April 30, 2020

Training and Education Resources

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

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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