How to be more trauma-informed, having good intentions, not further exploiting for “stories,” employing skills and knowledge survivors have in other ways to benefit the movement, being deliberate in ways we portray survivors (like not using images without permission, not using images of victims for promotion, portraying a “victim” as helpless/bound/etc.)
Shamere McKenzie is a consultant, an activist, a subject matter expert on human trafficking, and a sought-after, award-winning internationally recognized speaker. Turning her past adversities into an opportunity to liberate and protect others, Shamere has brought about social and political change in America and around the world.
Shamere has a strong passion for education and policy and is the Chief Executive Officer for Sun Gate Foundation, an anti-trafficking organization that provides educational opportunities for survivors of human trafficking. As a former program director, she authored an anti-trafficking program from the ground up and oversaw an emergency residential program for adult survivors of human trafficking. Shamere is also the co-chair for the victim’s services committee of the Maryland State Human Trafficking Task Force.
In 2018 Shamere responded to a call from the Ministry of Justice in her birthplace, Jamaica, and currently serves as the Ambassador for Jamaica in the fight against human trafficking.
Shamere works tirelessly to raise awareness of human trafficking by speaking at universities, conferences, community events, and consulting with government officials around the world. She has trained a variety of professionals on how to identify and respond to victims of human trafficking including the FBI, Homeland Security, Bureau of Diplomatic Security, churches, hotel and airline staff, to name a few.
Rebekah Charleston’s story is one that is unfortunately too common. At the age of 17, after running away from home, she found herself trapped in the world of human trafficking, as a victim. After ten years and no way to escape from multiple traffickers on her own, it was the federal authorities that ultimately provided her a path to freedom and safety. Given a new lease on life, she hasn’t shied away from her experiences. Instead she has used those experiences as a source of inspiration and a way to educate others on the prevalent world of human trafficking in America. Through her work as a consultant with the National Justice Training Center and Executive Director of Valiant Hearts, Rebekah has dedicated her life to preventing others from having to experience what she did. In the years that have passed, Rebekah has won numerous awards for her work, including 2016’s Survivor Leader Award; been featured by numerous news outlets, such as Deadline Crimes and TEDx; received a master’s degree in criminal justice; and given birth to her loving son. Rebekah Charleston has a story to tell — a story of desperation, a story of hope, a story of triumph, and a story of survival.
This presentation was given at the 2019 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Global Summit: EndExploitationSummit.com