guerino was abducted and held for five months without clothing in a frigid cold basement, where she was terrorized and tortured. She was then sold to different sex traffickers for two years until her escape. Ms. Guerino suffered immense deprivation and violence while captive. Today, she helps abused, trafficked, and incarcerated girls and women though Glory House, the organization she founded.

    “There is a misconception that being in prostitution is a glamorous life but it’s not; it’s brutal and dangerous. You are leading a double life and taking enormous safety risks; I had serious brushes with death eight times. You will sacrifice your health, pride, and self-respect. You’ll also lose the respect of family and friends, if find out. There is a personal cost selling your body for sex that is much greater than any money earned."

    Mamie Gummer

    Actor and Advocate

    An award-winning actor and advocate for women and girls, Mamie Gummer is committed to helping people experiencing violence access support and services. She is on the Advisory Council of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition and serves as an Ambassador for the Women’s Refugee Commission. Ms. Gummer starred in the television series Off the Map, Emily Owens, M.D., and The Good Wife. She can now be seen in the film Ricki and the Flash and is currently recurring on WGN America’s Manhattan.


    “I have no idea of submitting tamely to injustice inflicted either on me or on the slave. I will oppose it with all the moral powers with which I am endowed. I am no advocate of passivity.”
    — Lucretia Mott


    Agnes Gund

    Philanthropist, Art Patron, and Advocate

    Agnes Gund is a philanthropist, art patron, and advocate for arts education, women’s equality, and human rights. She is the Founder of Studio in a School and President Emerita of the Museum of Modern Art and Chair of its International Council. Ms. Gund’s board memberships include the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, and the Foundation for Art and Preservation in Embassies. In 2012, she was appointed Member of the New York State Council on the Arts. In 1997, Ms. Gund received the National Medal of Arts from President Bill Clinton.


    “If we do not lay out ourselves in the service of mankind, whom should we serve?”
    — Abigail Adams


    Ruchira Gupta

    Founder and President, Apne Aap Women Worldwide

    Ruchira Gupta is a Clinton Global Citizen and an abolitionist, journalist, human rights activist, and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. She has worked to end sex trafficking and lobbied policymakers to shift blame from victims to perpetrators. She testified in the U.S. Senate for passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, addressed the United Nations General Assembly on human trafficking, and was instrumental in the passage of India’s new anti-rape laws that criminalize trafficking—the first of their kind in her country. In 2002, she founded Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an anti-sex trafficking organization based in India that empowers girls and women affected by prostitution.


    “Unless sex buyers are punished, women and girls will continue to be exploited.”

    Vanita Gupta


    President and Chief Executive Officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


    Vanita Gupta has made a career of defending the civil and human rights of all individuals. As the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division under President Obama, Ms. Gupta2 led a team of lawyers who vigorously prosecuted human trafficking crimes. Now, as president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, she works to serve as a force multiplier for civil rights groups, raising the collective volume in the fight for inclusion, justice, and fairness in America.


    “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”


    Martin Luther King Jr.

    Athena Haddon

    Survivor, Advocate, Leader, and Former Program Director, Everyday Miracles Peer Recovery Support Center


    Raised in a close-knit military family, Athena Haddon was coerced into commercial sexual exploitation at the age of 17 by a boyfriend. She suffered years of violence and exploitation in the sex trade before becoming a fierce advocate and voice for women who have experienced sexual exploitation and trauma, substance abuse, and prostitution-related criminal charges. Out of the life for 23 years, Ms. Haddon was instrumental in founding the Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation and was a respected leader of Everyday Miracles Peer Recovery Center. She has received numerous awards, including the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (“SAMHSA”) Consumer Peer Leader Voice and Worcester Women of Consequence Awards, for her work with individuals recovering from substance abuse and trauma histories.


    "When I was in the life, I would have said it was my choice, my body, my life. But what I didn't know then is that the healing from the aftermath of exploitation would take a lifetime.”

    Kathi Hardy

    Founder, Freedom From Exploitation, and Survivor of the Sex Industry, Educator, Advocate, Abolitionist, and Mentor


    Kathi Hardy joined the military after a childhood of abuse, including sexual assault at age five. Addicted to drugs and alcohol for 25 years, she entered prostitution to support her addiction, which ultimately cost her son, home, and long-term job. Ms. Hardy was homeless for three and a half years. She has been sober since 1993 and is a dedicated and well-respected advocate, mentor, and educator.


    “Laws should reflect that no one is worth throwing away. There’s a war going on between good and evil. Normalizing the sex industry is on the side of evil. It justifies rape just because someone is getting paid for it. I was raped 12 times at knife and gunpoint and it had nothing to do with not getting paid. Violence happens because of people’s mental instability and sex addiction. It is necessary to fight the demand and the money that drives it.”

    Yasmeen Hassan

    Global Executive Director, Equality Now

    A lifelong advocate for women’s rights, Yasmeen Hassan is the Global Executive Director of Equality Now, an international human rights organization that protects and advances the rights of women and girls around the world. Equality Now focuses on ending sex trafficking by addressing the demand for prostitution, a strategy that involves penalizing traffickers and buyers of sex while decriminalizing victims and providing them with services. To this end, Equality Now supports the work of grassroots groups working to end sex trafficking and advocate for the passage and implementation of strong anti-trafficking legislation at the state, national, and international levels.


    “To end sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, laws and policies need to address the root cause—the demand for commercial sex. Without buyers, there is no ‘business.’”


    Marian Hatcher

    Senior Project Manager, Cook County Sheriff’s Office of Public Policy


    As a mother of five and an accounting supervisor at a dialysis company, Marian Hatcher’s descent into prostitution was unintended. Domestic violence and depression led her to crack cocaine use, disappearing into the streets of Chicago; a drug habit supported through prostitution spiraled into trafficking, kidnapping, rape, and violent beatings. Ms. Hatcher turned her life around after incarceration, now serving as Senior Project Manager/Human Trafficking Coordinator for the Cook County Sheriff’s Office of Public Policy. She develops strategies to assist women exiting "the life" and spearheads several anti-trafficking efforts, including the “National Johns Suppression Initiative,” a nationwide effort with more than 80 participating law enforcement agencies targeting sex buyers--the driving force of sex trafficking and prostitution.


    “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

    — Micah 6:8

    The Reverend Dr. Katharine Rhodes Henderson

    President, Auburn Theological Seminary

    The Reverend Katharine Henderson is an internationally known religious leader whose work advances the multi-faith movement for justice. She has collaborated with a range of leaders—from those in the White House to those in civil society—to identify new tactics for preventing and ending trafficking, empowering and supporting survivors, and creating demand for a moral economy that is free of slave-made goods.


    “No single group or religious tradition alone can end human trafficking. Stopping this scourge will take leaders of faith and moral courage working together to protect the most vulnerable among us.”

    Lauren Hersh

    National Director, World Without Exploitation

    Lauren Hersh has dedicated her career to combating violence against women and girls globally. For eight years, she served as a prosecutor, handling a wide range of cases impacting women and girls. As the chief of one of the country’s first sex trafficking units, she implemented victim-based strategies to investigate and prosecute traffickers. As New York State Director of Equality Now, Ms. Hersh ran the organization’s global trafficking program. She most recently was the Director of Anti-Trafficking Policy and Advocacy, Sanctuary for Families. In 2012, she co-created Project Impact, a leadership-through-storytelling workshop for teen trafficking survivors, and Generation FREE, a student-led anti-trafficking activism community. Ms. Hersh is a 2016 recipient of New York Law Journal's Rising Stars Award.

    “There are many factors which support prostitution in our world, but there is one above all others that has assured its continuance throughout the ages. It is the driving force of demand.”
    — Rachel Moran


    Danielle and Mark Herzlich

    First Lieutenant in New Jersey's National Guard and Personal Trainer; Linebacker for the New York Giants of the National Football League

    Commissioned as an Adjutant General Corp Officer in the United States Army in 2011, Danielle Herzlich currently serves as a First Lieutenant in New Jersey’s National Guard as the state’s Victim's Advocate, and is a certified personal trainer in her civilian life. Mark Herzlich is a linebacker for the New York Giants of the National Football League. Both are graduates of Boston College, and Mark also has a Master's degree in Administrative Studies from the Carroll School of Management. In 2009, Mark overcame Ewings Sarcoma, a rare and life threatening bone cancer. He later went on to win Super Bowl XLVI with his team in 2012, and published a memoir entitled, "What It Takes: Fighting for My Life and the Love of the Game". They both serve as board directors of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which works to end domestic violence, child abuse, and sexual assault.

    "Men need to stand up to other men. Don’t just hold yourself accountable. Hold others accountable to treat women how they deserve to be treated."

    Lisa Hofflich

    President, National Organization for Women, Westchester Chapter

    As President of the Westchester Chapter of the National Organization of Women, Lisa Hofflich is an advocate and activist working on issues affecting women and children in vulnerable and abusive situations. Previously, she chaired the New York State Public Affairs Committee of the Junior League, where she led a coalition of 7,500 women in the fight to end human trafficking. Ms. Hofflich is particularly committed to improving the lives and welfare of homeless LGBTQ youth who fall prey to sexual exploitation.


    “In order to eradicate these vicious crimes of human trafficking, we need to stigmatize and penalize the buyers and traffickers in a way that stanches the demand. We have to shift the paradigm of thinking that all persons in prostitution are complicit. Let’s start listening to survivors and look at them for who they really are—victims who have had their basic human rights violently stripped away.”


    Eric Himpton Holder, Jr.

    82nd Attorney General of the United States, Partner, Covington & Burling, LLP


    Eric Holder served as the Attorney General of the United States, from 2009 to 2015. As the third longest serving Attorney General in U.S. history and the first African American to hold that office, Mr. Holder is an internationally recognized leader across a broad range of regulatory enforcement and criminal justice issues, including the prosecution of traffickers. Appointed to various positions requiring U.S. Senate confirmation by Presidents Obama, Clinton, and Reagan, Mr. Holder served in government for more than thirty years and, when not in government service, works as a partner at Covington & Burling, LLP.


    “It is almost unfathomable, to consider that – 150 years since President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation; more than six decades after the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights prohibited the practice of slavery; and more than fifteen years since the landmark Trafficking Victims Protection Act became law – today, in communities across and beyond this country, slavery not only persists but does so in greater numbers than at any other time in human history.”

    Ambassador Swanee Hunt

    Chair of Demand Abolition (Hunt Alternatives), Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer of Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and former U.S. Ambassador to Austria


    Ambassador Swanee Hunt’s work writ large has spanned more than 60 countries. Combating the illegal sex industry for more than two decades, she has headed government delegations, consulted with survivors, taught university classes, written copiously for press and academic journals, worked on state and federal legislation, and spoken extensively to groups large and small. She has devoted millions of dollars and countless hours to this mission. Swanee is also a widely-exhibited photographer, author and composer. She was married to international conductor Charles Ansbacher and her world includes their three children, plus a menagerie of cat, parrot, horses, bison, and grandchildren.


    "No body is for sale. With respectful, pragmatic, sustainable, and effective interventions, we can disrupt sex buying, which drives sex trafficking. No buyer, no business."

    Byron Hurt

    Activist, Lecturer, Writer, and Documentary Filmmaker

    Byron Hurt is an award-winning documentary filmmaker, writer, and activist. He is also the former host of the Emmy Award-nominated series, Reel Works with Byron Hurt. His documentary, Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats and Rhymes, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and has been broadcast nationally on PBS’s Emmy Award-winning series, Independent Lens.


    “It is by standing up for the rights of girls and women that we truly measure up as men.”
    — Archbishop Desmond Tutu

    R. Evon Idahosa

    Founder and Executive Director, PathFinders Justice Initiative

    An activist and lawyer, Evon Idahosa is the Founder and Executive Director of PathFinders Justice Initiative, Inc., a non-governmental organization that seeks justice for female survivors of child sex abuse and sex trafficking through judicial reform, empowerment, and community transformation.

    “Peace and injustice against women are uncommon bedfellows, for peace cannot lie in the presence of injustice for long without rising.”


    Samantha Inesta

    Founder and Executive Director, Beasister2asister

    Samantha Inesta is the Founder and Executive Director of Beasister2asister. She has over ten years’ experience consulting with non-profits and fighting for the rights of women all over the world and leads cross-cultural trainings to bring women of all backgrounds together to encourage a loving sisterhood to help break the cycle of trafficking.


    “We need every woman, every girl, everywhere to say NOT MY SISTER! As many times as necessary—until every woman and girl is free.”


    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Advocate

    Iryna is a domestic survivor of human trafficking. Today, she is engaged in advocacy work to raise awareness about this widespread issue and to educate the public about it.


    “Human trafficking deprives a person of dignity and identity. As a survivor, I firmly believe that the hope for the future is in the voices of those who dare to speak up against this evil industry. By raising awareness in communities, we empower survivors and honor those who did not live to tell.”

    Crystal Isle

    Survivor of Incest, Rape, and the Sex Trade, Full Time Student, and Director, Educational Services, Freedom From Exploitation, Trainer, Public Speaker, and Advocate


    Sexually abused by her step-father and numerous other men throughout her childhood, Crystal Isle entered prostitution in her 20s. She is now earning a degree in social work to provide trauma informed services. Ms. Isle works with survivors of sexual exploitation and educates both the general public and medical professionals about human trafficking.


    “Human trafficking is all around -- you just need to look through a different lens. It’s an equal opportunity destroyer. Virtually every person out there on the streets was sexually abused as a child, making them a target for further exploitation. Predators can sense vulnerability from a mile away. We can fight this with more services in place and giving hope to survivors that there is something better on the other side. I want to give a voice to the thousands of children, women, and men who cannot speak. It is essential that they see someone who has made it through.”

    Ghada Jabbour


    Co-Founder, KAFA | (enough) Violence & Exploitation


    A feminist activist, Ghada Jabbour co-founded KAFA|(enough) Violence & Exploitation, a Lebanese advocacy organization engaged in fighting violence against women, and the only organization advocating for the Nordic Model in the country. As the leader of KAFA's anti-trafficking and sexual exploitation unit, Ms. Jabbour reaches out to law enforcement authorities and civil society actors to advocate for the adoption by Lebanon of the Nordic model, and runs a shelter for sexually exploited and trafficked victims. Ms. Jabbour is also a board member of both the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution – International and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women.


    "Prostitution is an extreme manifestation of patriarchy. No society can claim to be gender equal if half of it can potentially buy the other half."

    LaTanya Richardson Jackson

    Actor and Producer


    An accomplished actor of stage and screen, LaTanya Richardson Jackson recently received critical praise and a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun. She starred in the HBO miniseries Show Me a Hero and recurs on Blue Bloods. Ms. Jackson and her husband, Samuel L. Jackson, established the Samuel L. & LaTanya R. Jackson Foundation to support a range of philanthropic issues in the United States and Africa. She serves on the Board of Directors of Artists for a New South Africa, The American Theatre Wing, and is an Advocate for the Children’s Defense Fund.


    “Human trafficking is a vile/exploitative/ criminal activity which must be exposed and driven into hell. I am honored to be a soldier in the fight against such evil.”


    Survivor of Human Trafficking


    Janet was trafficked in Mexico and the United States by a man who claimed to love her, but ruthlessly sold her body for sex to thousands of men. After enduring years of abuse, Janet was able to escape with the help of the Mexican Consulate and Sanctuary for Families.


    “People can’t believe that individuals are sex trafficked in the United States, but it is happening here. Men view women as sexual objects. Men paid to have sex with me and, even if I hated them, I was forced. No one is in prostitution to make money; it goes to the pimps. I am not ashamed to speak about what happened to me, but I felt ashamed while I was living through it. I’m free now and happy to be a survivor of cancer and of trafficking."

    U.S. Representative Hakeem Jeffries

    United States Representative for New York’s Eighth Congressional District


    Serving his second term in the United States Congress, Representative Jeffries is a member of the House Judiciary and the House Education and the Workforce Committees, is Whip of the Congressional Black Caucus, and has emerged as a tireless advocate for social and economic justice.Born and raised in Brooklyn, Representative Jeffries graduated from the State University of New York and from NYU Law School, and clerked for the Honorable Harold Baer Jr. of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. He also practiced law for several years at both a renowned NYC law firm and as counsel for two Fortune 100 companies, and served for six years in the New York State Assembly.

    “Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
    — Harriet Tubman

    Cherie Jimenez

    Founder and Director, EVA Center, and Survivor


    Cherie Jimenez is the Founder and Director of the EVA Center, an exit program for prostituted women. Understanding that sex trafficking cannot be stamped out without addressing prostitution, Ms. Jimenez, along with other survivors and activists, is committed to ending prostitution and the dynamics of inequality that render so many woman and girls vulnerable to exploitation.


    “I have had the privilege of meeting and listening to the stories of hundreds of young women over the years at the EVA Center. Through them, I have learned how their life circumstances have worsened over these past decades and how our own failed policies and growing inequities have resulted in too many women and girls being victimized in a growing and more brutal sex trade. It’s totally unacceptable.”

    Yolanda Jimenez

    Executive Director, Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation, and former Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence


    At the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, Yolanda Jimenez oversees overall operations, including a school-based intervention program helping youth exposed to violence in their homes and communities. Prior to this role, Ms. Jimenez had served over twelve years in public service roles. She was appointed the first Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, where she established five Family Justice Centers that brought together community organizations, government agencies, and district attorneys’ offices to provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, elder abuse, and sex trafficking. Ms. Jimenez also served as Deputy Police Commissioner of Community Affairs at the New York City Police Department, and began her public service career at the City’s Fire Department.


    “The function of freedom is to free someone else.”

    – Toni Morrison

    Jaimee Johnson

    Survivor of Sexual Exploitation, Survivor Leader, and Advocate


    A survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Jaimee Johnson was sexually trafficked and under the control of a pimp for six years as a young adult. She was manipulated by a pimp, who capitalized on her vulnerability and lack of awareness about prostitution to sexually exploit her. Ms. Johnson wants to empower women to discover their dreams without the undue influence of a man or the media, and to remember that no young girl dreams of being a porn star or prostitute as an adult. She is now a survivor advocate and works with first responders.


    "Back then, I lived in captivity. Today, I stand in freedom. I want to use my freedom to empower and move others held in the same captivity to their own freedom. Self-love and empowerment does not come through men buying your body."

    Susan Johnson

    Survivor Advocate, Modern Day Abolitionist, Director and Co-Founder of Alabaster Jar Project and Churches Against Trafficking


    Susan Johnson is the founder of the Alabaster Jar Project, a residential rehabilitation program for survivors of trafficking and sexual exploitation. Her mission is to help restore, rehabilitate, and empower women who have been victimized and exploited. Ms. Johnson’s compassion for trafficked and exploited individuals stems from her own childhood of sexual and physical abuse as well as exposure to drug and gang subcultures growing up. Circumstances that left her highly vulnerable to being exploited stemmed from the need to be loved and valued and those needs being exploited.


    “Prostitution and trafficking are human rights issues, the core of which stems from not understanding our own worth as well as the lack of value society places on women. Prostitution is slavery. No little girl aspires to sell herself for sex. Girls have learned that their worth is tied into one aspect of themselves – their bodies. It produces a false sense of empowerment.”

    Ann Marie Jones​


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking and Peer Specialist, Dawn’s Place


    A survivor of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, Anne Marie Jones is now a Peer Specialist at Dawn's Place, a non-profit organization committed to improving the lives of women trapped by, or at risk for, commercial sexual exploitation, by providing them with housing, trauma recovery services, vocational training, and other services. As a peer specialist, Ms. Jones supports residents throughout their recovery process, using a program she specifically tailored to help those exiting prostitution. Given her own experience as a trafficking survivor, as a former resident of Dawn’s Place, and as a graduate of Philadelphia's First Judicial District's Project Dawn Court—a treatment court for women who have been sexually exploited and prostituted—she brings a unique and valued perspective to her work. Ms. Jones has dedicated her life to advocating against the exploitation and trafficking of women and girls and supporting other women through their recovery, and recently co-authored a book soon to be published entitled A Shield Against the Monster.


    “I now control my own life. Free to dream the dreams of being happy, joyous, and free.”

    Ebony Jones

    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Survivor Leader and Mentor, and Anti-Human Trafficking Consultant


    Ebony Jones is a survivor of sex trafficking and prostitution. She grew up in a home with domestic violence and alcoholism, her mother herself having survived prostitution. Ms. Jones was sexually and physically abused as a child and eventually placed in foster care. She is currently a full-time student and training a range of individuals and organizations on human trafficking as well as mentoring and advocating for girls and women who have been sexually exploited, using curriculums such as My Life, My Choice. She is passionate woman who believes her success is greater than her past experiences.


    “Prostitution is the choice of no choices. Is it really a choice if you have financial instability, have been abused, and/or feel undesirable? If you weigh the options of a person in prostitution, there is always an underlining reason for the choice of engaging in the life of prostitution, no matter your age. Transparency is the purest form of helping others. Don’t hide from your truth; everyone is a survivor of something. You can use your story to help many. One victim is one too many.”

    Grandville “Tom” Jones

    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Childhood Molestation, and Prostitution, Founder of the HOPE (Healing Outreach and Peer Empowerment) Project, and Advocate, Abolitionist, and Mentor


    Grandville “Tom” Jones was molested at age six and then sex trafficked until age 15 and briefly prostituted in his mid-20s. After processing the trauma and impact of his own exploitation, he founded the HOPE Project to create an open and safe space for men to talk about being sexually exploited and work through deep feelings of shame and secrecy to be able to begin healing. The HOPE Project’s mission is also to reduce the demand for sex trafficking.


    “For men to be a productive and healing element in society, we must address the deeply hidden mindsets and secrets we hold that prevent us from being such. Men’s expectation that they have a right to women’s bodies however and whenever they want it is wrong. Mutual respect is essential. If we do our part effectively, men can be our hugest ally in the fight against human trafficking. Human trafficking is 100 percent preventable.”

    Sarah Jones

    Playwright, Actor, and Poet


    Tony Award-winner Sarah Jones uses her many voices to shed light on issues of inequality. A UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, she has performed on stages from the White House to our nation’s prisons and hopes her new play, Sell/Buy/Date, focusing on issues of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking, will help motivate change.


    “If we are willing to fearlessly acknowledge that the buying and selling of any person anywhere devalues and endangers all people everywhere, if we are willing to hold ourselves accountable for the myth that trading in human lives is ‘inevitable,’ then we can awaken from the global, collective nightmare that is human trafficking.”

    Ashley Judd

    Actor, Activist, and Humanitarian


    Acclaimed actor, Ashley Judd, is a Golden Globe and Emmy Award nominee and a graduate of Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and PhD candidate at the University of California’s Goldman School of Public Policy. Partnering with various humanitarian organizations, Ms. Judd is also a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNFPA, a Global Ambassador for Population Services International and the Polaris Project, and an advisory board member of International Center for Research on Women, Apne Aap Worldwide, and Demand Abolition. Ms. Judd’s bestselling book, All That Is Bitter & Sweet, recounts her visits to grassroots programs in 13 countries.

    “Human beings are not for sale — at any age, for any purpose, under any circumstances, by anyone. It’s the abuses of authority and position that forces girls and women into prostitution as well as poverty, gender inequality, and lack of education. Let’s listen to survivors and use our voices to end sexual exploitation and abolish demand.”


    Survivor of Human Trafficking


    Justice is a survivor of trafficking from Mexico. After being forced into prostitution for years, Justice finally was able to escape. After finding her way to Sanctuary for Families, she has begun to use her voice to help bring attention to the issue of human trafficking and to help other victims escape exploitation and abuse, but continued threats and harassment cause her to live in constant fear and anxiety.

    “You made me feel like I wasn't worth anything and my tears fell at your feet. I used to look myself in the mirror and I couldn't find me. I was only what you wanted to see. I walked towards the door and I heard you yelling, but your chains can't stop me anymore. Now, I look out at the night and it is no longer dark, it is made of sequins!!!!!!”

    Siddharth Kara

    Lecturer, Author, and Activist, and Director of the Program on Human Trafficking, Harvard Kennedy School of Government


    Siddharth Kara is the Director of the Program on Human Trafficking at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the author of numerous books and articles on contemporary slavery, including "Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery," and "Bonded Labor: Tackling the System of Slavery in South Asia." Mr. Kara's first book has been made into a feature film, TRAFFICKED. Across years of research, He has traveled to more than forty countries on six continents to document the cases of several thousand slaves of all kinds. Mr. Kara has meticulously mapped global human trafficking networks, explored the perilous underground of trafficked sex slaves, and traced global supply chains of numerous commodities tainted by slavery and child labor.

    “Live simply, so that others may simply live.”

    — Gandhi

    Melinda Katz

    President, Borough of Queens, New York


    Melinda Katz has nearly 20 years of public service. She formerly served in the New York City Council and New York State Assembly, where she authored several hallmark pieces of legislation, which include requiring HMOs to provide direct access to critical gynecological services; tolling the statute of limitations for sexual abuse of children to age 18; and‎ Kendall’s Law, which helps prosecutors pursue cases of long-term, repeated child abuse. Ms. Katz is an attorney by trade with years of experience in the private industry, most recently at Greenberg Traurig LLP ‎and previously at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.


    “Government should be, at its core, the struggle for freedom for all people—freedom from economic chains, from oppression, to control one’s own body, and from enslavement. Together, we must pave the way.”

    Judge Judith Kaye

    Former Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of the State of New York


    Judge Judith Kaye served as the first woman judge, and then Chief Judge, of New York State's highest court. On the Court of Appeals, she not only gained a national reputation for groundbreaking decisions but also instituted reforms across the court system, including specialized domestic violence courts. Since joining the firm of Skadden Arps, her "passion project" focused on adolescents--keeping them in school and out of prison, leading to healthy, constructive lives. Judge Kaye died on January 6, 2016 at the age of 77 years old.


    "Having spent more than half a century in the law, I have seen firsthand the progress of our concept and system of justice, particularly in the area of gender bias and gender abuse. May commitment to equal dignity and equal opportunity, and an end to gender violence and exploitation, continue to define our nation and our world."

    Commissioner Raymond Kelly

    President of Risk Management Services, Cushman & Wakefield and Former New York City Police Commissioner

    Commissioner Ray Kelly’s role at Cushman & Wakefield follows 50 years of public service. He served twice as New York City Police Commissioner, where he oversaw a steep reduction in crime and established the first Counterterrorism Bureau of any municipal police department in the country. Commissioner Kelly’s career in public service includes serving as Vice President of Interpol from 1996 to 2000, Commissioner of the U.S. Customs Service, and Undersecretary of Enforcement at the U.S. Treasury Department.


    “Women, many of them minors, are often dragooned into prostitution from impoverished circumstances overseas and domestically, with empty promises of legitimate employment. They are often threatened, brutalized, and too frightened to report abuses to police. We hope to change that and, at the same time, bring the worst traffickers to justice and give them maximum jail time.”



    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Advocate

    A survivor of domestic sex trafficking, Kenya escaped through fortitude and perseverance and is now pursuing a college degree and advocating for improved laws in New York State. She is a leader fighting for her brothers and sisters who are still being exploited.


    “It’s impossible to describe the experience of being owned by someone else, but what I can tell you is that I will work tirelessly for the rest of my life to stop other people from having to experience what I did.”



    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Advocate

    Kika was a champion of the campaign that led to the passage of New York State’s first anti-trafficking laws. Since then, she has continued to speak out locally and globally. After one groundbreaking presentation at the side of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, she was congratulated by him for her courage.


    “I am standing up not only for myself but for all survivors. I want New York to strengthen its laws to help women going through trafficking to rebuild their lives and also to punish pimps and customers.”


    Billy King

    Former General Manager, Brooklyn Nets

    As General Manager, Billy King oversaw all aspects of basketball operations for the Brooklyn Nets until January, 2016. He joined the Nets after spending ten years with the Philadelphia 76ers organization serving as the team’s President from 2003 to 2007. Sports Illustrated named Mr. King one of the “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports,” a list that included “men and women that are reshaping the sports industry and opening doors through which others will follow.” Mr. King served as a General Manager of Team Africa for the NBA Africa game in 2015 in support of Basketball Without Borders. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


    “Never delegate. Always empower.”
    — Mike Krzyzewski

    Judge Judy Harris Kluger

    Executive Director, Sanctuary for Families

    Judge Judy Kluger is the Executive Director of Sanctuary for Families, the leading non-profit organization dedicated to serving domestic violence and sex trafficking victims in New York State. She previously served as Chief of Policy and Planning for the New York State Court System. In addition to overseeing all of the state’s problem-solving courts, Judge Kluger was responsible for the implementation of the Integrated Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking Intervention Courts.


    “The prolonged slavery of women is the darkest page in human history.”
    — Elizabeth Cady Stanton


    Amanda Kramer

    Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York

    Since 2008, Amanda Kramer has been an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorneys’ Office for the Southern District of New York, where she serves as the office’s Human Trafficking Coordinator. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Advanced Trial Advocacy at Fordham Law School. In 2015, Ms. Kramer received the Top Prosecutor Award from Women in Federal Law Enforcement for her work on human trafficking.


    “Never are courage, strength, patience, and conviction on better display than by survivors of human trafficking. The fight against this terrible crime calls for prosecutors, law enforcement, and advocates to match and mirror those virtues on behalf of the victims we meet and the so many others we never will.”



    Survivor and Advocate


    Kristine was trafficked at age 15 after becoming involved with a group of teenagers engaged in drugs and prostitution. In her youth, she felt that she was not capable of making good decisions and that nobody was protecting her. Her trafficker was violent and threatened her life. Kristine exited the sex trade with the help of a detective. She now works as a legal assistant.


    “Survivors of trafficking have been oppressed long enough. You can only silence one for so long and they will come back with plenty of things to say and advocate for others. The movement is becoming more collaborative and one day my hope is that we will be one echo not just for us, but for generations to come.”

    Jennifer L. Kroman

    Director of Pro Bono Practice, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, LLP and Sanctuary for Families Board Member


    As the director of the pro bono program at the international law firm Cleary Gottlieb, Jennifer Kroman regularly represents individuals who are subjected to gendered-based violence, including sex trafficking. In 2014, she was honored by the New York Law Journal as a “Lawyer Who Leads By Example” for this work. Ms. Kroman frequently speaks on the interwoven legal needs of trafficking survivors.


    “With every client, I learn to listen better and think harder about the complex needs of those living in the throes and aftermath of trafficking. As a society, we can — and we must — do better for these courageous individuals, even as we work together to eradicate human trafficking once and for all.”


    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Activist and Educator


    Kyler grew up in an upper middle class family in South Dakota. He was trafficked as a teenager, but was finally able to escape his exploiters, who had attempted to kill him and threatened the lives of his parents.

    "I want America to know that Americans are being sex-trafficked! If I could prevent one more child from becoming a victim—or inspire even one victim to find the courage to seek help-- then I did what I came here for! It's time never again to be silent! I’m here to tell you that this can happen to anyone – including boys. My buyers were husbands and fathers who had good careers-- "straight” married men. I had everything taken away from me – my innocence and a healthy adolescence. As a survivor, I want you to know that you are loved and that you can survive whatever situation you are in!"

    Gara LaMarche

    President, The Democracy Alliance

    Gara LaMarche, President of the Democracy Alliance, has spent his 40-year career in leadership positions in human rights and social justice organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch, the Open Society Foundations, and Atlantic Philanthropies.


    “All across the spectrum from mainstream magazine covers to high-end cocktail bars to porn videos, women are objectified and commoditized. This will change primarily through the empowerment of women and girls—through their insistence on a different world—but it won’t change fast enough, or thoroughly enough, until more and more men renounce the dominant culture—and do it visibly.”


    Imam Khalid Latif

    Executive Director and Chaplain, The Islamic Center at New York University


    Through his work at the Islamic Center at New York University, Imam Khalid Latif has begun to carve out a space for young American Muslims to celebrate their unique identity and have their voices heard in the larger public sphere. A staunch advocate of human rights and social justice, Imam Latif has been recognized and awarded for his writings, sermons, and activism on forced marriage in the Muslim community, as well as for raising funds and awareness for survivors.

    “I am only one but still I am one. I cannot do everything but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.”


    — Helen Keller

    Jimmy Lee

    Executive Director, Restore NYC

    Before becoming Executive Director of Restore NYC, an organization dedicated to ending sex trafficking, Jimmy Lee was a leader in the global effort to reduce HIV/AIDS among women and girls. He was also Director of Strategic Planning and Business Analysis at American Express, Director of Strategic Initiatives at World Vision, an investment banker at J.P. Morgan, and a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs.


    “My mom was a poor young woman who came to this country and was able to find freedom, hope, and the opportunity to build a life that fulfilled her deepest longings. That is what our country is about. Every girl and woman who steps foot into our country, into this great city of New York, deserves what she was able to find.”


    Larry Lee

    Executive Director, New York Asian Women’s Center

    Larry Lee is Executive Director of the New York Asian Women’s Center, which serves Asian victims of gender-based violence throughout New York City. Its anti-trafficking initiative, Project Free, uses Mr. Lee’s Asian culturally inspired model of practice, Moving Ahead Positively. This innovative model honors the survivor’s experience and power of self-determination to heal from the trauma of abuse and achieve an independent life of her own creation.


    “Labor and sex trafficking assaults the personhood and sense of self-worth of the survivor. If we are complicit in buying trafficked goods or services then we too lose our dignity. We must embrace survivors and, as community members, be more responsible, and end the exploitation of each other for the sake of convenience or profit.”

    Dorchen Leidholdt

    Director, Sanctuary for Families’ Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services


    Dorchen Leidholdt is the Director of Sanctuary for Families’ Center for Battered Women’s Legal Services, the largest legal services program dedicated to victims of domestic violence, human trafficking, and gender-based violence in the country. Ms. Leidholdt co-founded the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women in 1998 and the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition in 2005. She teaches at Columbia Law School and is co-editor of Lawyer’s Manual on Human Trafficking: Pursuing Justice for Victims.


    “I appeal to you, my friends, as mothers: are you willing to enslave your children? You stare back with horror and indignation at such questions. But why, if slavery is not wrong to those upon whom it is imposed?”

    — Angelina Grimké

    Téa Leoni

    Actress, Producer, Goodwill Ambassador, and National Board Member of the United States Fund for UNICEF


    Since 2014, Téa Leoni has played the lead role in the television series, Madam Secretary, after starring in numerous other sitcoms including, Flying Blind and The Naked Truth, and in the films Bad Boys, Deep Impact, The Family Man, Jurassic Park III, Fun with Dick and Jane, Spanglish, and Tower Heist. Following in the footsteps of her grandmother, who was Co-Founder and President of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for 25 years, and her father, who served as Board Chair of the U.S. Fund, Ms. Leon serves as both a Goodwill Ambassador and National Board Member of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. In 2007, she received the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award for service on behalf of the world's most vulnerable children.


     “There is no greater cause than making the world fit for children.”

    U.S. Representative John Lewis

    United States Representative for Georgia's Fifth Congressional District, Civil Rights Leader, and Author


    A sharecropper’s son who grew up in segregated Alabama, Congressman John Lewis served as the chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, helped organize and serve as keynote speaker at the historic 1963 March on Washington, and played many key roles in the Civil Rights Movement. First elected to the House in 1986, Congressman Lewis serves as Senior Chief Deputy Whip for the Democratic Party in the House and is a member of the House Ways & Means Committee and is the recipient of numerous eminent awards, including the Medal of Freedom, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Non-Violent Peace Prize, and the John F. Kennedy "Profile in Courage Award" for Lifetime Achievement.


    "Human trafficking is one of the greatest human rights tragedies of our age, with more individuals living in forced labor today than during the entire period of the trans-Atlantic slave trade."


    Survivor of Human Trafficking

    Liberty’s employers promised that if she worked as their nanny, they would pay a good salary and send her to college. Instead, she was a slave in their home, made to work round the clock with little sleep and survive on the leftover scraps of food she cooked for them. Liberty escaped with the help of members of a local church and, in turn, has helped liberate other enslaved domestic workers.

    “When I was imprisoned by my employers, all I wanted was the chance to pursue my education. Now I am attending college, and I made a poster for a class presentation on human trafficking. No one in my class knows that I was a slave, not even my professor. When I graduate, I want to become an international human rights activist. No matter how powerful a person is, no one has the right to oppress another human being.”


    Judge Jonathan Lippman

    Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals of the State of New York

    Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman has educated judges throughout New York State about the harm of human trafficking and the needs of victims and survivors. In 2013, he established the Human Trafficking Intervention Courts across New York State, creating the nation’s first statewide system of dedicated court parts designed to intervene in the lives of trafficked human beings and to help them break the cycle of exploitation and arrest.


    “In cases involving human trafficking, New York’s courts see the injustice of human beings—from halfway across the world and from our own backyards—who have been subjected to horrific abuse and victimized in the worst possible way. I am proud to say our courts are taking a leadership role in responding to this terrible scourge on our society.”


    Rabbi Haskel Lookstein

    Senior Rabbi, Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun


    Rabbi Haskel Lookstein has been the Rabbi of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun since 1958 and Principal of the Ramaz School since 1966. He is a Professor of Homiletics at Yeshiva University, where he has been teaching since 1979, and serves as a Vice President of the Beth Din of America. Rabbi Lookstein is also a Commissioner of the New York City Human Rights Commission.


    “A non-Jew approached Hillel and asked him to define Judaism’s essence while standing on one foot. Hillel responded: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor; the rest is commentary . . . .”


    — Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat, 31A

    Damita Love

    Survivor of Prostitution


    Prior to entering prostitution at age 23, Damita Love was in the United States Army Reserve and was a farm analyst for a city assessor’s office. In “the life” for 26 years, she suffered numerous hardships, including losing her children and going to jail. She also spent time in drug treatment programs and mental health facilities. Working to change her life for her young granddaughter, whose growing up she wanted to be an essential part of, she has been sober and out of “the life” for five years.


    “The struggle is real and it’s scary. It is like dancing with the devil; it takes your soul away if you allow it.”

    Dr. Jennifer Lovenstein


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Pharmacist, Writer, and Advocate


    Dr. Jennifer Lovenstein was trafficked by her father, a truck driver, at the age of six, following her parents’ divorce. When visiting him, he would take her to truck stops and portray her as a runaway and a “lot lizard.” She escaped “the life" at the age of 18, and began a successful career as a pharmacist. Dr. Lovenstein is now an advocate against human trafficking, and is writing about her experiences being trafficked.


    “For the first part of my life, I was treated as if my life had no worth because I was a female. People could do anything they wanted to me, no matter how brutal or shocking it would seem to the rest of the world. The trucking industry has tolerated and supported prostitution for too long. I spent most of my life terrified of talking about my experiences. I want to use my voice to help others find theirs.”

    Richard Lui

    News Anchor, MSNBC and NBC News, Spokesperson, UN Women HeForShe, Ambassador, Not For Sale, and Board of Advisors, Annie Cannons


    Richard Lui is a thought leader at the intersection of media, social impact, and storytelling. As a journalist, he first engaged the anti-human trafficking community through stories. His first was an undercover report on underground, underage brothels broadcast on CNN International. Most recently, Mr. Lui anchored an MSNBC cable network segment on supply chain labor slavery. He also leverages his voice outside of journalism, taking his activism to universities, national conventions, businesses, and policy-making bodies domestic and foreign.

    “It is important to understand the complexity and sensitivities behind human trafficking stories, and then tell them in understandable ways and in ways that help survivors. One way to achieve that is for storytellers to take on strategic roles in anti-modern slavery organizations as ambassadors, board members, or as abolitionists.”

    Megan Lundstrom​


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Founder and Director of Free Our Girls


    Megan Lundstrom became pregnant at 18. Instead of going off to college on the full-ride scholarship she received, she married her child’s father. After having her second child, she escaped the abusive alcoholic her husband had become. Financially and emotionally vulnerable, she was seduced by a charismatic man promising love but who turned out to be a pimp. Forced by him into “the life,” Ms. Lundstrom was threatened with violence when she tried to leave him. She finally escaped in 2012 and has since earned a BS in Finance and founded Free Our Girls, an organization using groundbreaking research to serve those in the process of finding their freedom. A writer, consultant, and steering committee member for Larimer County’s CSEC High-Risk Intervention Team, Ms. Lundstrom dedicates her life's work to preventing and responding to commercial sexual exploitation.


    “There is no choice when there are no options."

    Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch

    Attorney General of the United States


    Loretta E. Lynch was sworn in as the 83rd Attorney General of the United States by Vice President Joe Biden on April 27, 2015. Former Attorney General Lynch has dedicated her career to justice in public service, including performing pro bono work for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, established to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations in the 1994 genocide in that country.


    “Human trafficking, appropriately described as modern-day slavery, has no place in this nation.”

    Marti MacGibbon​


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Inspirational Speaker and Humorist, Author, and Certified Mental Health Professional


    Marti MacGibbon survived and triumphed over adolescent sexual assault, domestic violence, human trafficking, complex PTSD, addiction, and homelessness. An expert on trauma resolution and addiction recovery, she holds five professional certifications in her specialized field. She is also a renowned speaker and humorist, and the author of two nationally award-winning memoirs: Never Give in to Fearand Fierce, Funny, and Female. Ms. MacGibbon uses her personal story, clinical expertise, and comedic skill to entertain, educate, uplift, and motivate audiences. She received the 2015 IAIC Lifetime Recovery Advocate Award for outstanding accomplishments in support of recovery, and reducing the stigma surrounding addiction, mental illness, homelessness, and human trafficking.


    “It’s empowering to realize that the happiness you experience today is because of, not in spite of, the things you’ve overcome. Recovery from trauma involves self-acceptance and healing. The first step in recovery is finding safe places, both physically and psychologically. Safe housing for survivors is crucial.”

    The Reverend Sally N. MacNichol and Quentin Walcott

    Co-Executive Directors, CONNECT (Safe Families/Peaceful Communities)

    The Reverend Dr. Sally MacNichol has been a feminist anti-violence activist, educator, and organizer since 1984. She is committed to community-based strategies grounded in prevention, intervention, and healing. Dr. MacNichol leads a multifaith initiative to address intimate partner violence. Quentin Walcott, an award-winning activist, supports communities worldwide to redefine manhood and build societies that embrace equality and mutuality and reject violence. His work over the past 19 years has focused on motivating men and boys to become allies and activists against gender-based violence.


    “Our shared leadership reflects the belief that men and women must work in partnership to prevent and end all forms of violence and exploitation.”

    U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney

    United States Representative for New York’s 12th Congressional District

    A longstanding leader and passionate champion in the fight against sex trafficking, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney co-chairs the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus, where among her many achievements, she has secured bipartisan support for legislation to curb the demand for sex trafficking by targeting pimps and johns. She also introduced the Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking Deterrence and Victim Support bill, which takes a multi-disciplinary approach to shutting down child trafficking in the United States.


    “Tragically, trafficking is still a cruel, brutal, widespread, and inescapable reality that dominates the lives of millions; and the practice of enslaving children in sexual trafficking represents the worst of the worst.”



    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Student


    When Marie was a young teenager, she was forced to flee her home in Brooklyn. One night, she was kidnapped by a pimp and forced into prostitution. For nearly 20 years, Marie was prostituted by several violent pimps who threatened to kill her and her family if she did obey their every demand. Marie has become an advocate and leader, striving to educate her community about the raw reality of prostitution.


    “Many of the girls on the street are young teenagers. That’s not what they want to do at that age. It’s not something any woman or girl wants to do. You live in hotels and travel from city to city, having no freedom, no cash, and being brutally beaten. They control your mind, your body, and your soul. Pimps teach you not to trust anyone, but you must find at least one person you can trust to get help.”


    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Student


    At the age of 17, after running away from home to leave a difficult family situation, Marisabel was sexually trafficked for three years. She was pulled into “the life” by a couple who took her in after she left home. A mother to a one-year old son, Marisabel is studying for her General Education Degree (GED).


    “I would want to tell girls who may be in the situation I was in to not let their circumstances get the best of them. It definitely wears out your body and drains you physically and emotionally. You are working 24/7. Each person you are forced to be with emotionally drains you. People come in and it never satisfies you emotionally. It is a dangerous and violent life. It changes you completely.”

    New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito

    Speaker of the New York City Council and Council Member from the 8th District

    A Puerto Rican native and graduate of Columbia and Baruch Universities, Melissa Mark-Viverito is the first Latina Speaker of the New York City Council. In her leadership role, Speaker Mark-Viverito spearheads policies to protect vulnerable populations and uplift New Yorkers in all five boroughs. First elected as Council member in 2003 to represent East Harlem, Speaker Mark-Viverito has supported legislation to combat sex trafficking in New York City, launched the nation’s first Young Women’s Initiative to tackle gender inequality, and has earmarked nearly a million dollars in funding to assist survivors of human trafficking.


    “Human trafficking has no place in our city and in our world. No one should be exploited and deprived of their freedom. It is our collective responsibility to end this abominable crime now.”

    Curtis Martin Jr.

    Former NFL Running Back for the New England Patriots and New York Jets and Entrepreneur


    Raised by a single mother in the rough neighborhoods of Pittsburgh, Curtis Martin had a challenging childhood. He joined his high school football team as a senior at his mother’s insistence, to keep him away from the violence in his neighborhood which had already led to the brutal murders of both his grandmother and several close friends. A natural athlete, Mr. Martin became an immediate star and went on to become a legendary NFL running back who played for both the New England Patriots and New York Jets. After 11 years playing professional football, Mr. Martin retired in 2006 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. Today, Mr. Martin is a successful entrepreneur and generous philanthropist.

    "We all must account for our actions or inaction one day."

    Rowena Mathews


    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Prostitution and Mentor

    Rowena Mathews is a survivor of years of childhood sexual abuse and displacement from her family home after her stepfather molested her at six year old and her mother, involved in prostitution and drug addiction, lost custody of her. At 18, her mother introduced her to crack cocaine and prostitution. Her life was filled with violence, drugs, prostitution, and homelessness. After a lifetime of trauma and exploitation, Ms. Mathew’s found guidance and support at Breaking Free and is now a mentor to other vulnerable women and girls.

    "It took me until I was almost 30 years old to realize that its not right for a man to sexually abuse you, to make you do anything you don't want to do. It should be consensual. It should never be forced. It's sad that I'm learning that at my age, but at least I know that today. My story hurts. It's the truth that sets me free."

    Brendale McAfee

    Survivor of Prostitution and Addiction and Staff, Dawn’s Place


    Tortured so severely in prostitution that she almost lost her life, Brendale McAfee is now 60 years old and working at Dawn’s Place, the organization that helped her exit the sex trade and reclaim her life. Ms. McAfee began using drugs at 12 years old and entered the sex trade to support her addiction. She now supports girls and women who receive help as she had through Dawn’s Place.

    “A lot of the women out there are asking for help and need help. When in prostitution, I felt scared to go home and face my mom, son, brothers, and sisters. I hid outside because the choices I made had made me feel dirty and used, but I really hurt my family by not coming home. I would tell girls to NOT go there. I lived through it and it’s not safe for a young person out there. Stay in school and learn as much as you can!”

    Tammy McDonnell​


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking and Survivor Advocate, Covenant House


    Raised in a family where there was active drug and alcohol addiction, Tammy McDonnell was molested as a child. Drug addiction led her out into the streets, where she was lured into a job ostensibly to answer phones in a body shop but was instead sold out to men for sex. Further exploitation and homelessness followed, but eventually Ms. McDonnell found help at an all-women's rehab program. Today, Ms. McDonnell helps others escape "the life" as a Survivor Advocate at Covenant House, while also serving as a fierce legislative advocate, public speaker, and mentor to those exiting prostitution.


    “People look at people in prostitution as worthless human beings, whereas I see a possible future of success, beauty, and inspiration. I see me! It’s critical not to make judgments when you don’t know what kind of extraordinary struggles someone has undergone and what they are going through. Showing compassion and kindness is essential.”

    Robert McDuffie



    Grammy Award-nominated violinist Robert McDuffie is a soloist but can also be found sharing the stage with Gregg Allman, Chuck Leavell, Anna Deavere Smith, and Li’l Buck. Philip Glass dedicated his second violin concerto, The American Four Seasons, to Mr. McDuffie. Mr. McDuffie is the founder of the Rome Chamber Music Festival in Italy and the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings at Mercer University in his native city of Macon, Georgia.


    “I moved to New York alone as a teenager, which is tough even with support. Being a father and a teacher, I believe our prime responsibility is to keep our kids—all kids everywhere—safe. No woman, girl, boy, or man should suffer for someone else's sickness.”



    Survivor of Sex Trafficking and Advocate


    Happily married now for 37 years and a proud mother to five sons also committed to social justice, Megan has overcome extraordinary misfortune. Heavily medicated during her childhood for epilepsy, she also lost her father when she was 12 years old, which destabilized her family. Beginning on her 14th birthday, Megan was trafficked by a violent and abusive older classmate. Believing her trafficker’s threats to harm her family if she spoke out, Megan stayed silent about her abuse both in school and at home. Her trafficker also alienated her from her mother by convincing her that only he could protect her. Only after coming out of a coma resulting from a terrible accident did Megan decide to speak out about her experiences, and begin the process of healing.


    “I haven’t spoken to people who ‘choose’ this life, or see it as an aspiration. People often feel worthless, and that this is their only value. Once trafficked, you don’t feel like there are other options after being bought and sold.”


    Nomonde Mihlali “Mickey” Meji


    Survivor of Prostitution and Program Associate for Survivor Initiatives, Embrace Dignity


    Mickey Meji is a South African feminist, human rights advocate, gender activist, and an unapologetic abolitionist. Having survived the harmful system of prostitution, she became an advocate for its eradication.


    “I envision a world where no women or girl is brought, sold, or exploited. I envision an African continent abolitionist movement and I will make this happen. My vision today of a prostitution free South Africa is like Mandela’s apartheid free South African in 1960. Seems impossible but very possible. I will not rest until I have won South African women and girls the fundamental rights to freedom, justice, security, equality, and dignity! Aluta Continua!”

    Ambassador Sarah E. Mendelson

    U.S. Representative to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Scholar, and Author


    Sworn in to her post in October 2015 as U.S. Representative on the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, Ambassador Mendelson has spent over two decades working on development, democracy, and human rights as a scholar and practitioner both inside and outside of government. Prior to her appointment as Ambassador, she previously served as a deputy assistant administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development and was the agency lead on combating human trafficking. She also served as senior adviser and inaugural director of the Human Rights Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies which has been her intellectual home for many years. Ambassador Mendelson is the author of over 70 scholarly publications. She received her BA from Yale University and her PhD from Columbia University.


    "With so much money being made and so many people involved, it is disheartening that the movement to end modern-day slavery has not yet reached a tipping point. I am hopeful the Global Goals that the international community signed on to in 2015 present an enormous opportunity to grow the movement."

    Mentari Group: Ima Matul, Randall Roca, and Christopher Heuertz

    A former New York Police Department homicide detective, an Indonesian survivor of domestic labor trafficking to the United States, and a born-and-raised Midwestern career activist have teamed together to launch Mentari Human Trafficking Survivor Empowerment Program, a survivor network for survivors by survivors.


    “Through our work in Mentari, we have come across a lot of people who want to give themselves for the fight for freedom—but we know that if you want to join this cause then fighting for freedom will inevitably cost some of your own freedoms. There is a price and in the world we live, sadly freedom isn’t free. But we press into hope, allowing that to fuel our imagination for a better world for all.”

    Tiffany Mester

    Overcomer of Human Trafficking, Educator and Public Speaker. Residential Youth Treatment Center Counselor, and Director, Hidden Treasures Foundation


    Tiffany Mester grew up in a neglectful and abusive home, leaving her with no sense of her own value or love for herself and providing her with a poor foundation for a secure sense of identity. Her older sister introduced to her first pimp after convincing her to run away with her when she was just 14 years old. She was trafficked for 2 years in Arizona and Southern California where she was arrested placed in a juvenile hall. After being released, Ms. Mester completed her GED and went to college. She now works extensively with survivors and educates the public about human trafficking.


    “Prostitution is not a victimless crime! There is so much trauma associated with these girls before entering prostitution and, because there is such a deep background of abuse in these women’s lives, there is no way it can be a victimless crime.”

    Alexi Ashe Meyers and Seth Meyers

    Staff Attorney, Sanctuary For Families; Comedian, Writer, and Television Host


    Alexi Ashe Meyers is a staff attorney at Sanctuary For Families and a human rights advocate. Until recently, she was an Assistant District Attorney in the Human Trafficking Unit at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office in New York. Formerly a head writer and actor on Saturday Night Live and host of the show’s news segment, Weekend Update, Emmy Award-winner Seth Meyers currently hosts the talk show Late Night with Seth Meyers.


    “I don't feel like I can change the world. I don't even try. I only want to change this small life that I see standing in front of me, which is suffering.”


    — Somaly Mam

    Jessica Minhas

    CEO and Founder, I’ll Go First


    Jessica Minhas is a social justice advocate, speaker, writer, and the founder of I’ll Go First, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing mental health and wellness resources for abuse and trauma survivors around the world. She works internationally and domestically in the field of sex trafficking survivor advocacy and empowerment—a pursuit borne from passion. Everything Ms. Minhas does is colored by a commitment to shed light on issues normally silenced in shame and offer hope to those without it.


    “I believe that where your story begins doesn't have to be where it ends. There is hope, healing, and redemption for all of us. The true power of abolition work is unlocking that for everyone.”

    Kathleen Mitchell

    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Founder, DIGNITY House


    Nearly 30 years ago, Kathleen Mitchell started the first program for prostituted women in a county jail. She worked as the Program Director for Catholic Charities, creating programs and providing outreach services to prostituted and trafficked women and youth. Ms. Mitchell opened the first long-term transitional house for women exiting prostitution and created a diversion program as an alternative to jail for women arrested on charges of prostitution. She has sat on trafficking taskforce boards and received awards for her work. She is a member of the Survivor Leadership Institute of GEMS and a past Board President of Breaking Free.


    “My life has been to provide a path for women and children to escape prostitution and sex trafficking. It’s essential to know that what we did is not who we are. I want survivors to be kind to themselves, forgive themselves, and know that this is not about who they are but what others have done TO them.”

    Luz Towns-Miranda and Lin-Manuel Miranda

    Psychologist; Composer, Lyricist, and Actor


    Dr. Luz Towns-Miranda has practiced psychology for 30 years since earning her Ph.D. and postdoctoral degrees from NYU. She has served as a psychologist at a therapeutic nursery and children’s clinic at Bronx Lebanon Hospital and trained physicians in the Family Practice Residencies both there and at the Montefiore Medical Center. She evaluated and treated foster care children and was Firehouse Clinician following 9/11. She has conducted custody and visitation evaluations for over 20 years, and serves on the State Board of Psychology. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winning composer, lyricist, and actor. His musical In the Heights received four Tony Awards and a Grammy Award and he won an Emmy Award as lyricist of the 2013 Tony Awards opening number. Mr. Miranda is a 2015 MacArthur Fellow. He appears in the lead role of his Broadway musical Hamilton, for which he created the book, music, and lyrics and won a 2016 Pulitzer Prize.

    “There but for the grace of God go I.”

    Pat Mitchell

    Founder, POWStrategies

    After serving as President and CEO of the Paley Center, Pat Mitchell is now its Senior Advisor. With decades of experience as a media executive, including as the first woman President and CEO of PBS and President of CNN Productions, and as a journalist and producer, Ms. Mitchell uses media as a force for social change, emphasizing women and media. She Co-Chairs the Women’s Media Center Board, chairs the Sundance Institute, and serves on the Boards of Acumen Fund and AOL. She is also Editorial Director and host of the annual TEDWomen conference.

    “Whether or not the rise in sex trafficking is a response to a culture that condones sex for money, that objectifies women and girls, that plays into vulnerabilities resulting from poverty, homelessness, and abuse in the home, it is a reality and will not end without you.”

    Elisa Morales

    Executive Director, Spanish Action League of Onondaga County, Inc. ("La Liga")

    Elisa Morales is the former Spokesperson for the Central New York Anti-Trafficking Task Force and the Safe Harbor Initiative of Onondaga County, New York. A survivor of domestic and sexual violence, she learned the hard way that some of the most beautiful things emerge from the ugliest of situations. Ms. Morales believes that we were not put on this earth to see through each other, but rather to see each other through. Fighting trafficking—one person at a time—she moves mountains when someone’s freedom is at stake.


    “Modern-day slavery does exist. The invisible people walk amongst us every day. I have the honor of crossing paths with them to let them know that there is help and hope.”


    Rachel Moran

    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Prostitution, Author, Journalist, and Activist


    Rachel Moran is an Irish women’s rights activist, journalist, bestselling author of Paid For – My Journey Through Prostitution, and original founding member of SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse Calling for Enlightenment). She was homeless at fourteen-years old and then prostituted on the streets and in the brothels of Ireland for seven years. Ms. Moran works with survivors from across seven nations through SPACE International in collaboration with the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Equality Now, the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution, Demand Abolition, the European Women’s Lobby, Turn Off the Red Light campaign, Apne Aap, and Stand Against Sexual Exploitation. She has spoken in over twenty countries about the human rights violations inherent to the global sex trade and advocates for the Nordic Model.


    “Buying your way inside someone else’s body is a pathological act.”

    Tonya Morris

    Survivor of “The Life” and Mentor, My Life, My Choice


    Raised in an impoverished neighborhood and having experienced hardship growing up, Tonya Morris now uses the knowledge and wisdom she gained from her experiences to mentor vulnerable teenager girls.

    “I am a strong woman with a passion to help girls find their strength. Strength to me is using your voice to say how you feel and what you believe. It’s finding out who you are and following your dreams. During the most painful part of my life, while I was being exploited, my inner strength kept me fighting and believing in myself. Strength comes from within – using what you’ve been through to make you stronger. I want to be an inspiration to girls and inspire them to do bigger and better things.“


    Audrey Morrissey

    Survivor of Prostitution, Associate Director, My Life My Choice, and Former Vice Chair, Survivor Services Task Forc


    Audrey Morrissey was the first survivor in Massachusetts to mentor commercially sexually exploited girls. In 2003, she developed survivor-led programs with My Life My Choice to help prevent the exploitation of vulnerable young girls. She also co-authored My Life My Choice’s nationally-recognized exploitation prevention curriculum currently in use in 29 states. She was a 2008 recipient of the prestigious Petra Foundation Fellowship and a 2012 Boston Neighborhood Fellow. As Vice Chair of the Survivor Services Task Force, Ms. Morrissey reported to the Massachusetts Human Trafficking Task Force chaired by Attorney General Martha Coakley.


    "People still do not know that vulnerable children in our own backyard are targeted, coerced, and manipulated into the commercial sex industry every day. We are not only fighting a billion dollar illegal sex industry, but also a society with its eyes closed."

    Stacey Morse

    Former Senior Vice President, Lehman Brothers

    A retired Senior Vice President at Lehman Brothers, Stacey Morse has held volunteer leadership roles in numerous not-for-profit organizations, including the School of American Ballet, the Hong Kong Ballet Company, Habitat for Humanity, and the Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter. She is also a Board Member of Tuft University’s College of Engineering and the Center for Engineering Education Outreach.


    “Violence is inherent in the sex industry. Numerous studies show that between 70 percent and 90 percent of children and women who end up in the commercial sex industry were sexually abused prior to entry. No other industry is dependent upon a regular supply of victims of trauma and abuse.”


    — Rachel Lloyd

    Joel Motley

    Co-Chair, Board of Directors of Human Rights Watch


    A financier and an attorney, Joel Motley is a Managing Director of Public Capital Advisors LLC, where he provides advice on capital markets and infrastructure to emerging markets. Prior to investment banking, Mr. Motley served as Chief of Staff to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan in New York City and surrounding counties. He is a Board Member of the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting and a Vestryman of Trinity Wall Street.


    “Ending the abuse of trafficking will take the same determination the 19th century abolitionists found."

    Veronica Munguia

    Survivor of Sex Trafficking and Activist


    Raised on a ranch in Mexico with no running water or electricity and giving birth to twin girls in 10th grade, Veronica Munguia’s difficult childhood also included witnessing the brutal abuse of her mother by her grandfather and learning that her mother was being prostituted. Ms. Munguia herself was prostituted, after being trafficked to the United States, in a “massage parlor,” where she was held in a small room, where men came for sex while she was kept drugged, with only a mattress, a bucket of water, and towels as creature comforts. Only when jailed on an unrelated charge was she able to escape by informing authorities that she had been trafficked. In exchange for her cooperation, Ms. Munguia avoided deportation.


    “I came from the shadows into the light. It is all very disturbing but eventually I was able to talk about it and ended up finding freedom.”

    Bradley Myles


    CEO of Polaris


    Bradley Myles is the CEO of Polaris, a global leader in the fight to eradicate human trafficking and restore freedom to survivors. After working in the anti-trafficking arena since 2002, Mr. Myles helped launch Polaris's U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline (1-888-373-7888), a 24/7 operation that has identified and responded to more than 40,000 cases of human trafficking nationwide since 2007. Mr. Myles is currently focusing his efforts on Polaris’s future strategy, which includes working towards better anti-trafficking hotline coverage globally and undertaking new data-driven intervention efforts targeted towards eliminating specific types of modern slavery in the U.S. and worldwide. He is the 2017 recipient of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

    "With the right strategy, and the right partnerships, this movement can end this crime in our lifetimes."


    Survivor of Prostitution and Sexual Exploitation and Nurse Practitioner and Singer


    Naomi was prostituted at 21 years old after a childhood of sexual exploitation. She glamorized “the life” but knew that it was also damaging. Naomi believes that when you are treated a certain way your whole life then you are conditioned as a young girl to be a target to exploiters. When she entered the sex trade, she thought she was making a choice. She realized that “choice” was based off of life experiences involving exploitation. Naomi left the sex trade after 15 years and eventually earned her nurse practitioner’s degree.

    “It has taken 15 years of healing to recover and be a woman in this world without needing a man to approve of me. I would tell young girls to never feel like they have to please someone when your heart tells you different.”

    Santiago Perez Navarro

    Labor Trafficking Survivor


    Santiago Perez Navarro came to United States from Mexico seeking a better life for himself and his family. His horrifically abusive employer, however, forced him to work 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week, often without pay, made him have sex with her, and forced him to go to a “witch doctor,” where he was shown horrific animal sacrifices and told, “if you don’t obey everything that I ask you to do, this will happen to you as well.” Mr. Perez Navarro felt helpless, scared, and lost. After three years in servitude, with the help of CSA San Diego County and the FBI, he finally escaped and today has a working visa.

    "I don't want anyone else to suffer what I suffered. Working together, we can accomplish anything we want because this is what makes us stronger."

    Liam Neeson



    Liam Neeson is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. He has appeared in over 70 films including Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, Neil Jordan’s biopic Michael Collins, the blockbuster Taken trilogy, Joe Carnahan's The Grey, Bill Condon’s biopic Kinsey, Bille August's Les Misérables, George Lucas' Star Wars Episodes 1, Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins, Richard Curtis' Love Actually, and Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York. Neeson can be next seen re-teaming with Martin Scorsese on Silence and in JA Bayona's A Monster Calls. He is a proud father of two sons.


    “Slavery is founded in the selfishness of man's nature – opposition to it, in his love of justice.”

    – Abraham Lincoln

    Jessica Neuwirth

    Founder, Equality Now and Donor Direct Action

    Jessica Neuwirth is the Founder of Equality Now, an international women’s rights advocacy organization, and of Donor Direct Action, a project to strengthen women’s rights organizations around the world. She led the initiative advocating for the prosecution of Big Apple Oriental Tours, the first sex tourism company prosecuted in the United States. Ms. Neuwirth is also one of the Founders of the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition. More recently, she formed a new ERA Coalition to promote constitutional equality for women in the United States.


    “We can change the world we live in. I want to live in a world where human trafficking is an artifact of history, not a multi-billion dollar industry that preys on forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.”


    Lynn Nottage

    Playwright and Screenwriter

    Lynn Nottage's plays have been produced widely in the abuse of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, won the 2009 and throughout the world. Her play, Ruined, which explores the massive sexual abuse of women in the Democratic Republic of Congo, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and her play, Sweat, won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Ms. Nottage is the Co-Founder of Market Road Films and the recipient of numerous awards, including the MacArthur Fellowship, Steinberg “Mimi” Distinguished Playwright Award, Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award, Inaugural Horton Foote Prize, Helen Hayes Award, Lee Reynolds Award, Jewish World Watch I Witness Award, National Black Theatre Fest’s August Wilson Playwriting Award, Guggenheim Grant, Lilly Award, and PEN/Laura Pels Award. Ms. Nottage is also an Associate Professor at Columbia School of the Arts.


    “You will not fight your battles on my body anymore,” Salima, upon choosing death rather than allowing her body to be
    continually violated."


    Charles Ogletree

    Jesse Climenko Professor of Law and Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Harvard Law School


    Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., the Harvard Law School Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, and Founding and Executive Director of the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice (CHHIRJ), is a prominent legal theorist who has made an international reputation by taking a hard look at complex issues of law and by working to secure the rights guaranteed by the Constitution for everyone equally under the law. He opened the CHHIRJ offices in 2005 as a tribute to the legendary civil rights lawyer, mentor, and teacher of such great civil rights lawyers as Thurgood Marshall and Oliver Hill. The Institute has engaged in a wide range of important educational, legal, and policy issues over the past 10 years.


    "A lawyer is either a social engineer or a parasite on society."

    --Charles Hamilton Houston

    Judit Olah

    Survivor of Trafficking and Health Care Worker


    Raised in Hungary, Judit Olah answered an ad to be a nanny in New York. The “nanny agency” owner met Ms. Olah at the airport and drove her to his apartment where he confiscated her passport until she paid him five weeks salary. She was placed with a family, but all of her earnings were taken from her and she was told she would face criminal activity if she told police or immigration authorities. She later learned that in 17 years, the agency owner brought eleven girls weekly from Hungary to the United States and took their earnings. In exchange for Ms. Olah’s cooperation in a case against him, she obtained a T visa permitting her to work legally in the United States.


    "People entering the US desperately need to be informed of their legal rights. I know many people in New York who are trapped and terrified, not knowing how to escape."

    Yoko Ono

    Multi-Media Artist, Vocalist, and Activist

    Yoko Ono is a multi-media artist and one of the world’s most iconic activists for world peace and human rights. Her groundbreaking conceptual and performance pieces established her as an important voice in the avant-garde art world and beyond. A remarkable partnership with John Lennon, from the time they met until his death, affirmed Ms. Ono’s strong commitment to social issues ranging from gun control to ending hunger, supporting victims of abuse, and always working towards world peace. Ms. Ono continues to inspire new generations to think peace, act peace, spread peace, and IMAGINE PEACE.


    “A dream you dream alone is only a dream, but a dream we dream together is reality.”

    Sonia Ossorio

    President, National Organization for Women, New York State

    Sonia Ossorio has worked to advance women’s rights in the criminal justice system, with particular emphasis on trafficking victims’ rights and holding law enforcement accountable for combating human trafficking. Her extensive advocacy includes launching NOW-New York City’s Ending the Business of Human Trafficking campaign, holding advertisers accountable for being the marketing arm of the sex trade, and assisting with the drafting of New York State’s groundbreaking anti-trafficking legislation.

    “If we don’t stem the tide of the demand for prostitution, that demand will continue to be met by coercion, violence, force, and exploitation. Our great challenge as a society is to change attitudes, to stigmatize going ‘to a prostitute.’”


    Emily Pasnak-Lapchick

    End Trafficking Program Officer, U.S. Fund for UNICEF


    Emily Pasnak-Lapchick leads a national awareness and advocacy campaign about child trafficking, reaching over 55,000 constituents each year. She sits on the CORE Group for the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons and serves as a Steering Committee member for Fair Trade Colleges and Universities. She is also a representative for GIFT box on behalf of Stop the Traffik USA. Ms. Pasnak-Lapchick has spoken on CNN International, at the United Nations and international conferences, and works with dozens of groups to advise them on how they can take action against human trafficking.


    Human trafficking is not inevitable. This problem is created by humans, and it can be stopped by humans. The power to end it lies in each of us.

    Orlando Patterson

    John Cowles Professor of Sociology, Harvard University


    Orlando Patterson, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University and Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, is a renowned expert on the culture and practices of freedom and the comparative study of slavery, ethnicity, and inequality. His numerous works include, Slavery and Social Death; Freedom in the Making of Western Culture; The Cultural Matrix: Understanding Black Youth as well as three novels. His many awards include the National Book Award for Non-Fiction; the Distinguished Contribution to Scholarship Award of the American Sociological Association; the Jamaica Institute’s Musgrave Gold Medal in Literature, and Jamaica’s national Order of Distinction.


    “The tragedy unfolding in our inner cities is a time-slice of a deep historical process that runs far back through the cataracts and deluge of our racist past.”

    Assemblywoman Amy Paulin

    New York State Assembly Member

    Assemblywoman Amy Paulin sponsored groundbreaking anti-human trafficking laws criminalizing sex trafficking and recognizing that sexually exploited youth are victims to whom special services should be provided rather than criminals deserving prosecution. She has authored five bills that have been or will be signed into law, including legislation that increases accountability of buyers and traffickers fueling the growth of this massive underground industry and prevents re-victimization of trafficking victims by the justice system.

    “Thousands of vulnerable young trafficking victims won’t escape the hellish life they were coerced into until our laws hold these evil predators accountable and give victims the support and services they need to break the vicious cycle of dependency and humiliation.”

    Grace Perez

    Founder and Coordinator, Brides' March


    Grace Perez has advocated against violence against women, particularly in Latina communities, for over 30 years. She helped organize the first Annual Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk in 2001 to remember Gladys Ricart, who was murdered by her abusive former boyfriend on the day she was to marry her fiancé. Each September 26th, hundreds of women and men parade through New York City dressed as brides or in black to mourn and memorialize Ms. Ricart and the many other victims whose lives have been taken through domestic violence. The Walk raises awareness about the devastating effects of this horrific crime on families and communities.


    "Violence against women does not discriminate. It is a sad reality in every ethnic group, every religion, and every economic and social class."


    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Clothing and Jewelry Designer


    After a sexual assault by a family member as a child, Perla was trafficked at age 14. She was later lured into work in a bar for men seeking transgender women for sex. Following her escape from Mexico to the United States, Perla was again trafficked after her passport was confiscated and she was forced to have sex with up to 30 men a day. She later studied design and English and is now a happily-married designer.


    “Young transgender woman should not to enter the sex trade even if it’s their only choice to supporting themselves. You carry the trauma from that exploitation your whole life. Men physically abuse you and the police don’t believe you or demand sex themselves. I was forced to go through a sex change to please men who wanted sex with a transgender woman. People commit suicide rather than take the abuse that is part of the sex trade. It’s just wrong to buy and sell people.”

    Withelma “T.” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew

    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Spokesperson, and Advocate


    Born to parents addicted to drugs and raised in 14 different foster care homes by the age of ten, T. Ortiz Walker Pettigrew was then trafficked by a man who promised to care for her but instead beat and exploited her for seven years. At age 17, through her own tenacious belief that she deserved a better life, and with the support of her court appointed special advocate, she was able to escape from the daily brutality and terror she was living. A widely-respected leader and outspoken crusader on behalf of trafficked and vulnerable children, Ms. Ortiz Walker Pettigrew was named one of Glamour Magazine’s “Women of the Year” as the “Bravest Truth Teller”, one Time Magazine’s “Most Influential People” and one of Time Magazine's "30 people under 30 changing the world." She is currently a college student studying communications, as well as a widely respected consultant and advocate on issues concerning vulnerable youth.

    "I am still learning to feel free and that I am not a slave and neither man nor money validates my worth. What was done to me is not who I am. I will be something greater than what was expected.”

    Rosemonde Pierre-Louis

    Senior Adviser on Gender Equity, New York City Mayor's Office


    As Senior Adviser on Gender Equity, Rosemonde Pierre-Louis creates new strategies relating to pay equity, sexual assault prevention, access to housing for victims of abuse, and reproductive health. In her capacity as Commissioner of the Mayor's Office to Combat Domestic Violence, she oversaw the city-wide delivery of domestic violence services and developed policies and programs to address the needs of victims of abuse and those at risk. She previously served as Manhattan Deputy Borough President, and was a professor, public interest attorney, and leader at several public interest and legal services organizations. Ms. Pierre-Louis has been widely recognized as an advocate, educator, and attorney for women’s and immigrants’ rights, under-served communities, and survivors of domestic violence.

    “Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob, and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

    — Frederick Douglass

    Lydia Dean Pilcher

    Movie Producer, Storyteller, and Activist


    Lydia Dean Pilcher is an Academy Award nominated and Emmy Award winning producer of more than 35 feature films. Her company, Cine Mosaic, is focused on international narrative and documentary stories that promote imagination and diversity. She co-authored, “The Ms. Factor: The Power of Female Driven Content,” an economic case demonstrating the commercial viability of investing in female producers, directors, writers, and protagonists. Ms. Pilcher serves as VP of Motion Pictures, Producers Guild of America, and Chair, PGA Women’s Impact Network. She received a 2014 "Made in NY Award” presented by Mayor Bill de Blasio recognizing her significant contributions in promoting gender equality and environmental sustainability in the entertainment industry.


    “Stories have the power to colonize, and stories have the power to set us free. “

    Mary Lake Polan

    Clinical Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine

    Dr. Mary Lake Polan has combined rigorous scientific research with a humanistic clinical approach in a career spanning women’s health, clinical medicine, medical education, and governmental organizations. She has drastically improved maternal health services in Eritrea, a small country on the eastern coast of Africa, by founding the Eritrean Women’s Health Project, a health initiative to aid women afflicted with obstetric fistula.


    “A woman's body belongs to her. Not to her family or to a stranger who is selling her for profit. Sex trafficking—selling and
    imprisoning girls—is wrong and must be stopped, whether in the developing world or at home in the United States. And we all, men and women, need to work to stop sex trafficking.”


    Ambassador Samantha Power

    Former United States Ambassador to the United Nations


    Ambassador Samantha Power is the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations and a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. In her prior post at the White House, she played a pivotal role in bolstering the Administration’s efforts to end trafficking and assist victims. She was previously the Anna Lindh Professor of the Practice of Global Leadership and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the founding Executive Director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. She is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "A Problem from Hell": America and the Age of Genocide and Chasing the Flame: Sergio Vieira de Mello and the Fight to Save the World. Ambassador Power began her career as a journalist, reporting from conflict areas across the globe.


    “Any nation that has struggled with slavery since its earliest days cannot tolerate slavery in the present or future for any nation. Combating human trafficking is one of the most important human rights campaigns of our time.”

    Judge Gail Prudenti

    Administrator and Advisor, Hofstra Law School, and Former Chief Administrative Judge of the New York Courts and New York State Supreme Court Justice

    As Chief Administrative Judge, Gail Prudenti worked hand-in-hand with Chief Judge Lippman to implement a trail-blazing response to the complex and devastating problem of human trafficking. By creating a network of specialized courts designed to both punish perpetrators and assist victims, and by bringing together state court leaders from around the country to participate in a National Summit on Human Trafficking and the State Courts, New York’s judiciary has become a national leader in the fight against this horrific practice.

    “The time has come for our society and our courts to take a proactive and collaborative approach to combating the evil of trafficking in all its forms. By working together, we all become partners in justice, dedicated to ending the exploitation of the most vulnerable among us and truly changing lives.”

    Peter Qualliotine

    Co-Founder and Director, Men's Accountability for Organization for Prostitution Survivors


    Peter Qualliotine is Co-Founder and Director of Men’s Accountability for the Seattle-based Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS). He began engaging men and boys to end Commercial Sexual Exploitation more than two decades ago. In 1995, he created one of the first education programs in the country for buyers of commercial sex. Presently, with OPS, he runs “Stopping Sexual Exploitation: a Program for Men,” a 10 week program for court and self-referred sex buyers based on principles of social justice and personal transformation.


    “Prostitution, like intimate partner violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking indicate a problem with men and the toxic masculinity we are taught to embody. To end it, each of us must find the courage to step into a fuller humanity that is relational and based on respect, empathy, mutuality and equality for all.”

    Chitra Raghavan

    Professor of Psychology, John Jay College

    Dr. Chitra Raghavan believes strongly in the John Jay mission of “Educating for Justice.” She seeks to redress injustice done to survivors of partner violence and trafficking by correcting misconceptions and promoting awareness through research and teaching, serving as a therapist in these communities, and providing expert witness testimony in court.


    “Although volume upon volume is written to prove slavery a very good thing, we never hear of the man who wishes to take the good of it by being a slave himself.”
    — Abraham Lincoln

    Mónica Ramírez

    Director, Gender Equality and Trabajadoras' Empowerment, Labor Council for Latin American Advancement


    Mónica Ramírez is a longtime farmworker and immigrant rights activist who currently serves as the Director of Gender Equality and Trabajadoras' Empowerment at Labor Council for Latin American Advancement. Her work has been informed and motivated by her family’s history working in the agricultural fields of our nation. She founded several national projects aimed at eradicating gender based violence against immigrant and farmworker women, specifically workplace sexual violence and labor exploitation. Among these, she founded Esperanza: The Immigrant Women’s Legal Initiative of the Southern Poverty Law Center and The Bandana Project. Ms. Ramírez is a mother, activist, author and speaker.

    “Walk the streets with us into history. Get off the sidewalk.” Dolores Huerta

    Norma Ramos

    Human Rights Attorney

    Norma Ramos is a longstanding social justice attorney and ecofeminist who links the global inequality of women to the destruction of the environment. She writes and speaks extensively about the commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls as a core global injustice. Ms. Ramos serves on the boards of anti-trafficking organizations, such as Prostitution Research and Education and the Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives. She is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing her leadership in the movement to end human trafficking.


    “Prostitution is the world's oldest oppression.” 

    Laurie Rea

    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Prostitution


    Laurie Rea was sexually trafficked at ten years old and was prostituted for twenty years in 40 states. As a child, she believed it was her only way of survival since her mother was unavailable to care for due to severe depression. Ms. Rea knew another girl in “the life,” making it seem like a “normal” way to get money to pay for her basic needs. She attended grade school on minimal sleep while addicted to drugs, which she used to numb herself to her brutal experiences in the sex trade. After more than 20 years, she left “the life” through the support of Breaking Free, a sex trafficking survivor program.

    “It’s important for those going through hardships to know that others have been through something similar and to believe that ‘if they can break free, maybe I can too.’ This gave me hope and I want others to feel the strength of that hope as well.”

    Anne K. Ream

    Author, Activist, and Founder, The Voices and Faces Project


    Anne K. Ream is the Founder of The Voices and Faces Project. Her critically praised memoir, “Lived Through This,” follows her multi-country journey listening to stories of sexual violence and human trafficking. Co-Creator and workshop Facilitator for “The Stories We Tell,” North America’s first testimonial writing program for gender-based violence survivors, Ms. Ream’s writing has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The New Republic, The Washington Post, and numerous other publications.

    “What if the world turns less on what we say and more on what we have the courage to hear? It’s a hard thing to listen — truly listen — to a person who has lived through violence and exploitation. It means getting so close to their suffering that it breaks our own hearts. But inside our broken, open hearts — that’s where compassion lies.”

    Shea M. Rhodes

    Director and Co-Founder, Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation


    Shea Rhodes has dedicated her career to combating violence against women and protecting the rights of those who are exploited. Currently, Ms. Rhodes works with and on behalf of survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking, promoting survivor-oriented and trauma-informed legal responses to those issues. Prior to forming the Commercial Sexual Exploitation Institute in 2014, Ms. Rhodes served as Philadelphia Assistant District Attorney for nearly ten years. She began her career as a staff attorney for the Crime Victim’s Law Project, providing legal advocacy to victims of sexual assault and stalking.


    "For all the injustices in our past and our present, we have to believe that in the free exchange of ideas, justice will prevail over injustice, tolerance over intolerance and progress over reaction."

    — Hillary Clinton

    U.S. Representative Kathleen Rice

    United States Representative for New York’s Fourth Congressional District


    Kathleen Rice is the United States Representative for New York’s Fourth Congressional District. She previously served as the District Attorney of Nassau County, New York, and was the first woman elected District Attorney in Long Island’s history. Known for her innovative, tough, and smart-on-crime initiatives, she effectively prosecuted perpetrators of crimes of gender violence and focused on ensuring protection and justice for victims of sex trafficking. Congresswoman Rice’s pioneering anti-demand efforts to deter sex trafficking by holding sex industry buyers criminally accountable have become a national model.


    “Sex trafficking victims need help and support, not criminal punishment. That's why I established a special human trafficking part in Nassau County to help women and punish those who exploit them.”

    Cecile Richards

    President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and Planned Parenthood Action Fund


    As president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America since 2006, Cecile Richards leads a movement that has worked for nearly a century to build a healthier and safer world for women, men, and young people. Every year, over 650 Planned Parenthood health centers provide health care services to 2.5 million patients. Before joining Planned Parenthood, Ms. Richards served as deputy chief of staff for House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. In 2004, she founded and served as president of America Votes, a coalition of 42 national grassroots organizations working to maximize registration, education, and voter participation.


    "As women, if we're not at the table, we're on the menu."

    Valiant Richey

    Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, King County Special Assault Unit

    As a Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for King County in the office’s Special Assault Unit, Valiant Richey is responsible for prosecuting cases involving the trafficking and purchase of children for sex. He is also a local coordinator for the innovative King County initiative: “Buyer Beware: A Partnership to End Commercial Sexual Exploitation.” Mr. Richey has conducted numerous trainings on commercial sexual exploitation for law enforcement, service providers, policy makers, and the general public.

    “Exploitation will wither in the face of hope, equality, and justice.”

    Carol Robles-Román

    President and CEO, Legal Momentum

    Carol Robles-Román plays a key role in the fight for women’s equality by calling for stronger action against domestic and sexual violence, strengthening women’s economic security, and ending gender bias. As former Deputy Mayor for Legal Affairs and Counsel to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, she spearheaded New York City’s anti-trafficking initiatives, including the multi-media public education campaign, “Let’s Call an End to Human Trafficking,” which brings human trafficking out of the shadows by increasing public awareness of the problem.


    “Trafficking can thrive because this crime is often hidden from the public eye. We can fight this human rights violation by recognizing the signs and knowing how to help potential victims, particularly at-risk youth.”

    Andrew Rosen and Jenny Dyer

    CEO of Theory and Helmut Lang; Designer


    Fashion industry leader Andrew Rosen began his career in 1977 at Puritan Fashions, a company founded by his grandfather, and went on to become its President and CEO in 1983. Inspiring women and men to dress with a new vision of modernity, he founded Theory in 1997. Since Theory’s acquisition by Fast Retailing, Mr. Rosen continues to lead the company as CEO, while also serving as CEO of Helmut Lang. British-born Jenny Dyer studied graphic design before working in the film and advertising industry as an award-winning set decorator. In 2006, Ms. Dyer launched her eponymous fashion label, Jenny Dyer London, before moving to New York City where she now lives with her husband, Mr. Rosen.


    "We believe in the fundamental right of all individuals to a life of dignity and freedom from the oppression of domestic and gender violence.”

    Diane Rosenfeld

    Lecturer and Director of the Gender Violence Program,

    Harvard Law School


    Diane Rosenfeld teaches at Harvard Law School where she founded and directs the Gender Violence Program. Before teaching at Harvard, she served as Senior Counsel to the Office on Violence Against Women at the U.S. Department of Justice. Mr. Rosenfeld has dedicated her professional life to developing innovative legal policy on campus sexual assault, domestic violence homicide prevention, and ending the prostitution and commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls. She was recently selected to receive the “Woman of Inspiration Award 2016” by Ms. JD.


    “Here’s the key to ending prostitution. Abide by and act upon these two basic principles:

    1. No one has the right to pimp my sister.
    2. Everybody is my sister.”

    Mercedes Ruehl


    Mercedes Ruehl is an Academy, Golden Globe, and Tony Award-winning actor, who has appeared in numerous roles in films, including The Fisher King, Married to the Mob, and Lost in Yonkers, and in television shows, such as Frasier, Entourage, and Law & Order. She is an acclaimed stage actor in productions, including Lost in Yonkers, The Goat, Who is Sylvia?, and The Shadow Box. During her early years in New York City, Ms. Ruehl volunteered at Covenant House and saw firsthand—and was humbled by—the vulnerability, the longing, and the indomitable spirit in that sprawling world of so-called “lost children.”


    “We cannot rely upon the silenced to tell us they are suffering.”


    — Hanan Ashrawi

    Kevin Ryan

    President and CEO, Covenant House

    A father, activist, and child advocate, Kevin Ryan spent nearly a decade in the 1990s on the front lines of Covenant House’s work with homeless and trafficked children before he was appointed by New Jersey’s governor as the state’s first Child Advocate. He thereafter returned to Covenant House as its International President and CEO in 2009. Covenant House is the largest


    organization in the Americas helping exploited, homeless, runaway, and
    trafficked children and youth.


    “Jailing underage prostituted children and teenagers doesn't solve the problem of sexual exploitation; it's the johns, gangs, cartels, and pimps who buy them and sell them who need to be identified, punished, jailed, fined, and, if they use the bodies of minors, placed on sex offender lists.”


    Renan Salgado

    Human Trafficking Specialist, Worker Justice Center

    Activist, poet, and hip hop artist, Renan Salgado is a Human Trafficking Specialist at the Worker Justice Center of New York. He is involved in the investigation, rescue, and provision of legal services to victims of modern slavery in New York State, as well as the training of law enforcement and non-governmental organizations.


    “Slavery is a reality that humanity has had to deal with throughout history. Fortunately, there have always been and there will always be people who find slavery unacceptable and will risk everything to fight for freedom and equality for all. I welcome the fight.”



    Survivor of Human Trafficking and Sous Chef


    Trafficked from Mexico and brought to the United States, Sandra was held captive by her trafficker and his sisters and forced into prostitution in both countries for four years. Eventually overcoming her shame, Sandra confided her abuse to a relative, who advised her to escape.


    “Women are not in prostitution voluntarily. The daily life of being in slavery and prostitution is hell. No one ever asked why I was there. That one question could have helped me. No one ever talked about sex in my house. Parents need to teach their children about a healthy sexuality, free from prostitution. I saw a lot of men take their teenage sons to brothels, which continues this pattern of exploitation. Survival is not synonymous with not having died. It is synonymous with having fought for one’s life against all evil and adversity.”

    Maya Saoud

    Board Member, Advocacy Lab


    Maya Saoud is an educator focusing on youth development with local and international students. As a Board Member of the Advocacy Lab, she provides resources to a grassroots organization offering human rights education and advocacy skills training to New York City high school students. Each year, the organization exposes students to the issue of sex trafficking, among many other human rights violations, and guides them in planning an advocacy campaign in their communities.


    “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."


    — Nelson Mandela

    John Savarese


    Partner, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz



    A former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brennan, John Savarese has for the past 25 years represented numerous Fortune 500 institutions in internal investigations and complex securities litigations as a Wachtell Lipton partner. Previously, Mr. Savarese received the Attorney General's John Marshall Award for Outstanding Legal Achievement for his work in the United States Attorneys' Office for the Southern District of New York. He also serves as board chairman of the Vera Institute of Justice and as a member of Harvard Law School’s Dean’s Advisory Board and the board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.


    ”Eliminating sex and labor trafficking is central to making good on our country’s promise of civil rights for all."

    Lynn Savarese

    Attorney and Photographer and Co-Founder, New Abolitionists Campaign


    After careers in corporate law and investment banking and a lengthy sabbatical to raise her children and pursue volunteer work for various human rights organizations, Lynn Savarese finally turned to her passion— photography—several years ago. In addition to commercial work and fine arts pursuits, she works closely with not-for-profit organizations to help further their missions through strategic photography projects. As the photographer commissioned for the New Abolitionists project, Ms. Savarese has had the great honor and privilege of meeting and photographing over 200 amazing New Abolitionists and organizing five exhibitions to feature them since 2013.


    “Empathy is the most radical of human emotions.”

    –Gloria Steinem

    Marjorie Saylor

    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Advocate, and Mentor


    Marjorie Saylor is a survivor of human trafficking through the adult sex industry. After growing up in a home of domestic violence and child sexual abuse, her need to survive forced her to run away from home, which ultimately pushed her into “the life.” She was exploited through strip clubs and escorting services until a sex-buyer tried to kill her. Ms. Saylor is now a devoted mother whose life mission is to mentor young girls and women experiencing trauma, while educating the community and fighting for change in the hearts of our society.


    “Human trafficking has devastated our society for centuries and the demand for sex fuels its burning fire, which is void of humanity as it swallows up true economic equality and individual self-worth. The adult industry is the platform being used today that tells our culture it is acceptable to view our sons and daughters as products rather than persons of real value.”

    U.S. Senator Charles Schumer

    Senior United States Senator

    Schumer was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998. Previously, as a member of the House of Representatives, he co-authored the Violence Against Women Act, which provides federal support to local communities to bolster law enforcement efforts aimed at stopping domestic violence, while expanding counseling and shelter services. As Senator, he fought for the Act’s successful reauthorization in 2000 and 2005 and for the provision of STOP grants, which allow local communities to prosecute batterers more effectively and aid victims by maintaining battered women’s shelters and providing counseling and medical services.


    “New York has played a historic role in the abolitionist movement but the movement does not belong to history. Rather, the fight for true and complete freedom is not over until slavery, in all its forms, is stamped out in every dark and forgotten corner of the world.”

    Judge Toko Serita

    Acting Supreme Court Justice and Presiding Judge, Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court

    Judge Toko Serita is a leading judicial advocate in the criminal justice system addressing the problem of sex trafficking. She presides over the innovative and pioneering Queens Human Trafficking Intervention Court, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and which—under the leadership of Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman—has served as a model for the creation in 2013 of eleven Trafficking Intervention Courts throughout New York State.


    “New York’s trailblazing effort to use the courts to combat human trafficking has opened a new front in the fight against modern day slavery.”


    Brendan Shanahan

    Ice Hockey Executive and Former Player

    Brendan Shanahan, currently President and Alternative Governor of the Toronto Maple Leafs, played 21 seasons in the National Hockey League from 1987 to 2009. During his career, he captured three Stanley Cup championships, an Olympic gold medal, a World Championship gold medal, and a Canada Cup championship. Mr. Shanahan was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2013. For almost a decade, he has been a staunch supporter of Sanctuary for Families’ work serving victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking


    “We know that sex trafficking often increases during big games. Athletes have a special responsibility to educate our teams and fans that buying women and girls for sex doesn't make men cool or powerful. It lines the pockets of violent traffickers and taints the reputation of the games we love.”


    Reshma Shetty


    Most recently, Reshma Shetty starred in Pure Genius on CBS. For eight seasons, she starred in the hit series Royal Pains on USA Network as one of television’s first female South Asian series leads. A graduate of the famed Opera Department at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, she received rave reviews for her performance in Bombay Dreams and critical praise for her Off-Broadway debut in Rafta Rafta at the New Group. Ms. Shetty's additional television credits include HAPPYISH, Odd Mom Out, 30 Rock, CSI Miami, and Blindspot. Her feature film credits include Steam, Delivering The Goods, Allegiance, and Hated. Ms. Shetty is a member of Characters Unite, USA Network’s award-winning public service campaign addressing the social injustices and cultural divides still prevalent in our society.


    “Let it not be said that I was silent when they needed me.”
    — William Wilberforce

    Pamela Shifman

    Executive Director, NoVo Foundation


    A lifelong advocate for girls’ and women’s rights, Pamela Shifman is the Executive Director of the NoVo Foundation, a private grant-making foundation with a focus on ending violence against girls and women, including sex trafficking. Prior to coming to NoVo, Ms. Shifman played a lead role at UNICEF in the development of a groundbreaking United Nations-wide policy to prevent sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations Peacekeepers and Humanitarian staff.


    “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”


    — Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s

    Robert Sargent "Bobby" Shriver III

    Activist, Attorney, and Journalist


    Bobby Shriver is an award-winning activist, attorney, and journalist. He served as Chairman of the California State Parks Commission and was elected to the Santa Monica Council and as the City’s Mayor. He organized the A Very Special Christmas series of records that has earned more than $100 million for the Special Olympics. With Bono, Mr. Shriver formed three organizations (DATA, The ONE campaign and (RED), a marketing initiative) that work for HIV treatment and public health in Africa. He is currently working with the Veterans Administration to create housing for veterans experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles.


    “We mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our Sacred Honor.”

    — The signers of the Declaration of Independence

    Lori Silverbush and Tom Colicchio

    Filmmaker; Chef/Food Advocate


    Lori Silverbush is an award-winning screenwriter and director who uses fiction and non-fiction film to ignite dialogue about critical issues of our day. Tom Colicchio is a critically acclaimed chef with restaurants across the United States and a judge on the series Top Chef. As co-director and producer of the film A Place at the Table, a film that examines the shocking paradox of hunger in the wealthiest nation on earth, Ms. Silverbush and Mr. Colicchio stand at the forefront of a national movement to end hunger in the United States.


    "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
    — Martin Luther King

    William C. Silverman

    Partner and Pro Bono Program Head, Proskauer Rose, and Counsel for the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition

    William Silverman is a partner at Proskauer Rose, where he runs the firm’s global pro bono program. He also serves as counsel to the New York State Anti-Trafficking Coalition and hosts their monthly meetings. Mr. Silverman is formerly an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. He has long been an advocate for victims of human trafficking and for increasing resources in Family Court.


    “Attorneys in the private sector should not be content with individual pro bono cases but rather should advocate for changes in the law and public policy that better protect victims and better ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice. Only then will we start addressing the scourge of human trafficking.”

    The Silverstein Family

    Larry, Klara, Roger, Lisa, and Sarah Silverstein, and Tal Kerret

    Larry Silverstein is the Chairman of the privately held global real estate entity, Silverstein Properties, Inc., a prominent real estate development, investment, and management firm. Mr. Silverstein developed, owns, and operates over 35 million square feet of commercial, residential, hotel, and retail space around the world. He and his wife, Klara, contribute their time and resources to organizations dedicated to education, medical research, humanitarian needs, and the arts. Two of their three children and son-in-law, Tal Kerret, President of Silverstein Properties, work in the business. Lisa Silverstein is Senior Vice President and Roger Silverstein is the Executive Vice President of Leasing. Sarah Silverstein is a New York City-based photographer.

    “The human capital in the world is not a commodity in itself, but a body that should be cherished for the soul. Any work created for such capital should not include degradation, abuse, or humiliation. Profits should never be at the expense of one’s freedom and

    Susan Smalley

    Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Founding Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center, University of California, Los Angeles

    Dr. Susan Smalley’s work as a scientist included seminal studies on the genetics of autism and ADHD and research on mindfulness as a key to well-being. She founded the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center to bring practices of mindfulness to the public through research and education. Her work includes writing on topics of well-being and mindfulness and working philanthropically to end gender inequality. As a board member of Equality Now, she works to see laws changed to give women and girls equal rights everywhere. As Chair of Cell-Ed, an organization she co-founded, she helps assure that all women have access to education.


    “The greatest force against inequality is a self-awareness of our interdependent and changing nature.”

    Joanne N. Smith

    Executive Director, Girls for Gender Equity


    Joanne Smith, a Haitian-American social worker, founded Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) in 2001 to end gender-based violence and promote gender, race, and class equity. She co-authored the book Hey Shorty: A Guide to Combating Sexual Harassment and Violence in Schools and on the Streets, published by the Feminist Press. GGE’s work to combat sexual harassment in schools is featured in the 2014 documentary Anita: Speak Truth to Power. Ms. Smith is a Move to End Violence Cohort One Member.


    “We must cause strategic disruption that changes society’s moral compass around trafficking, sexual assault, and violence against girls, women, and gender-nonconforming people of color. This commitment to ending gender-based violence and the devaluing of human rights is lifelong, and I'm honored to fight with survivors, allies, and friends as we say NO MORE."

    Vosiney Smith

    Survivor and Advocate, Women’s Program Advocate, Breaking Free


    In “the life” for over 20 years, Vosiney Wiley entered prostitution at age 16 to pay the family bills while her mother was ill and bedridden. Along with sexual exploitation came the introduction to heavy drugs. Ms. Wiley found support and acceptance at Breaking Free in 1996. The program gave her stability, hope, insight, and a sense of belonging. Since being out of “the life,” she has overcome challenges but now had the strength and skills needed to be a positive role model and presence in her children’s life.

    “I believe that our pasts don’t define who we are now. Where there is hope, there is a future. I have overcome many barriers and I have seen countless survivors overcome similar barriers. The road is not easy but it does get smoother. No matter where you are in life, there is someone there to meet you where you are at now.”

    Carol Smolenski

    Co-Founder and Executive Director, ECPAT-USA


    Carol Smolenski is the Executive Director and one of the Founders of ECPAT-USA (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes), a children’s rights organization that has worked for the protection of children from commercial sexual exploitation since 1991. At ECPAT-USA, she has developed projects against the trafficking of children in New York City, Mexico, Belize, and Brazil. As a national expert on child sex trafficking, Ms. Smolenski has spoken at numerous conferences and presented testimony in venues ranging from the New York City Council to the U.S. Congress to the United Nations.


    “No child should ever be bought or sold in the sex trade anytime, anywhere. Our work is to create a world where every child is safe and cherished.”

    Mira Sorvino


    Actor, Humanitarian, and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador



    Academy Award-winning actor Mira Sorvino is the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s Goodwill Ambassador in the Global Fight Against Human Trafficking, and in 2010 was awarded UN Global Advocate of the Year. She has testified before Congress and at the National Conference of State Legislators, the National Association of Attorneys Generals, the American Bar Association, and the Mashable Social Good Summit to reform laws on human trafficking. She has spoken at the Vatican and in Europe, Mexico, and Thailand as part of the UN Blue Heart Action and Awareness Campaign, and made Every Day in Cambodia, about child sex trafficking, with the CNN Freedom Project. Ms. Sorvino uses her powerful platform to amplify survivor testimony.


    “The #MeToo movement must include sexual trafficking, sexual exploitation, and prostitution as core violations because they are the nth degree of abuse, violence, and rape. Prostitution is not a victimless crime or an equivalent exchange; demand creates a giant market which traffickers fill with their human products.”

    Christine Stark


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Writer, Researcher, Visual Artist, and Speaker


    Born into an organized, inter-generational trafficking and pornography ring operated by family members and others, Christine Stark was bought and sold and filmed for rape alongside other women and children beginning when she was a baby/toddler until she got away by attending college in another state at age eighteen. As a woman with Native American ancestry and family murdered in the Shoah, she inhabits the space where organized rape and genocide meet. Ms. Stark writes and speaks out of love for those hurt then and now, to prevent this from happening to future generations, and for her ancestors. From the rapists’ perspective, she was born to be raped. From her perspective, she was born to stop them, to speak the truth, and to live a good life.


    “Respect and support survivors! We could have been you and you could have been us!”

    Gloria Steinem

    Feminist Leader and Icon

    Renowned feminist leader and journalist, Gloria Steinem is the author of Revolution from Within, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, Moving Beyond Words, Marilyn: Norma Jean, and My Life on the Road, due out in October 2015. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. In partnership with Ruchira Gupta, Ms. Steinem has traveled throughout the United States and India to raise awareness of the devastating impact of the commercial sex trafficking industry on women, girls, and communities.


    “The human spirit can be even stronger than everything designed to suppress it.

    Susan Stern

    Immediate Past Chair, The President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships

    A national community leader, Susan Stern has ignited communities of faith to take action to end modern-day slavery across the country. Incoming national Vice Chair of the Board of the Jewish Federations of North America, she presently serves as the Chair of Global Programs for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, as well as Chair of the New York State Commission on National and Community Service. Under her leadership, the President’s Advisory Council called on faith and community leaders to be the voice for those whose cries are not heard and who cannot speak for themselves.


    “Trafficking is a very lucrative business of high profits and low risk. We need to create a paradigm shift making it low profit and very high risk.”


    Marin Stewart

    Survivor of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Advocate, Organization for Prostitution Survivors


    Marin Stewart entered the sex trade at age 18 after childhood sexual abuse and high-risk behavior. She intended to briefly be an exotic dancer, but was trafficked to Taiwan and Japan where her passport was taken. The American Embassy freed and returned her to the States. She was in "the life" for 22 years across the USA and overseas as an exotic dancer and high paid escort. Living a double life and being in the sex industry made, Ms. Stewart felt dissociated and debilitated by shame. She was freed from "the life" after a spiritual radical transformation.

    "Every human being is created in the image of God. Since the beginning of time, the enemy has been exploiting this image. It's not just the victim being exploited, but the victimizer as well. We live in a broken world with wounds and trauma running deep in both women and men. Commercial sexual exploitation is evidence of this."

    Meryl Streep

    Actor and Activist


    Meryl Streep is an Academy Award- winning actress who has portrayed an astonishing array of characters in a career that has cut its own unique path across multiple mediums. She lends her efforts to Women for Women International, Equality Now, Women in the World Foundation, and Partners in Health. Ms. Streep will next be seen in Suffragette alongside Carey Mulligan and Helena Bonham Carter.


    "These Strangers, in a foreign World,

    Protection asked of me

    Befriend them, lest yourself in Heaven

    Be found a Refugee"

    — Emily Dickinson

    Agnette Strøm


    Norwegian feminist activist, Co-Founder of The Women’s Front of Norway (the “Women’s Front”)

    Dedicated to ending discrimination against women and girls around the world, Agnette Strøm is a co-founder of the Women’s Front and has served as its international coordinator for the past three decades. Over a decade ago, through meetings with parliamentarians and trade unionists in Norway to advocate for sanctions against sex buying and for social services and job training for survivors of prostitution and trafficking, Ms. Strøm and the Women’s Front played a critical role in the passage of the ground-breaking Nordic Model for addressing prostitution and sex trafficking. Ms. Strøm speaks throughout the world about the Nordic Model and its focus on demand, and also serves on the boards of SPACE International and the journal Dignity.

    "End demand! Support the struggle for the “Nordic Model” all over the world."


    Rose Styron

    Poet, Journalist, Translator, and Human Rights Activist


    Rose Styron is a poet, journalist, translator, and international human rights activist. She has traveled widely for Amnesty International and other organizations to secure the release of prisoners of conscience and shine a light on brutality and injustice. She has chaired PEN’s Freedom to Write Committee and the RFK Human Rights Awards. During two fellowships at Harvard’s Kennedy School and her monthly series for Voice of America, she explored the effective relationship between writers, artists, and public policy. She recently edited Selected Letters of William Styron. Her fifth volume of poetry, Fierce Day, was published in 2015.


    “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

    — William Wilberforce

    Sarah “BJ” Sung, Ai Young Choi, and Jungsook “Grace” Yoon

    The Korean American Family Service Center

    BJ Sung, Public Affairs Manager at Con Edison, is Board Chair at the Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC); Ai Young Choi, a management consultant to non-profits, is Board Chair Emerita of KAFSC; and Grace Yoon is its Executive Director. These three extraordinary leaders have partnered to make KAFSC one of New York’s leading organizations working to end domestic violence and sexual assault. Programs provide community education, intervention counseling, and therapy for adults, children, and youth; emergency shelter and transitional housing; courses in self-sufficiency and job skills training; peer support groups; and training for hotline volunteers.

    “It takes a village to raise a child, and many, many villages to stop her from being violated and exploited.”

    Per-Anders Sunesson​


    Lawyer, Swedish Ambassador at Large for Combating Trafficking in Persons

    For over 20 years, Per-Anders Sunesson has worked in both Sweden and internationally to address social justice issues. In 2016, Mr. Sunesson was appointed Sweden’s Ambassador at Large for Combating Trafficking in Persons, with a mandate to cover all forms of human trafficking, including sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. Previously, he served as Director General at The Ministry of Health and Social Affairs and as Director for the Department of Supervision of all healthcare institutions, healthcare personnel and social services in Sweden.

    “Countries must put a lot more effort into reducing demand for human beings to exploit as cheap labour or as sex slaves in prostitution. It is well documented that where prostitution is legal, demand will be high and organized crime and human trafficking will flourish.”

    Farah Tanis

    Co-Founder and Executive Director, Black Women’s Blueprint

    A feminist and human rights advocate, Farah Tanis addresses sexual violence against women and girls in African American, African, and Afro- Caribbean communities. She leads efforts supporting historically black universities on issues of gender, race, sexuality, and anti-violence policy. Ms. Tanis launched and chairs the first truth and reconciliation commission in the United States focusing on black women and sexual assault. Founder and a lead curator of the Museum of Women’s Resistance, Ms. Tanis serves in several prominent anti-violence and human rights programs and has received numerous awards for her human rights work.


    “It is by taking bold action towards justice that we practice liberation, heal ourselves, and shift violent paradigms, lifting the foot of oppression off our necks so we can be free, so we can envision communities without sexual violence and exploitation, and make that vision manifest.”

    Sharon Teed-Medeiros

    Survivor of Sex Trafficking and Mentor, My Life My Choice


    Sharon Teed-Medeiros is a survivor of childhood sexual exploitation, which began at the age of six. At age 13, she became a victim of sex trafficking initiated by an adult she considered her boyfriend. Addicted to drugs and not seeing a way out, she spent years in the sex trade, including starting her own “escorting” business. After leaving the sex industry, Ms.Teed-Medeiros found employment in the corporate world for a number of years, but felt that she wasn't going anywhere, and wanted something different.


    “I feared the secrets would one day surface, working in the corporate world I felt like I was playing two separate roles in my life. I wanted a job where I could just be me and not hide my past lifestyle. My life has changed dramatically when I was hired at My Life My Choice and began helping women who lived through a life like mine.” I found the perfect job for me!



    Rachel Thomas

    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Director, Sowers Education Group, Curriculum Writer, Mentor, Public Speaker, and Educator


    A graduate of an elite university with a master's degree and a survivor of human trafficking, Rachel Thomas has extensive experience teaching, mentoring, training, curriculum writing, and public speaking. Her curriculum Ending The Game is used by over 170 facilitators in eight states and helps survivors break the bonds of attachment to traffickers. Ms. Thomas grew up in an upper class home and was sexually trafficked as a university student by a modeling agent who trafficked young women using threats, abuse and psychological manipulation.


    “When you are treated as an object instead of a person, you feel the effects. You become blind to your own value beyond a dollar amount. Buyers are not looking for a wife; they want an object for use. Everyone involved in the sex trade-- victims, buyers and pimps-- are all broken, hopelessly seeking to feel something affirming from a world built on objectification.”

    Melanie Thompson

    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Full Time Student, and Activist


    Melanie Thompson is a full-time college student majoring in social work. She works to raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harm of all forms of commercial sexual exploitation and advocates for changes in anti-trafficking law and policy with a wide range of abolitionist organizations. Her tireless work to educate legislators and the public about child sex trafficking contributed to the unanimous passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection and Justice Act by the New York State Legislature in 2015. A survivor of domestic sex trafficking, Ms. Thompson is still in the foster care system and draws on her experiences as a child and young adult to help others who have also experienced commercial sexual exploitation. Upon obtaining her LCSW degree, she hopes to open a non-profit organization to assist victims of human trafficking.


    "I remember a girl who once couldn't speak--but I'm not her anymore."

    John Temple

    Assistant District Attorney, Chief of the Human Trafficking Response Unit at the New York County District Attorney’s Office

    John Temple serves as Chief of the Human Trafficking Response Unit at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, where he supervises all sex and labor trafficking investigations and prosecutions. Mr. Temple has implemented innovative procedures and policies to better identify victims of human trafficking, provide greater support for victims and their families, and use data-based investigations to prosecute traffickers and those who facilitate trafficking. He also teaches a course on human trafficking at Fordham University.


    “Human trafficking can only be properly combated when good people across many disciplines band together. No one
    government, non-profit, or industry can do it alone. United, we can succeed where individually we fail.”


    Former District Attorney Kenneth P. Thompson

    Former Brooklyn District Attorney


    As Brooklyn District Attorney, Kenneth Thompson supervises over 500 prosecutors and runs one of the largest District Attorney’s Offices in the country. Prior to becoming DA, he served as a federal prosecutor in the United States Attorney's Office in Brooklyn and then established his own law firm, Thompson Wigdor LLP. In 2011, he successfully represented Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel housekeeper who reported that she was sexually assaulted in a Manhattan hotel room by Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund, after her case had been dropped by prosecutors. Most recently, District Attorney Thompson expanded and strengthened his Human Trafficking Unit in order to help trafficking survivors, as well as prosecute offenders, more effectively. District Attorney Thompson died on October 9, 2016 at the age of 50.


    “Everyone should join this movement because these are our daughters, sisters, mothers and neighbors.”

    Victoria Thompson


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking, Advocate, and Mentor


    Physically and sexually abused by family members throughout her childhood, Victoria Thompson was trafficked for sex at 18 years old, just four months shy of her high school graduation. While homeless, she met two women who offered to share an apartment and then abused her while prostituting her out. Ms. Thompson ultimately escaped with the help of a Good Samaritan who called a trafficking hotline on her behalf. She has trained medical personnel on how to spot trafficking victims and law enforcement personnel on how to spot people needing help exiting the sex trade.


    “We need to listen to those whose stories do not fit the norm. Often, individuals are scared to speak about experiences that aren’t typical because they fear not being believed. My traffickers were violent women and this is not typical or what trafficking is supposed to look like. I want to be a voice for those who may have a slightly different story to tell so that these truths are also heard.”

    Joseph Paul "Joe" Torre and Alice “Ali” Wolterman Torre

    Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President and Chief Baseball Manager, Chairman of Safe at Home Foundation; President of Safe at Home Foundation


    A legendary professional baseball player, coach, and television commentator, Joe Torre’s greatest success came as manager of the Yankees, winning four World Series titles, six American League (ASL) pennants, and ten AL East Division pennants. In 1996 and 1998, Mr. Torre was the AL Manager of the Year and, in 2014, he was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. In 2002, Mr. Torre and his wife, Ali Wolterman-Torre, founded the Joe Torre Safe At Home Foundation and established safe rooms in schools called Margaret's Place which provide healing services to youth who have been traumatized by exposure to violence in their homes, schools, or communities and to empower them to live healthy lives free of violence. The program was named after Mr. Torre's mother, who suffered physical and verbal abuse by Mr. Torre's father when he was a child.


    "Whether they bear our last name or not, we have the responsibility to ensure the care and safety of our children."

    Laurence H. Tribe

    Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Harvard University, and Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School


    Son of Russian Jewish refugees, Laurence Tribe, born in Shanghai, is a legal scholar, teacher, and activist who has taught at Harvard since 1969, teaching and mentoring many of today’s leading public officials including President Barack Obama, Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justice Elena Kagan, and writing many influential books and articles about law and the U.S. Constitution. He has argued dozens of Supreme Court cases, defending LGBT rights, the rights of racial minorities, and reproductive rights – all without charge. Recipient of numerous honorary degrees, he was appointed in 2009 by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to launch the Justice Department’s first access to justice initiative, establishing the office that now spearheads those efforts.


    “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

    — Martin Luther King Jr.


    Alex Trouteaud


    Director of Policy and Research, Swanee Hunt Alternatives


    Alex Trouteaud is an applied sociologist, who has studied sex trafficking and prostitution in the United States for over 10 years. He focuses on bringing the best available research insights into critical conversations around public policy, victim and survivor services, and social change. As a specialist in perpetrator accountability, Dr. Trouteaud works to address gaps in how we understand and respond to men who buy people for sex.

    “The best researchers change their views when they encounter new evidence that challenges existing beliefs. I also believe this learned skill is a hallmark of good advocacy; guidance by fact, rather than just ideology.”

    Nicholas Turner

    President, Vera Institute of Justice


    As President and Director of the Vera Institute of Justice, Nicholas Turner oversees dozens of initiatives that make justice systems more fair and effective, including the first-ever validated screening tool that can reliably identify sex and labor trafficking victims in the United States.


    “It’s not as simple as being asked, ‘Are you a victim of trafficking?’ Victims often face cultural differences, a sense of shame, a deep-rooted fear of law enforcement—but they can overcome these barriers to getting help if they’re asked the right questions.”

    Sawan Vaden


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking and Program Manager, Community Against Sexual Harm


    Trafficked and put out on the street when she was just 13 years old, Sawan Vaden’s innocent adolescence was shattered. As an 18-year old, she met a man who lured her into prostitution with false promises, which led to a highly manipulative and violent situation that lasted for years. As a result, she lost everything meaningful to her. Ms. Vaden found comfort and personal value in her church. She is now an advocate and mentor to those who are struggling as she had in her youth.

    “The hope for young people vulnerable to exploitation is prevention. We must teach youth their own value and also the value of human life. Adults in the lives of children must have their eyes open and be looking out for them. For many of us, no one saw what we were suffering—not even our teachers or medical personnel with whom we came in contact and who could have intervened.”

    Yasmin Vafa

    Co-Founder and Executive Director, Rights4Girls


    A human rights attorney in the movement to end violence against women and girls, Yasmin Vafa is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Rights4Girls. She leads the award-winning No Such Thing campaign to eliminate the concept of “child prostitute” in language, law, and media and advises Members of Congress, the White House, and the judiciary on policies to protect women and girls at the margin. Successfully advocating for passage of anti-trafficking laws at the federal level, Ms. Vafa was honored by the U.S. Congressional Victims' Rights Caucus for her advocacy on behalf of trafficking victims.


    "Not only are women and girls of color overrepresented in the sex trade, they're also more likely to be criminalized for their exploitation. Sex trafficking must therefore be recognized as a racial, gender, and criminal justice issue."

    District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.

    New York County District Attorney

    District Attorney Cyrus Vance created the first-ever Human Trafficking Program at the New York County District Attorney’s Office, which he expanded in 2014 into the Human Trafficking Response Unit (HTRU). HTRU’s goal is to dismantle sex trafficking operations by going after traffickers, drivers, and johns.The Unit focuses on evidence-based prosecutions to build strong cases that do not rely solely on the testimony of victims. HTRU’s prosecutors also take a victim-centered approach, connecting trafficked people to services, while training law enforcement to identify and handle potential sex trafficking cases.


    “Sex trafficking takes a devastating human toll on its victims, and its perpetrators prey upon some of the most vulnerable members of society.”


    Diane von Furstenberg

    Fashion Designer and Icon

    Diane von Furstenberg first entered the fashion world in 1970 with a suitcase full of jersey dresses. In 1974, she created the wrap dress, which came to symbolize power and independence for an entire generation of women. By 1976, over a million had sold. After a hiatus, Ms. von Furstenberg re-launched the iconic dress in 1997, reestablishing her company as a global luxury lifestyle brand. In 2005, Ms. von Furstenberg received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America. She was elected the organization’s president the following year. Ms. von Furstenberg also serves on the board of Culture Shed, a new center for artistic innovation. In 2014, she published a memoir, The Woman I Wanted to Be, and, in 2015, Ms. von Furstenberg was named one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People.


    “Treating humans as inventory is the most horrible thing I can think of.”


    Darren Walker

    President, Ford Foundation

    Darren Walker is the tenth President of the Ford Foundation, the second largest philanthropy in the United States. For more than two decades, he has been a leader in the non-profit and philanthropic sectors, starting with a local community and economic development initiative in Harlem, then shifting to global work on an array of social justice issues, including human rights, urban development, and free expression.


    “Sex trafficking anywhere is a threat to human dignity everywhere. All of us must stand up and lend our voice to this fight.”


    Jonathan Walton

    New York City Urban Project Director, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship


    Jonathan Walton is a missionary, poet, and activist serving with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship to develop leaders to help eliminate exploitation of people and the planet. He founded the We LOGOFF (Local, Green, Organic, Fair, Free) Movement.


    “To free people from physical and spiritual chains, we must be set free from our own physical and spiritual slavery. We cannot testify to a freedom we don't know for ourselves.”

    K. Shakira Washington

    Vice President, The National Crittenton Foundation


    Shira Washington’s work is focused on increasing awareness about the impact of violence on individual, family, community, and global health and social outcomes. Using community organizing, advocacy, and behavioral research, she seeks to bring the voices of those most impacted by violence to the center of efforts focused on social, economic, and systemic change.


    “Acts of violence against our most vulnerable are perhaps the oldest and most destructive forms of oppression. Expressed in many forms, violence is often used to justify, explain, and maintain systems of inequality and inequity - including the sexual exploitation of others. The impact of violence is perhaps the most understated and misunderstood influence on the human condition.”

    Charlotte A. Watson

    Executive Director, New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts


    Charlotte Watson is an architect of social change who has been a leader in the effort to end violence against women for decades. She has served as Executive Director of My Sisters’ Place, Executive Director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, the State Refugee Coordinator, and the Senior Advisor on Trafficking to the Governor of New York. As Legislative Chair of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, she led extraordinary change in New York

    State’s domestic violence laws. She currently serves as Executive Director of the New York State Judicial Committee on Women in the Courts for the New York State Unified Court System.


    “There can be no debate about the efficacy or legitimacy of prostitution as ‘sex work’ until women and men, girls and boys, have experienced a generation or more of sustained, full legal and social equality in the absence of poverty. Until then, prostitution is harm.”

    Jonathan Waxman

    Chef and Owner of Barbuto, New York City, and Adele’s, Nashville

    Chef, restaurateur, and author, Jonathan Waxman has graced such prestigious kitchens as Chez Panisse in Berkeley and Michael’s in Los Angeles. Mr. Waxman has since opened several of his own successful restaurants. Today, he is the chef and owner of Barbuto in Manhattan’s West Village. Giving back is important to Mr. Waxman, and he works closely with many charities, including City Meals on Wheels.


    “Slavery has always, and always will, produce insurrections where it exists because it is a violation of the natural order of things, and no human power can much longer perpetuate it.”
    — Angelina Grimké

    Jeanette Westbrook​


    Survivor of Sex Trafficking and Child Pornography, Social Worker,
    Human Rights Activist, Public Speaker, and Singer/Songwriter


    Tortured and trafficked for sex and pornography as a child by family members and others, Jeanette Westbrook is one of only a few survivors to have pursued a criminal prosecution against one of her traffickers as an adult, in 1992, due to Kentucky having no statute of limitations for this crime. Having earned a master’s degree in social work, Ms. Westbrook serves in that profession while advocating as an internationally recognized human rights activist, public speaker, and singer/songwriter. Her advocacy for empowerment and justice for exploited women and girls also includes serving for 14 years as a guest lecturer at Indiana University’s Criminal Justice Department.


    “Until we provide an accessible pathway to adjudication and hold buyers, pimps, and traffickers accountable, we will continue to reap the horrors of silenced exploitation. When silenced no more, we pull back the veil, speak our realities and truth, and demand freedom from all forms of exploitation.”

    Elizabeth Westling

    Homemaker, Mother, Historian, and Landscape Designer


    Whatever our station in life – our race, creed, ethnic origin, sexual identity or orientation – our common humanity binds us together and entitles each of us to a life of dignity and decency, free of compulsion by others or our circumstances. Standing together, we, the New Abolitionists, will be, in the words of Frederick Douglass, "freedom’s swift-winged angels" for all the men, women, and children who yet live under the yoke of this newest form of slavery: human trafficking.


    “Freedom hath been hunted around the Globe. . . . O! receive the fugitive, and prepare in time an asylum for mankind.”

    — Thomas Paine

    Olivia Wilde


    Actor, Director, Producer, and Activist


    Actor, director, producer, and activist Olivia Wilde is a renaissance woman. She most recently wrapped her Broadway debut in “1984” and production of films A Vigilante and Life Itself. She also produced and starred in Meadowland. Her credits include the Oscar winning drama Her, the Golden Globe nominated Rush, critically-acclaimed comedy Drinking Buddies, and HBO’s “Vinyl” and FOX’s “House.” Ms. Wilde has also produced several acclaimed documentary films. She co-founded the philanthropic company Conscious Commerce and was honored by Save the Children with their Advocate Award and named as an artist ambassador. She is also a board member of Artists for Peace and Justice and the ACLU of Southern California.


    "The ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people but the silence over that by the good people.

    Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Ann Wilkinson

    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Director of Mentor Services, My Life My Choice, and Activist


    As Director of Mentoring at My Life My Choice, a groundbreaking survivor-led organization fighting the sexual exploitation of adolescents, Ann Wilkinson arranges and supervises mentoring relationships between exploited youth and survivor mentors, to help girls build self-worth and the ability to trust, and pursue a safer path.


    "I remember believing that I would never be anything other than what my exploiter said I would be – for sale. I was wrong. Today, I serve as a living example for young victims of commercial sexual exploitation that they too can overcome any obstacle. I tell them that the exploitation that happened to them does not define them, that there is hope, and that the good in the world outweighs the bad. As a survivor, I can empower other young victims in their journey from victim to survivor to leader and, together, we can put an end to this horrific crime against children."

    Vanessa Williams


    Vanessa Williams is an actor who has appeared in numerous television series. She uses her public platform to support and advocate for causes that confront injustice and create positive social change. Ms. Williams serves as First Vice Chair on the Board of the Black Aids Institute—the only national HIV/AIDS think tank focused exclusively on black people. She is also an ambassador for A CALL TO MEN, the leading men’s organization committed to ending violence and discrimination against women and girls, and supports its mission to “create a world where all men and boys are loving and respectful and all women and girls are valued and safe!”


    “No person is your friend (or kin) who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow and be perceived as fully blossomed as you were intended.”
    — Alice Walker

    Shannon Wong

    County Legislator, 21st Legislative District, Orange County, New York

    Shannon Wong has been working to end violence against women for over twenty years. For over a decade, she worked at the YWCA, an organization whose mission is eliminating racism and empowering women. While there, she was the driving force behind local and statewide anti-trafficking efforts. Today, Ms. Wong continues to support the empowerment of women and girls in her position as an elected official.


    “We must recognize that trafficking is happening in our communities; the failure to do so is tantamount to failing victims.
    And we must address the cultural norms that create an atmosphere where people can buy and sell women and girls.”


    Shandra Woworuntu

    Survivor of Human Trafficking, Advocate, Speaker, and Lobbyist

    A Finance and Banking Management degree did not protect Shandra Woworuntu from falling into the clutches of vicious traffickers. Her daring escape and bravery in helping prosecute her traffickers began her fight against trafficking. As the founder of Mentari, a U.S. representative at Vital Voices, a participant at the first Federal Survivor Forum Listening Session at the White House, and as New Jersey’s Human Trafficking Commissioner, Ms. Woworuntu raises awareness, empowers survivors, and lobbies for more effective measures to fight trafficking.


    “Raising awareness through education is the best way to end human trafficking. I was trafficked in your backyard, in New York and in surrounding areas, and my experience taught me to make sure survivors are protected and receive proper help. I also want to see more effective anti-trafficking laws both implemented and enforced.”

    Gwen Wright


    Executive Director, New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence


    Gwen Wright was appointed as Executive Director of the New York State Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence by Governor Cuomo in 2013. She has been with the office for more than 20 years serving in many capacities and has overseen criminal justice and human services training and policy programs. Ms. Wright is also the former Executive Director of the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, a past President of the Pride Center of the Capital Region, and served on the Board of Directors of In Our Own Voices and A CALL TO MEN.

    “Modern slavery, what some call trafficking in humans, is antithetical to a society committed to freedom and justice! We have the power to end it, and we must use all of resources to do so!”

    Rebecca Zipkin


    Senior Staff Attorney, Sanctuary for Families


    Rebecca Zipkin is an attorney and advocate at Sanctuary for Families, where she works with survivors of gender based violence. In addition, Ms. Zipkin works on anti- trafficking policy and advocacy for Sanctuary for Families, advocating for state and federal anti-trafficking legislation. Prior to joining Sanctuary for Families, she was an Assistant District Attorney, prosecuting sex crimes and sex trafficking cases in New York City.


    “It’s time to end this demand driven human rights violation.”

  • Get Involved

    It's time to spread the word about human trafficking.

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  • Take Action

    Write or arrange to meet with your local law enforcement office and communicate the message that many if not most people in prostitution are victims of human trafficking and need assistance, protection, and help exiting the conditions of their exploitation. Urge law enforcement to shift their resources and priorities in order to hold accountable the sex buyers who are fuelling this $100 billion dollar industry.


    Make the issue of human trafficking a priority in your house of worship, school, work place, and community.


    Stay informed about human trafficking and help educate others.


    Please regularly visit the website of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women(CATW), a non-governmental organization that works to end human trafficking and the sexual exploitation of women and children worldwide. Visit CATW at: http://www.catwinternational.org


    Visit also the website for World Without Exploitation (WorldWE), the national anti-human trafficking coalition, to read powerful survivor stories, access research and statistics on human trafficking and sexual exploitation, and find action items that you can participate in to get further involved. Visit WorldWE at: http://worldwithoutexploitation.org


    For further resources and information visit:


    Sanctuary for Families: Sanctuary for Families is New York's leading service provider and advocate for survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and related forms of gender violence.


    ECPAT-USA: ECPAT-USA is the leading anti-trafficking policy organization in the United States.


    GEMS: Girls Educational and Mentoring Services’ (GEMS) mission is to empower girls and young women, ages 12–24, who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation and domestic trafficking to exit the commercial sex industry and develop to their full potential.


    Restore: Restore NYC’s mission is to end sex trafficking in New York and restore the well-being and independence of foreign national survivors.



    Additional resources to learn more about human trafficking in New York, nationwide, and globally:


    Each year, the U.S. Department of State publishes a comprehensive report on statistics as well as government programs aimed at prevention, protection and prosecution around the globe. This document is an invaluable resource for both governments and the general population: It provides a tool for international public policy actions by ranking each government in three Tiers based on its compliance with “minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking” as defined by the TVPA. It also provides a wealth of information for public education on all things related to trafficking, both domestic and foreign. Furthermore, the TIP Report provides a look at how the world is doing in the fight against trafficking by illustrating the progression of each set of statistics. Click this link for the 2018 TIP Report: https://www.state.gov/j/tip/rls/tiprpt/2018/​


    The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

    In 2003 the UN passed the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons (“The Protocol”). Human Trafficking falls under the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, which works with states around the world to develop stronger anti-trafficking laws and strategies. The UNODC hosts a section of pages on trafficking on its website, including pages on the facts and figures of human trafficking, prevention, protection and prosecution, tools and publications, and news and events. This website is an excellent resource for everything having to do with human trafficking on a global scale, condensed to a far more readable version than the extensive information contained in the TIP Report.


    The Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS)

    5.5 million children a year are victims of forced labor, and the average age girls are recruited by pimps into prostitution is 12 to 14, so clearly human trafficking can have an enormous impact on children and families. The OCFS provides a resource for child and family welfare workers so that they can better identify the signs that a child may be a victim of trafficking. This webpage provides a comprehensive overview of human trafficking as it relates to children, including the legal definition of trafficking, common myths about trafficking, average victim profiles, red flag signs of trafficking, a guide to interacting with victims, and law and protocols for protecting victims. The OCFS is one of eight agencies involved in the New York State Interagency Task Force on Human Trafficking.


    The Polaris Project: National Human Trafficking Resource Center (NHTRC)

    Established in 2002, Polaris is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and advocating for victims of human trafficking both individually and as a whole. Polaris operates a trafficking hotline, partners with local organizations throughout the U.S. to provide client services and works with law enforcement and the legislature to ensure the best standards of protection of the rights of victims. Their website includes overview pages on sex and labor trafficking, signs of trafficking, international trafficking and resources for further information.


    The U.S. Department of Justice

    The U.S. Department of Justice, specifically the Office of Legal Policy, coordinates the national effort to develop anti-trafficking strategies and laws. Their website contains links to informational resources on trafficking, statutes, policies and reports, as well as the various offices in the U.S. government dedicated to working to eradicate human trafficking.


    The Bureau of Justice Statistics
    The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics gathers national data on incidents of law

    enforcement and legal involvement in human trafficking. This document is one of many, but it provides a nice summary of the characteristics of human trafficking incidents in the U.S. 2008-2012. These statistics, illustrated through figures, demonstrate the scope of the problem of human trafficking in our country.


    The Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons


    Each year, the U.S. Attorney General provides a report to Congress on the state of the anti-trafficking effort throughout the country. This reports are quite extensive and have included sections on benefits and services given domestically to trafficking victims; immigration benefits for trafficking victims; investigations, prosecutions and sentences; international grants to combat trafficking; training and outreach; efforts of law enforcement; intra- and interagency coordination.


  • Who We Are

    Partners in the fight to end human trafficking.



    We wish to extend a huge thank you to the men and women who joined the ranks of New York’s New Abolitionists and participated in this portrait exhibition and book. We must first acknowledge Dorchen Leidholdt, the creative mastermind of the New Abolitionists project. This project would also not have been possible without its co-founder, Lynn Savarese, who photographed and produced the portraits of New York’s New Abolitionists and remains instrumental in organizing all of the New York’s New Abolitionists exhibitions. Without the generous financial support of Lynn and John Savarese, this project would not have been possible. Special recognition goes to Lauren Hersh, who has contributed to all aspects of this project. A huge debt of gratitude is owed to Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz for its extraordinary generosity in producing this book, with special thanks to Thomas Iorizzo and Ed Allie, who spearheaded the book’s production. We also wish to express our deep appreciation to Taina Bien-Aimé, Debra Martin Chase, Stephanie Schwartz Ferdman, Rachel Foster, and Stacey Morse for enlisting so many iconic individuals to sign on as New Abolitionists and for their sage counsel throughout the project. We wish to thank Rachel Foster and Taylor Gamble for their herculean efforts in preparing the publications for this project. We also thank Taylor Gamble for coordinating the social media campaign and creating important presentation materials. We appreciate Rebecca Zipkin for her assistance. Louise C. Leidholdt has earned special mention for her superb copyediting and proofreading. We thank Carl Saytor at Luxlab for his exquisite prints of the New Abolitionist portraits. 


    Copyright Information
    The photograph of Diane von Furstenberg appearing herein was kindly provided by the photographer Fabrizio Ferri, who holds the copyright and exclusive rights to the photograph. This photograph cannot be used for any purpose without prior consent. Photographer Kate Garner and Yoko Ono provided Ms. Ono’s photograph for this book and exhibition. Ms.Ono holds the copyright and exclusive rights to the photograph, which cannot be used for any purpose without her prior consent.   All of the other photographs appearing herein were taken by the photographer, Lynn Savarese, are also protected by copyright, and cannot be used for any purpose without her prior consent.