Materials, including video links, from STAC’s training and other resources on human trafficking education, will be posted here.

Human Trafficking Survivors and the Florida Juvenile Justice System

Presented on Friday, November 20, 2020

What happens when children who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation or whose labor has been exploited become involved with the juvenile justice system? This presentation introduces audiences to human trafficking in Florida and describes what happens when juvenile trafficking victims encounter the juvenile justice system. The audience will learn about how the juvenile justice and child welfare systems team up to identify possible victims, the statewide structure guiding anti-trafficking policy for exploited children, and considerations specific to 2020 and the ongoing pandemic.

Our Panelists

Dr. Jasmine Armstrong has worked for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice since 2017 in the Office of Research and Data Integrity as a research analyst for a study exploring crime characteristics of juveniles who commit sexually-related offenses. She currently serves as the Human Trafficking Intervention Coordinator for FDJJ. Prior to her employment with DJJ, Dr. Armstrong has studied societal differences in marginalized youth and young adults. Her research interests include social stratification, race/gender studies, intersectionality, and higher education. She holds a Ph.D. and MS in Sociology from Florida State University and a BA in Sociology from the University of Florida.

Katherine C. Gomez (she/her) currently serves as the Director of Human Trafficking Intervention for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice (FDJJ). She holds a BA from the University of Florida, an MA from the University of South Florida, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Central Florida. She has served Florida since 2006 as a juvenile probation officer, trainer, researcher, and administrator. She specializes in working with youth who have experienced human trafficking, sexually marginalized youth, youth who have committed sexually-related offenses, and high-profile multijurisdictional cases.


Florida State University Has Launched A New Online Professional Certification in Human Trafficking Prevention and Intervention

Florida State University has launched a new online Professional Certification in Human Trafficking Prevention and Intervention. This curriculum was developed as a joint project of the FSU Clearinghouse on Trauma & Resilience within the Institute for Family Violence Studies, the College of Social Work, the FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and the Center on Academic and Professional Advancement. The curriculum enables professionals to develop their knowledge and skills needed to understand the dynamics of the different types of human trafficking. It also provides professionals with practical skills to increase awareness of and improve services and interventions for victims/survivors of trafficking. 

This self-paced curriculum includes seven chapters and 12 hours of course content with research-based readings, case scenarios, multi-media materials, 11 new videos from experts in the field, assignments, and quizzes. 

This certification is designed for: 

  • Human Trafficking Professionals, Coalition and Task Force Members 
  • Social Services Providers, Human Resources Staff, Victim Advocates, & Child Welfare Staff 
  • Counselors, Psychologists, Social Workers, & Guardians ad Litem 
  • First Responders: Law Enforcement Officers, Firefighters, & EMS 
  • Medical Professionals: Physicians, & Nurses 
  • Lawyers, Judges, & Legal Assistants 
  • Clergy Members 
  • Criminal justice officers and administrators 
  • Teachers & Higher Education Administrators 
  • Pre-K-12 Teachers and administrators 
  • Media Professionals 

The benefits of this certification include: 

  • Enhancing your professional knowledge and skills, and expanding your ability to further the mission of your agency, task force, or coalition. 
  • A deeper understanding of the dynamics of the most common types of human trafficking. 
  • Learning about public health, multi-disciplinary approach to prevention of human trafficking. 
  • Knowledge of the state and federal laws designed to protect both child and adult victim/survivors of human trafficking, and to hold traffickers accountable. 
  • Learning the effect of trauma on victim/survivors, preventing trafficking in vulnerable adults, and trauma-informed justice solutions. 
  • Providing professionals with knowledge of innovative survivor-centered law enforcement, judicial, human services, and community services. 

Advocating to End Human Trafficking: Justice, Equality and Economic Security for All

DESCRIPTION: Human trafficking does not happen in a vacuum – it is a reality keenly felt by those who are most vulnerable on account of inequality, age, discrimination, violence, and economic insecurity, and who often lack access to healthcare, education, good jobs, and other social supports. Children are particularly vulnerable and at-risk. Connecting the dots between societal inequality and human trafficking victimization is easy: creating change in a world rife with inequity is not. This program will explore ways all of us can make a difference to support the vulnerable and help build a better and more just world for those at-risk for being trafficked. We will also highlight actions we can all take and to help prevent trafficking and support child and adult survivors to heal and thrive during this time of COVID-19 and beyond. 

PRESENTERS: Sabrina Rodriguez de Conte is passionate about civic engagement, social justice, and advocacy for underserved communities. Sabrina has worked for various causes and nonprofit organizations including PACE Center for Girls, Leon County Humane Society, and Office Depot Foundation. She has a Bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Colorado in Boulder and is currently pursuing a Juris Doctor degree at Florida State University College of Law.

Sabrina is a board member of the Survive & Thrive Advocacy Center and works to build awareness of the realities of human trafficking in and around the local community. As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Sabrina is an advocate for LGBTQ+ equity and inclusion and is a student member of the National LGBT Bar Association. In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys spending time with her wife, Christy, and son, Journey, at the beach or on the trails.

Pastor Douglas McArthur Harris is a visionary pastor, leader, social activist, and teacher engrossed in preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and committed to economic justice and empowerment in underserved communities. He has been in ministry for over 20 years and serves as the senior pastor of Midway Unity Fellowship Church in Midway, Florida. He graduated from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he received his bachelor’s degree in biology. After his enrollment in Jacksonville Theological Seminary, he achieved his master’s degree and is now pursuing his doctorate in theology.

Retired as a regional specialist with the Florida Education Association for 25 years, he was president of the Gadsden Education Foundation in Quincy, Florida, where he would oversee and guide decision-making efforts to award educational assistance grants to teachers. He is the founder of Revive to Rebuild Ministries, serves on the Gadsden Pregnancy Center Board, the Executive Committee Gadsden County Baptist Association, and the Nomination Committee Florida Baptist.

Cecka Rose Green, CPM For nearly three decades, Cecka Rose Green, CPM, enjoyed a notable communications career locally, statewide, and nationally. Currently, she serves as Regional Executive Director for the Big Bend – Tallahassee Area for Children’s Home Society of Florida. CHS programs in the Region include foster care, adoption, and independent living case management; Child Protection Team and Child Advocacy Center; Sexual Abuse Treatment Counseling Program; Early Steps; and Sabal Palm Elementary Community Partnership School™.

Past positions include Director of Communications at LeadingAge Florida; Communications Director for Florida Housing Finance Corporation; Director of Communications for Voices for Florida’s Children; Vice-President/Director of Communications for P&P Communications, Inc.; and Deputy Communications Director for the Florida Department of Children and Families. She has been quoted in USA TodayThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times and The Miami Herald, in addition to in multiple broadcast, internet and print platforms.

Cecka is a former chair of the City of Tallahassee’s Community Improvement Advisory Council, and she served as a member of the Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. Most recently, she was selected as one of “25 Women You Need to Know” by the Tallahassee Democrat newspaper. In 2014, Cecka created the FAMU $10 for 10 Challenge, a social media campaign that raised $300,000+ for FAMU and engaged 3,500 new donors. A 2015 FAMU NAA Distinguished Alumni, she was selected HBCU Digest’s 2015 Alumna of the Year and was awarded the Carrie P. Meek Servant-Leader Award from Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Florida and the Bahamas.

Additionally, she performs executive management and public relations consulting as CEO & chief strategist for TrubyRose Strategy Group, founded in 2019.

Robin Hassler Thompson, JD, MA – Moderator & Panelist

Robin is an attorney and consultant whose work focuses on human trafficking and violence against women. She provides consultation, education, and outreach to key professionals in the justice system, social services, and health care as well as to other community leaders and policymakers locally, nationally, and internationally.


Local Human Trafficking Task Forces and Coalitions: Promises and Pitfalls

Presented on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020

DESCRIPTION: The best way for local communities to support survivors of human trafficking and to bring traffickers to justice is to work together. Florida has a number of local human trafficking efforts that successfully collaborate to these ends, and one is the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force. This session will explore the challenges in building a local coalition to end trafficking, explore successes, challenges, and promising practices, discuss the role of child welfare professionals and the Department of Children and Families on this local effort, and provide ample time for participant questions and discussions.

PRESENTERS: Caridad Mas-Batchelor is the Task Force Coordinator for the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force. In this role, she oversees the over 400-member task force funded by the Office for Victims of Crime and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.  She works collaboratively with partners and key stakeholders in the community to ensure access to information and resources.  Caridad also provides training and conducts outreach to increase awareness and identification of human trafficking survivors in the South Florida area. Caridad provides technical assistance nationally including to the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime as a peer-reviewer informing the grant application process. Previously, she supervised the anti-trafficking caseworker and provided direct assistance to survivors for the Anti-Human Trafficking Program at the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Miami. She has worked with vulnerable populations for over six years. Caridad holds a Master’s degree in Criminal Justice from Florida International University and a Master’s in Law in Intercultural Human Rights from St. Thomas University School of Law.

Theresa Kennedy returned to the Department of Children and Families as the Regional Human Trafficking Coordinator for the Southeast and Southern Regions in January 2018.  In her current role she provides guidance to Child Protection Investigators, Case Management staff and community providers related to the identification and service provision of Human Trafficking victims, as well as assisting with the development of legislation, policy and procedures related to this issue.  In 1997 Ms. Kennedy was hired as a Family Services Counselor and during her time with the Department she was promoted to Family Services Counselor Supervisor.  In 2003, Mrs. Kennedy accepted a position with ChildNet, Inc. and served as their first Service Center Director during Broward County’s transition to community-based care.  Ms. Kennedy remained with ChildNet for 14 years and served as the Program Officer of Case Management, Adoption and Youth Services for ChildNet, Inc.  Her areas of expertise include independent living services, missing persons, intake, case management, adoptions, termination of parental rights, performance management, advocacy, service and resource networking, and community partner development. Theresa holds a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Fordham University, and is a Certified Child Welfare Professional.  She is the former Co-Chair of the Statewide Independent Living Advisory Council and Florida Coalition for Children Independent Living Sub Committee.  She is a currently a member of the Ark of Freedom Alliance, Collective Impact Steering Committee.

Sponsors: STAC in affiliation with Big Bend Coalition Against Human Trafficking and the International Rescue Committee


Human Trafficking and Gangs

Presented Friday, August 21, 2020

DESCRIPTION: Gangs conduct criminal activity in all 50 states. Although most gang activity is concentrated in major urban areas, gangs also are proliferating in rural and suburban areas as gang members flee increasing law enforcement pressure in urban areas. During this session, attendees will learn to recognize signs of gang involvement including gang tattoos, terminology, graffiti, and using hand signals. Attendees will also be able to recognize the warning signs and risk factors of youth gang recruitment. This session will also discuss the female’s role in gangs and how gang sex trafficking differs from other forms of trafficking.

PRESENTER: Marina Anderson is the Florida Department of Children and Families Regional Human Trafficking Coordinator for Northeast and Northwest Regions. She joined the Department of Children and Families Office of Child Welfare Human Trafficking Team in May 2015 and began her career with DCF in 2002. For thirteen years she worked as a Child Protective Investigator (CPI) in Duval County. In 2014, she became a Field Support Consultant for DCF. Marina is a recognized expert in safety methodology, providing training and mentoring to CPI and CPIS, and was personally recognized by Governor Rick Scott as a STAR Child Protective Investigator. Marina is a certified investigator and trainer in human trafficking, and a subject matter expert in critical injury, domestic violence, physical/sexual abuse, and human trafficking. Marina is also an approved Human Trafficking Trainer for the Florida Sheriff’s Association. Marina is an executive board member of the Northeast Region Human Trafficking Coalition, Freedom 7 Human Trafficking Coalition, and Panama City Human Trafficking Task Force. She is also a member of the Alachua County Coalition against Human Trafficking, Big Bend Human Trafficking Coalition, and Circuit 1 Human Trafficking Task Force. Marina Anderson holds a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of North Florida.


Survivor Teachings: A Process of Healing and Hope

Presented Friday, July 17, 2020

PRESENTERSAmyLynn Harrington Smoot is a survivor and advocate working with task forces, community-based care organizations and faith groups throughout the southeast.  She is a current consultant for the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center and, in 2018, worked with 121 Hope, as an ambassador and speaker on human trafficking and prevention. She was the Survivor Mentor for the Open Doors Network, through The Florida Baptist Children’s Home, for the Central Florida area including Orange, Polk, Osceola and Brevard counties from November 2017 – February 2018.  She was the Survivor Mentor for The Porch Light, a certified safe home, from January 2015 to February 2017. AmyLynn is a survivor from childhood sex trafficking and torture that occurred for approximately eighteen months from the time she was eight years old. AmyLynn chooses to use her knowledge in the area of sexual exploitation of children as a mentor to help other survivors, to consult with advocates in the fight against this horrific epidemic, and in the areas of education and awareness. She is a frequent speaker and panelist throughout the southeast United States. AmyLynn works with media companies to produce specials and stories about human trafficking.  While in Tallahassee, she participated with the Big Bend Coalition Against Human Trafficking (BBCAHT) and for the past three years has worked with the 10th Circuit Human Trafficking Task Force with education and awareness.

Graciela Marquina was born and raised in Mexico City where she completed her BA in Communications, from the Iberoamericana University. She also holds a Master’s degree in social work at Florida State University. Graciela started working at a very young age developing her interviewing skills with different populations in Mexico and the United States. While in Mexico, she helped homeless children. She also has conducted focus groups, and trained interviewers for social research. 

Graciela currently serves as the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center (STAC) and has worked in Tallahassee with survivors of domestic and sexual violence, serving as Program and Shelter Manager at Refuge House. She also has consulted with the FSU Center of the Advancement of Human Rights interviewing survivors of human trafficking. For the last 20 years, she has worked extensively with victims of human trafficking, as well as victims of domestic and sexual violence, assisting both immigrant and U.S. citizen survivors. Graciela has conducted numerous training programs on the topics of human trafficking, domestic violence and sexual assault and she assists Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) both in the U.S. and in Mexico to help victims of human trafficking. Graciela has published in two peer-reviewed publications, on topics concerning Hispanic populations. Graciela volunteers extensively in her community. She served on the Board of Directors for PACE Center for Girls, has helped to found the Survive and Thrive Advocacy Center (STAC) to assist victims of trafficking, she is an active member of the Big Bend Coalition Against Human Trafficking.


WATCH THE VIDEO from this training.

Human Trafficking and the Schools Community Training Program

Presented Friday, June 19, 2020


Collaborating to Keep Kids Safe Across Systems and Across the State: A Focus on Florida’s Schools

Schools are vital to an effective community response to human trafficking. The Florida Department of Education (FDOE) has been a leader in informing educators and all Floridians about human trafficking. Recent FDOE rules require each school to develop a plan on child trafficking prevention and education. Moreover, effective and safe school response plans include collaborations with many sectors and systems: child welfare professionals, school district leadership, federal and local law enforcement, mental health, victim services providers, culturally specific organizations, and other appropriate community partners – all important to the development and implementation of each school’s response and to student safety and well-being. 

This certificate program and training with Valerie Ellery (read more about her below) with the Florida Department of Education addresses new rules regarding human trafficking education, including how schools are impacted, and will help to identify actionable next steps for anyone who works with children and youth: teachers, administrators, support staff, parents, child welfare professionals, human services, law enforcement, justice system personnel, and all Floridians. Understanding your role – as both a professional who works with children or as an individual – in the prevention and eradication of human trafficking is the ultimate goal of this training. 

PRESENTERS: Valerie Ellery is Human Trafficking Prevention Education Specialist and joined the Florida Department of Education’s Title IV, Part A team in October 2019. Valerie has dedicated over 30 years to the field of education in various roles including as a National Board Certified teacher, curriculum specialist, international educational consultant and best-selling author. Her books and resources in the areas of literacy, self-worth and human trafficking have been inspiring educators to motivate and engage today’s learners in classrooms and universities in 37 nations. She is currently focused on helping Florida schools by aligning child trafficking curriculum and resources to health education standards. Valerie is a devoted wife, mother of four adult children, and four grandchildren. She lives for creating healthy schools and families.


WATCH THE VIDEO from this training.

Human Trafficking: Working With Underserved Populations

Presented Friday, May 15, 2020

DESCRIPTION: This webinar will provide an overview of human trafficking and how it affects underserved populations as well as intersects with sexual and domestic violence. This program will also help participants build on their expertise in working within their specific communities as well as highlight challenges posed during this time of the Coronavirus pandemic. Case examples of both sex and labor trafficking will be used to illustrate what constitutes human trafficking and how to best identify and respond to survivors. Specific topics to be covered will include the importance of understanding and implementing trauma-informed approaches, confidentiality, intersections with child welfare and the impacts on children and families, working with law enforcement, resources, and building community responses.

PRESENTERS: Marina Anderson, Florida Department of Children and Families Regional Human Trafficking Coordinator for Northeast and Northwest Regions; Lashawn Gordon, Director of Membership and Engagement at United Partners of Human Services; Graciela Marquina, MSW, STAC Victim Assistance Director; Robin Hassler Thompson, M.A., J.D., executive director of STAC.


Human Trafficking: Working With Underserved Populations, presented May 15, 2020

Danger! Understanding the Dynamics of Social Media Human Trafficking Recruitment

Presented Friday, April 17, 2020

DESCRIPTION: Social media is increasingly being exploited to contact, recruit, and sell children for sex. Some traffickers use online ads to target victims, or they will send friend/follow requests to young people in their region, proceed to strike up a conversation, and develop online friendships. These conversations may start off friendly and innocent, but then the traffickers will begin to use manipulation to charm their potential victims. The online friendship quickly evolves to a romantic relationship, and this is where the sextortion techniques are used to lure their victims into human trafficking. 

DURING THIS SESSION: Attendees will learn to recognize signs of social media recruitment and how traffickers lure their victims on the internet. Attendees will learn about the dangers of popular social media dating sites and apps. This session will also discuss popular emojis and their hidden meaning used to communicate sexual gesture when texting or communicating on internet sites and social media apps and will feature both presentation and the opportunity to ask questions and participate. 

PRESENTER: Marina Anderson, DCF Regional Human Trafficking Coordinator Northeast/Northwest Regions. MODERATOR: Robin Hassler Thompson, STAC Executive Director, Co-Chair BBCAHT Social Services Committee.

MATERIALS: Watch Marina’s presentation HERE and then view the Q&A with Marina and Robin below.

Q&A with Robin Hassler Thompson, STAC executive director, and Marina Anderson, Regional Human Trafficking Coordinator, Florida’s Department of Children & Families

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