Marian Hatcher has worked for the Cook County, Illinois Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) for 14 years currently serving as human trafficking policy analyst and victim advocate. She coordinates CCSO’s anti-trafficking efforts such as the “National Johns Suppression Initiative,” a nationwide effort with over 100 arresting agencies and more than 200 partners targeting sex buyers as the driving force of sex trafficking and prostitution. She also coordinates and provides direct service for victims of human trafficking, on call 24/7. Hatcher has provided training to local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigations and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Senator Richard Durbin honored her as part of Black History Month, 2018, in the Congressional Record. Last year, Hatcher was granted Executive Clemency by Governor Bruce Rauner for drug and prostitution offenses related to her exploitation. Hatcher’s story of survival and policy leadership have been featured in numerous documentaries including Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Prostitution: Leaving the Life”; Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof’s “A Path Appears”; Mary Mazzio’s “I am Jane Doe”; The Guardian’s “The Trap: The Deadly Sex Trafficking Cycle in American Prisons” and, most recently, “From Liberty to Captivity.” She received the 2016 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service from President Barack Obama. In 2014, she was awarded Shared Hope International’s Path Breaker Award, presented to dedicated policy makers tackling the demand that drives domestic minor sex trafficking.
Alisa L. Bernard
Alisa Bernard is director of education and partnerships for the Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS), Seattle, Washington, managing the organization with two co-directors. For OPS, she focuses on community engagement and education regarding sexual exploitation, as well as partnerships, fund development, and policy advocacy. She developed a unique online skill building and empowerment mentoring series for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation (CSE). Since exiting prostitution, she has advised organizations and agencies across the U.S. including Demand Abolition and the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. She is a member of King County’s Ending Exploitation Collaborative team, serves as a member of King County’s CSEC Taskforce, and sits on the SAFE in Washington advisory board. She is an MPA candidate at The University of Washington. Her commentary has been featured in The Seattle Times and other online and print media.
Allison Franklin offers support and direct mentorship to women, men, and children who are survivors of sexual exploitation and the commercial sex industry. Her involvement began in Texas, but she is now called on across the country, as a speaker and survivor consultant for the National Criminal Justice Training Center. One area of expertise is the co-morbidity of drug abuse and mental health issues with sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. Franklin works with numerous stakeholders to find innovative solutions to abolish modern slavery.
Audrey Morrissey is associate director of the My Life My Choice in Boston, Massachusetts, and the director of the National Survivor Leadership Program at My Life My Choice. She also serves as the primary national trainer for the organization. Morrissey created My Life My Choice’s Survivor Mentoring Program in 2004 as the first survivor leader formally selected to mentor adolescent girls in Massachusetts. As a local and national leader in the field of exploitation, Ms. Morrissey has served as Co-Chair of the Victim Services Committee of the Massachusetts Task Force on Human Trafficking and as a primary consultant to the Massachusetts Administrative Office of the Trial Court’s “Redesigning the Court’s Response to Prostitution” project. Morrissey is a 2008 recipient of the prestigious Petra Foundation Fellowship and a 2012 recipient of The Philanthropic Initiative’s Boston Neighborhood Fellows Award.
Beth Jacobs is a survivor of child sex trafficking who earned a degree in social work, leading to over 15 years helping victims of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation become survivors and leaders. She spearheaded the Offenders’ Prostitution Program (John school) in St. Paul Minnesota; started Willow Way in Tucson, Arizona, to help sexually exploited people; and collaborated with county courts and police in Arizona to create Project Raise, as an alternative to jail for prostituted and sex trafficked people. At the national and state levels, she has advocated for more effective legislation, especially to update laws against human trafficking. She is a National Survivor Network policy champion and has worked for the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking (ATEST). Jacobs is a field trainer for Truckers Against Trafficking as well as a field instructor for social work students at Winona State University and the Alfred Adler Institute. Jacobs was a speaker at the first International Meeting for Human Trafficking Survivors held in Cali, Columbia in 2014.
As an activist and survivor, Cherie Jimenez used her own experiences to develop the EVA Center, Boston, Massachusetts (evacenter.org), a survivor-led exit program for women caught in systems of prostitution and sex trafficking, which she founded in 2006. Today, in partnership with the City of Boston, it provides one of the few survivor-run emergency housing programs in the United States. Jimenez is a member of SPACE, an international group of survivors working toward an end to sexual exploitation by advocating for passage of Nordic Model legislation. She has traveled internationally with other survivors to educate policymakers since SPACE began in 2012. Through the EVA Center, Jimenez is an active member of the Paris-based Coalition to Abolish Prostitution, which brings together 23 organizations from 18 countries to create a world free from commercial sexual exploitation.
Kathi Hardy founded Freedom From Exploitation (FFE) in 2002 to create change in San Diego County, California, for people exploited and victimized by the sex industry. It is one of the oldest survivor founded, survivor led organizations in the U.S. The organization grew out of Hardy’s work with the San Diego City Attorney’s Office, where she served as a peer advocate and created a recovery group program. Today, women and girls are referred to FFE by the superior courts of San Diego, juvenile court, probation officers, attorneys, and social workers. Girls from the child protection system have also been served by FFE as well as transgender Latino women who participated in a unique pilot program. For the last two years, FFE has worked closely with women incarcerated and under detention using a 10-lesson curriculum written by human trafficking victims for trafficking victims called “Ending the Game.”
Dr. Marlene Carson is a victim, survivor, minister, and founder of Rahab’s Hideaway in Columbus, Ohio. At age 15 she became one of the thousands of girls and young women exploited daily. Through faith in Christ and sound biblical teaching, Marlene’s misery became a ministry to hurting teen girls and women who seek to be free. Rehab’s Hideaway, founded in 2008, is a restorative housing program that provides critical solutions and a way out for those who have become victims of human trafficking. Carson’s work has been featured by the CNN Freedom Project as well as on the Oprah Winfrey Show. She has educated audiences around the world about the scope and nature of human trafficking; trafficking routes, trends, and patterns; and rule of law issues such as corruption, money laundering, pimp control, and transnational criminal activity.
Nicole Bell is the founder and chief executive officer of Living in Freedom Together, Inc. (LIFT), a survivor-led, non-profit organization based in Worcester, Massachusetts, dedicated to helping individuals exit and recover from commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking. Her focus began with women who were exploited in street-level prostitution, recognizing the lack of appropriate, compassionate, and individualized services available. Bell provides direct service and advocacy. She is in the process of opening a treatment program for survivors who are suffering with Substance Use Disorder. Bell also serves as co-chair of the Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (WAASE); sits on the Executive Council for World Without Exploitation; co-facilitates the DAWN (Developing Alternatives for Women Now) program, and the CARD (Community Action to Reduce Demand) program. Bell has received numerous awards for her work including: Worcester Magazine’s Hometown Hero, WAASE Advocate of the Year 2016, and Worcester Woman of Consequence 2016. She is featured in The Guardian’s recent documentary “The Trap: The Deadly Sex Trafficking Cycle in American Prisons.”
Rebecca Bender is the founder and CEO of the Rebecca Bender Initiative (RBI, www.rebeccabender.org). After escaping nearly six years of human trafficking, she wrote her first book, Roadmap to Redemption, followed by her recent curriculum “Elevate.” RBI's advanced training has equipped the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Former President Jimmy Carter, local law enforcement, medical professionals, service providers, and faith communities across America. Bender serves as an advisor to both the Oregon Department of Justice Human Trafficking Council and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She is also the recipient of the Female Overcomer Award, Unlikely Hero Award, Hero to our Generation Award and multiple FBI and Congressional recognitions. Bender has been featured on the Today Show and NBC Deadline Crimes, as well as in Forbes, Huffington Post, and Sports Illustrated. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their four daughters, and is currently finishing her Master’s degree.
Rebekah Charleston is executive director of Valiant Hearts, a Texas-based non-profit dedicated to eradicating sexual exploitation. She is also a consultant with the National Criminal Justice Training Center, an honors graduate student, an advocate for victims of human trafficking, and a mother. At the age of 17, she ran away and became a victim of human trafficking for more than ten years. She had multiple traffickers and was not able to escape until federal authorities finally became involved. In 2012, she completed a program offered by Valiant Hearts. Charleston is the recipient of the Survivor Leader Award in 2016, and has been featured in many media accounts of human trafficking including Deadline Crimes.
Shamere McKenzie is the chief executive officer for Sun Gate Foundation, an anti-trafficking organization that provides educational opportunities for survivors of human trafficking. She is also co-chair of the victim’s services committee of the Maryland State Human Trafficking Task Force. This year, McKenzie responded to a call from the Ministry of Justice in her birthplace, Jamaica, and currently serves as an ambassador for Jamaica in the fight against human trafficking. She has trained a variety of professionals on how to identify and respond to victims of human trafficking, including the FBI, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, as well as churches, hotels and airline staff. A documentary featuring her experience in sex trafficking “False Promises” was released in Aruba last September. She serves on the speaker’s bureau for the Fredrick Douglas Family Initiative and Survivors of Slavery organizations. Shamere is member of the National Survivor Network, the GEMS Survivor Leadership Institute, the Survivor Alliance and a mentor to survivors of sex trafficking. McKenzie is a 2015 graduate of Loyola University Chicago with her Bachelor of Science degree in criminology and criminal justice
Vednita Carter founded Breaking Free in St. Paul, Minnesota, whose mission is to end all forms of prostitution and sex trafficking. She has extensive experience in developing, planning, and implementing programs for sex trafficked women and girls and training law enforcement, including the FBI. She was awarded the prestigious Norma Hotaling Award for her life-long service to victims of sex trafficking. She has traveled to Europe, Southeast Asia, and South America to educate service providers and community members about Breaking Free's pioneering work and to help others create similar programs. In 2016 Carter received “The Life Time Achievement Award” from President Obama for the outstanding work she has done over the 25 years to end the sex trafficking of women and girls. In 2014, Vednita was awarded the Path Breaker Award from Shared Hope International for her tireless efforts to reduce the demand for commercial sex and was named a CNN Hero for her work in ending sexual exploitation of women and girls in the US. In 2015 Vednita Carter graduated from the CICA International University and Seminary and received an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity, Ambassador-at-Large and Chaplaincy. The school is the first and only full gospel organization with special status with the United Nations.
Survivors of prostitution propose a policy reform platform including three main pillars of priority: criminal justice reforms, fair employment, and standards of care. The sexual exploitation of prostituted individuals has lasting effects which can carry over into many aspects of life. In order to remedy these effects and give survivors the opportunity to live a full and free life, we must use a survivor-centered approach to each of these pillars to create change. First, reform is necessary in the criminal justice system to recognize survivors as victims of crime and not perpetrators, while holding those who exploited them fully responsible. Second, reform is necessary to assist survivors in finding fair employment by offering vocational training, financial counseling, and educational scholarships, as well as offering employment opportunities that utilize survivors’ vast array of skills and interests. Finally, standards of care for survivors exiting prostitution should focus on supporting survivors in our journeys and support short- and long-term resources that empower us. These systemic changes are necessary to recognize survivors as the valuable human beings we are and to support survivors in fulfilling our vast potential.
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.
Hatcher, Marian; Bernard, Alisa L.; Franklin, Allison; Morrissey, Audrey; Jacobs, Beth; Jimenez, Cherie; Hardy, Kathi; Carson, Marlene; Bell, Nikki; Bender, Rebecca; Charleston, Rebekah; McKenzie, Shamere; and Carter, Vednita
"Exited Prostitution Survivor Policy Platform,"
Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence:
3, Article 10.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol3/iss3/10
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