JOHN COTTON RICHMOND Ambassador-At-Large Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking In Persons October 1, 2018 – Present
John Cotton Richmond serves as the United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and leads the Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. In October 2018, the Senate unanimously confirmed him and President Trump appointed him to lead the United States’ global engagement to combat human trafficking and support the coordination of anti- trafficking efforts across the U.S. government.
Ambassador Richmond comes to the highest position in the federal government dedicated to combating human trafficking after a distinguished career in the global battle for freedom. He co-founded the Human Trafficking Institute that exists to decimate modern slavery at its source by empowering police and prosecutors to use victim-centered and trauma-informed methods to hold traffickers accountable and ensure survivors are treated with respect and care.
Prior to the Institute, Ambassador Richmond served, for more than ten years, as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit where he was named one of the “Federal Prosecutors of the Year” by the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation. He investigated and prosecuted numerous victim-centered labor and sex trafficking cases throughout the United States. He also prosecuted cross burnings, police misconduct, and neo-Nazi hate crimes cases. Ambassador Richmond regularly served as an expert to the United Nations Working Group on Trafficking in Persons. He also lived in India for three years pioneering International Justice Mission’s anti-slavery work.
Ambassador Richmond’s work to combat human trafficking has earned numerous honors, including receiving the David Allred Award for Exceptional Contributions to Civil Rights, twice earning the Department of Homeland Security’s Outstanding Investigative Accomplishments in a Human Trafficking Award, as well as twice receiving the Department of Justice’s Special Commendation Award.
Ambassador Richmond has trained judges, prosecutors, federal agents, law enforcement officers, and non-governmental organizations on effective, proactive human trafficking investigative and prosecutorial strategies. He also taught Human Trafficking Law, Policy, and Litigation at Pepperdine School of Law and Vanderbilt Law School. In 2018, while at the Human Trafficking Institute, he co-authored the first Federal Human Trafficking Report that collected and analyzed all the active federal human trafficking cases in the United States. Ambassador Richmond earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington and his Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law.
Jessica Kim is a graduate from PLNU and a Master in Social Work Candidate. Jessica is a human trafficking survivor’s advocate with almost 10 years of experience in prevention, education, research, and public speaking. After she escaped 10 years of sexual exploitation under the control of her step-father, she found freedom through education. Passionate about learning and books, Jessica now uses her knowledge and life experience to educate and inspire a wide range of audiences, including teens, survivors, researchers, teachers, counselors, social workers, and law enforcement. Through her work with San Diego Child Welfare Services, she developed expertise in System Dynamics, a program designed to tackle dynamic social issues with innovative, design-driven, and transdisciplinary solutions. She is currently in the development stage of Onramps, a multidisciplinary, collaborative effort to build financial opportunities to independence for survivors of trafficking. She is vice president of the Survivor Leader Network of San Diego and on the advisory board as the Survivor Voice for The San Diego Regional Human Trafficking & the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Advisory Council. We are privileged to host Jessica Kim as a Keynote speaker for our 2020 HT-RADAR Conference.
Danna Basson, PhD, MPP, is WestCoast Children’s Clinic’s Director of Research and Evaluation. Since joining WestCoast in 2012, she has conducted research to further understand the needs and strengths of sexually exploited children. She is the lead author on a community-based research study, Research to Action: Sexually Exploited Minors (SEM) Needs and Strengths, which is a clinical profile of sexually exploited youth. She is the Principal Investigator of the project to develop and validate WestCoast’s Commercial Sexual Exploitation – Identification Tool (CSE-IT). She is currently leading a study on how patterns of exposure to trauma are related to mental health needs. Dr. Basson has presented internationally on her work pertaining to sexually exploitated youth and the needs of vulnerable youth.
Dr. Vanessa Bouché is an Associate Professor of Political Science at TCU. She has been a principal investigator on several federally-funded human trafficking projects totaling over $1 million and is the founder of HumanTraffickingData.org, a searchable database of federally-prosecuted human trafficking cases in the U.S. Dr. Bouché has conducted public opinion research on human trafficking in the U.S., Moldova, and Albania, and designed and deployed trauma informed surveys with survivors of human trafficking in the U.S. and Honduras. She consults with a variety of organizations, and has been an invited speaker by dozens of agencies nationally and internationally. With her husband, Dr. Bouché co-founded Savhera, an essential oil company employing sex trafficking survivors in India and the U.S. She has received the Young Leader Award from the Texas Women’s Foundation, the Hero Award from Unlikely Heroes, and the Great Woman of Texas Award from Fort Worth Business Press.
Katherine Bright is a PhD student at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University-Newark. She managed the Bureau of Justice Statistics Human Trafficking Reporting System database and has served as a field researcher and project manager on several NIJ funded grants focused on labor trafficking and/or the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Alongside these academic positions, Katherine also worked in clinical roles for nearly a decade, specifically with teen mothers, their children, and male foster care youth. These direct service positions have helped train Katherine to engage and build trust with hard-to-reach populations, often interviewing persons with severe trauma histories and/or those living with a mental health diagnosis. Her primary research interests include human trafficking and CSEC, the emergence of artificial sex workers, gender and sexual violence, race disparities in the perception of victimization and developing youth partnership models in research. Katherine’s current research is focused on a pilot project that follows 29 formerly incarcerated adults for 3 ½ months, exploring the impact of incarceration on the health and well-being on LGBTQ persons.
Carpenter, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies at the University of San Diego where she teaches courses in conflict resolution, conflict analysis, and negotiation. Carpenter studies the drivers of violence and sources of community resilience. She has conducted research and practice in Iraq, Mexico, Guatemala, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and San Diego. Carpenter has been awarded two federal grants, one in 2012 to examine the nature and scope of gang-involved sex trafficking (NIJ 2012-R2-CX-0028) and one in 2016 to support resilience among Iraqi and East African refugees in San Diego and El Cajon (DHS-16-OCP-132-00-01). Carpenter advises several international peacebuilding organizations (U.S. Institute of Peace, Interpeace) including global research consortium The RESOLVE Network, and local violence prevention networks including the San Diego Human and Child Sex Trafficking Advisory Council, the San Diego Trafficking Prevention Collective, and 1-5 Freedom Network in Orange County.
Dr. Christina Crenshaw is a professor, researcher, writer, and human trafficking fighter. She teaches faith and writing, vocational leadership, and human trafficking courses as a Lecturer at Baylor University. She has also co-published and presented on human trafficking curriculum research in peer reviewed journals and at academic conferences. Dr. Crenshaw recently completed a Cultural Engagement and Leadership Fellow with Dallas Theological Seminary’s Hendricks Center, which focused on how The Church engages social justice related issues, such as human trafficking, for the sake for the common good. For the last five years, Dr. Crenshaw has worked with several anti-trafficking organizations such as The A21 Campaign, UnBound Now, The Texas Governor’s Human Trafficking Task Force, The Heart of Texas Human Trafficking Coalition, and Operation Mobilization’s Freedom Climb. Prior to moving to Waco, TX, she lived in Southern California and held an Assistant Professor position in English Education at California Baptist University. Dr. Crenshaw dedicated the first four years of her career to teaching as a high school English teacher. Those early experiences birthed a soft spot in her heart for vulnerable youth.
- Scott, L., Crenshaw, C. (2019). Not in my city!: How Central Texas teachers equip students with human trafficking prevention and awareness curriculum. Journal of Educational Leadership. (53)1-19.
- Scott, L., Cresnahw, C (2017). : Examining A21 curriculum’s impact on students’ knowledge, attitudes, and advocacy about anti-Human trafficking rights and issues. Journal of Human Trafficking, (38)1-18.
- Crenshaw, C. & et. al. (2014). Bodies are not commodities Texas Version: Anti-human trafficking curriculum. The A21 Campaign.
Sarah Godoy, MSW, is a Research Associate and a Lecturer at UCLA. Currently, she is the Co-Investigator of a pilot study adapting and piloting a reproductive and sexual health curriculum for youth with histories of commercial sexual exploitation in Los Angeles County’s foster care system. She is also the project manager of a mixed-methods, NIH-funded study examining the healthcare needs and trajectories of youth impacted by commercial sexual exploitation in the juvenile justice and child welfare systems. Sarah was a policy associate for the National Center for the Youth Law’s Collaborative Responses to Commercial Sexual Exploitation Initiative. She served as the lead researcher and copy editor of the Digital Technologies Initiative at UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation. She conducted preliminary research in the red-light district of Tijuana, Mexico and practiced social work with women and children in the brothels of Old Delhi, India’s red-light district. She worked directly with youth impacted by exploitation at the non-profit organization Saving Innocence. She has published in Forbes, underscoring the intersection of sex trafficking and technology; and co-authored peer-reviewed publications on youth experiencing commercial sexual exploitation. She is a board member to the non-profit organization Women Wonder Writers.
Dr. Kimberly Majeski is a scholar, storyteller and activist who has been in full-time preaching ministry for more than twenty years. She is an ordained pastor in the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana and serves as the Associate Professor of Biblical Studies and Christian Ministries at Anderson University.Kimberly’s scholarship is featured on the History Channel, A&E, and in many books, articles and publications. She lives at the heart of the justice movement as an activist and the leader of Stripped Love, a non profit serving victims of sex trafficking. A widely sought after preacher herself, Kimberly brings her years of front line experience and academic preparation to the Preacher Girl School experience, an online community and digital course for women in ministry.
Gonzalo Martinez de Vedia is the Program Manager for the Buffett-McCain Institute Initiative to Combat Modern Slavery, a comprehensive program to counter labor trafficking in the agricultural sector in Texas. Previously, he served as a Senior Policy Associate at Humanity United, where he helped manage the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, and as a Human Trafficking Specialist for the Worker Justice Center of New York, where led targeted outreach to high-risk workplaces, and led several multiagency anti-trafficking task forces. Martinez has also served as a Human Rights Commissioner for the County of Ulster, New York, and Policy Co-chair for Freedom Network USA. He has informed rights-related coverage for NPR Weekend Edition, This American Life, and the New York Times, among many other national and local media outlets. Martinez was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He holds a Bachelor’s degree cum laude from Cornell University, where he was the Founding President of the Immigrant Farmworker Initiative, and a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Arizona State University. His latest publication — Labor Trafficking: The Garcia Case and Beyond — is in print with the Lawyers and Judges Publishing Company in Phoenix.
Arduizur Carli Richie-Zavaleta, DrPH, MASP, MAIPS, is a faculty member in the Graduate and Professional Studies Program of the University of New England—MPH Online program. She earned a doctoral degree in public health with an emphasis in community health and prevention from the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University. Her national and international diverse academic and professional background also includes sociological practices and human rights studies. Her research focuses on deepening the understanding of those who have experienced gender-violence such as trafficking, among other vulnerable populations and their intersections with risk behaviors and access to healthcare services. Her goal is to inform best practices and policy at the local and state level. Dr. Richie-Zavaleta’s academic and community work aligns with her advocacy efforts through educating the public about the complexities of accessing healthcare for patient-victims of sex trafficking as well as sharing possible ways to narrow the gaps on research and medical services and best practices. She currently supports the work of the Research Committee for the San Diego County Human Trafficking & CSEC Advisory Council as an alternate co-chair and consultant.
Argentina E. Servin, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health, Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Dr. Servin is a bilingual and bicultural clinician-researcher with training in preventive medicine, infectious disease and clinical epidemiology. Her work has included assessing sexual and reproductive health education and health service utilization among vulnerable underserved populations living in the U.S.-Mexico border region. For the past two years, specifically, she has focused her research on sexual violence, substance abuse and HIV/STI risk, among at-risk youth, female sex workers (FSWs), children of FSWs, and people who inject drugs (PWID) in the United States, Mexico and Central America.
Hanni Stoklosa, MD, MPH, is the Executive Director of HEAL Trafficking, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Dr. Stoklosa is an internationally-recognized expert, advocate, researcher, and speaker on the wellbeing of trafficking survivors in the U.S. and internationally through a public health lens. She has advised the United Nations, International Organization for Migration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of State, and the National Academy of Medicine on issues of human trafficking and testified as an expert witness multiple times before the U.S. Congress. She has conducted research on trafficking and persons facing the most significant social, economic, and health challenges in a diversity of settings including Australia, China, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Liberia, Nepal, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, South Sudan, Taiwan, and Thailand. Dr. Stoklosa published the first textbook addressing the public health response to trafficking, “Human Trafficking Is a Public Health Issue, A Paradigm Expansion in the United States.”
Dr. Lianne A. Urada is Assistant Professor at San Diego State University School of Social Work and an adjunct faculty at UC San Diego Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health and Center on Gender Equity and Health. She co-chairs the Research Subcommittee of the San Diego Regional Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) Advisory Council. Dr. Urada, with social work graduate student co-investigators Lauren Azar, Christian Cacho, and John Kennon, will explore the extent of and intersections between human trafficking (sex trade and sexual exploitation), housing instability, and food insecurity among San Diego State University students. Participants in the study (SDSU students/alumni, stakeholders) were recruited via posted fliers and snowball sampling to participate in an online survey and/or in-depth interviews. Themes include the influence of stigma in seeking help and the correlation between sexual exploitation and college Greek organization affiliation. Results may inform interventions to prevent recidivism (homelessness, human trafficking, academic probation) and to increase awareness about sexual exploitation and human trafficking on college campuses.
Rachel VerWys’ experience roots itself in a variety of communities from Southern California to Western Michigan. She is the Co-Creator and Executive Director of SEE: Solutions to End Exploitation a collective impact organization which utilizes collective storytelling research, facilitates cross sector collaboration with the Kent County Area Human Trafficking Coalition, and strategizes for creative possibility to create a future free from human trafficking. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Calvin University and consulted with organizations for strategic planning and community listening. Her formal education includes a BSW degree (Calvin University) and an MSW degree (University of Southern California) with an emphasis in community organizing, planning and administration. She has been a part of holistic community development on multiple levels, in her own neighborhood, city, and the broader community. Her vocational areas of focus include: facilitation, social enterprise, collaboration building, and innovative organizational development. She co-conspires in life with her husband of 20 years, Ryan, and each day they are schooled by their 4 lovely children.
Missy Weismann is the Research and Intelligence Director at Solutions to End Exploitation in Grand Rapids, MI. She is also an ongoing contributing consultant with Praesidium Partners, a research organization, utilizing her specific expertise in digital intelligence collection and national Law Enforcement and criminal justice partner engagement around human trafficking networks and the illicit massage industry. Her work focuses on understanding the nuances of Human trafficking as a criminal enterprise and applying this knowledge to community impact and change on both micro and macro levels. Counter human trafficking became her passion after living and working in sub-Saharan Africa brought her face to face with complex issues swirling around the crime of human trafficking.
Celia Williamson, PhD., MSW is the Director of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute at the University of Toledo and host of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference. Dr. Williamson has 25 years of experience working with victims, organizing anti-trafficking coalitions and commissions, and received ten years of federal funding from the NIH and/or DOJ, and five years of state and foundation funding to conduct prostitution and trafficking research.
Elaine Miller-Karas, MSW, LCSW, is the co-founder and Director of Innovation, Vision, and Creativity for the Trauma Resource Institute. She is the author of the book, Building Resiliency to Trauma, the Trauma and Community Resiliency Models® (2015). She has worked internationally to bring healing to the world’s community. Her models to date have been brought to 102 countries in Asia, Africa, North America, the Mid-East, Central America, South America and Europe. She is a recognized international speaker and author and has presented the Community Resiliency Model® at the Skoll World Forum and the United Nations. Elaine’s book was selected recently by the United Nations curated on-line library as one of the innovations that can help meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Elaine is a founding member of the International Transformational Resilience Coalition and a leading advocate with regard to the impact of climate change on the human condition. She is a Senior Consultant to Emory University’s SEE Learning program, inspired by and launched by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New Delhi, India in April 2019. She is also on faculty at Loma Linda University’s School of Social Work.
Michael Sapp, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and the Chief Executive Officer of the Trauma Resource Institute. Dr. Sapp has worked with TRI since 2010 and as a Trauma Resiliency Model® and Community Resiliency Model® Senior Trainer, he has helped train clinicians and non-clinician community leaders both domestically and internationally. He has helped provide trainings throughout the U.S., including California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York, and North Carolina. Likewise, he has helped provide trainings internationally, including England, Germany, Iceland, Nepal, Northern Ireland, the Philippines, and Turkey. Dr. Sapp co-authored a chapter with Elaine Miller-Karas entitled, “The Nervous System, Memory, and Trauma” in Ms. Miller-Karas’ book Building Resilience to Trauma: The Trauma and Community.