The Survivors Leaders
Withelma “T” Ortiz Walker Pettigrew
is a survivor advocate, policy consultant, and motivational speaker. T is a leading force in advocating for the civil and social rights of trafficking survivors, specifically highlighting the intersection between the child welfare system and domestic trafficking within the U.S. In 2014, Time Magazine named T as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World." She is currently studying for a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communications.
is an Attorney and Founder of Runaway Girl, a social purpose corporation which creates opportunities and services for runaway, former runaway and homeless youth. She is a nationally recognized survivor leader and holds Juris Doctor and Master of Business Administration degrees from University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Minh Dang
is a staunch advocate for survivors of child abuse and human trafficking and is developing strategies to advance survivor leadership development. She holds Bachelor and Master’s degrees from University of California, Berkeley and a PhD from the University of Nottingham, School of Politics and International Relations. Minh was honored by the White House as a “Champion of Change” and is a Presidential Appointee to the first ever United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking. She founded The Survivor Alliance, uniting and empowering survivors of slavery and human trafficking around the world.
Leah Jonet Albright-Byrd
is a nationally recognized motivational speaker and human rights educator. She is committed to helping victims become survivors and engages people to take on this social injustice. She founded the pioneering anti-trafficking nonprofit "Bridget's Dream" in 2011 and served as the Executive Director for four years.
Leah is currently pursuing her dreams in music.
Rachel Thomas, M. Ed.
is the Co-Founder of Sowers Education Group where she and a team of educators promote sex trafficking awareness and survivor empowerment. A graduate of UCLA with a Masters in Education, Rachel co-authored Ending The Game: An Intervention Curriculum for Survivors of Sex Trafficking. This curriculum has helped hundreds of survivors understand and overcome psychological coercion.
DEDICATED ADVOCATES WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE FILM
Lieutenant Andre Dawson is a 33 year veteran detective of the Los Angeles Police Department and led the Vice Unit dedicated to combating the commercial sexual exploitation of children. He was a man of honor and a great support to many. Sadly, Lieutenant Dawson passed away in 2018.
Daphne Phung is Founder of California Against Slavery, a nonprofit, nonpartisan human rights organization dedicated to ensuring justice and protection for victims of human trafficking. She led the effort to pass Proposition 35, Californians Against Sexual Exploitation Act, which made critical enhancements to state laws to combat human trafficking.
Angela M. Chung is a Policy Associate with the Children’s Defense Fund in Los Angeles and formerly worked for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery as an Attorney. Angela focuses on juvenile justice reform in Los Angeles County and increasing alternatives to incarceration and promoting access to trauma-informed approaches to serving children and youth.
Sarai Smith-Mazariegos is Co-Founder, MISSSEY and Founder of S.H.A.D.E. Project, a survivor led organization. She has been helping high risk youth in various capacities for over a decade. Sarai is a specialist in crisis intervention and trauma informed care services for women and children who are at risk or have experience sexual abuse.
Nola Brantley is CEO of Nola Brantley Speaks!, a survivor consultancy dedicated to empowering women and girls. She co-founded the nonprofit M.I.S.S.S.E.Y. and a survivor leader. She has personally supported more than 1,000 youth in leaving sexual exploitation and has trained more than 50,000 professionals in the field.
Kim Biddle has pioneered prevention and intervention programs throughout California to advocate for the safety of children in schools against traffickers. She designs trainings for a variety of professionals on how to prevent trafficking, identify child victims, and best practices in providing optimal aftercare to survivors.
Guido Hajenius works with the anti-trafficking organization iEmpathize, to engage the region in the fight to end child sexual exploitation and trafficking through education, and culture solutions.
Nancy O’Malley is the District Attorney of the Alameda County and a national leader in addressing human trafficking. Her office is advancing anti-trafficking strategies statewide through it’s nonprofit H.E.A.T. Watch and the H.E.A.T. Institute. Since 2006, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has prosecuted 46% of human trafficking cases in California with an 86% conviction rate.
Holly Joshi is the former head of Oakland Police Department's (OPD) Child Exploitation Unit. As OPD's subject matter expert on human trafficking, she identified and helped recover hundreds of victims and has trained thousands of officers. She is now the Executive Director of M.I.S.S.S.E.Y., a nonprofit supporting survivors of child sex trafficking.
Christopher Sean Watson is the former manager of Bay Area Women Against Rape’s Sexually Exploited Minors Program, providing 24-hour first crisis stabilization to all survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and trafficking. He is a first responder to rescue and connect victims with supportive resources. Since 1971, BAWAR has addressed the problem of sexual assault and established a place where rape and incest survivors could receive the quality counseling and advocacy they need, and provide community education regarding sexual assault issues.
Kate Walker Brown is an attorney with the National Center for Youth Law. Her career has been devoted to examining the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in the U.S. and its intersection with the child welfare system. She is Project Director for California's CSEC Action Team charged with improving the services for exploited and at-risk children.
Reverend Harry Williams is a Minister, Author, and Advocate fighting against human trafficking, drugs, and homelessness. He is a champion for those who have no voice. He is a precious pillar of the Oakland, California faith community and an invaluable ally to Oakland’s disenfranchised youth.
Seven is an Activist and ex-gang member fighting against human trafficking.
Rebecca Dharmapalan is an Artist, Activist, and Public Speaker fighting for human rights.