Freedom From Slavery Caribbean Regional Forum 2023

The Freedom From Slavery Forum is the premier annual anti-modern slavery and anti-trafficking thought leadership event for the Caribbean.

This year it will be held from February 6-8, 2023 in Trinidad and Tobago.

The Forum brings together stakeholders from around the Caribbean to discuss the most pressing issues of modern slavery and develop effective solutions. Over three days, the Caribbean forum will focus on the inclusion of survivors and indigenous people, as well as accessibility for people with disabilities in programs and policies targeting the factors that allow modern slavery to flourish in the region. Participants will also discuss how to increase the number of perpetrators who are prosecuted, best practices for protecting survivors of modern slavery and human trafficking, and ensuring trauma-informed survivor engagement practices are used to create meaningful opportunities for survivors to contribute their expertise to the anti-modern slavery movement.

   Monday, February 6, 2023: Welcome Reception and Prevention Day

8:00 a.m. – Registrations and Room Open

8:30 a.m. – Welcome and Introduction

9:30 a.m. – Cultural Performances

10:30 am. – C O F F E E  B R E A K 

10:45 a.m. Keynote on Prevention

11:00 a.m. – Panel: Promising Prevention Practices in the Region

12:00 a.m. – Q&A on the Panel

12:30 p.m. – L U N C H

1:30 p.m. – Facilitated Discussion: Barriers to Effective Prevention Programs
                     Workshop: Tackling the Issue of Demand

2:30 p.m. – Workshops: Human Trafficking in the Region

A1: Root Causes of Human Trafficking and Identifying Vulnerable Groups
B1: Recommendations and Solutions for Effective Preventative Measures in the Region

3:30 p.m. – C O F F E E  B R E A K

3:50 p.m. – Reporting Back from Workshops

4:10 p.m. – Facilitated Discussion & Conclusion: Developing a Plan of Action for Effective Prevention Strategies for the Region

5:0o p.m. – Wrap Up & Adjourn
– Networking Time

Tuesday, February 7: Prosecution Day

8:00 a.m.  – Registrations and Room Open

8:30 a.m. – Introduction and Opening Remarks

8:40 a.m. – Panel: Investigation Principles and Techniques for Strong Trafficking in Persons Cases

9:40 a.m. – Q&A on the Panel

10:00 a.m. – Workshops: Improving Accessibility and Support

A2: Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities in Court
B2: Legal Support for Survivors: From the Community to the Court

11:00 a.m.  – Reporting Back from Workshops 

11:20 a.m. – C O F F E E  B R E A K

11:40 a.m. – Facilitated Discussion: Elements for a Successful Trial

12:30 p.m.L U N C H 

1:30 p.m.  – Panel: Practical Legislation for Effective Prosecutions

2:30 p.m.  – Q&A on the Panel

3:00 p.m.  – C O F F E E  B R E A K 

3:20 p.m.  – Workshops: Achieving Justice

A3: What Do Successful Prosecutions and Justice Look Like to Legal Actors?
B3: What Do Successful Prosecutions and Justice Look Like to Survivors?
C3: Research Project – Rights Lab Legislative Frameworks Study

4:20 p.m.  – Reporting Back from Workshops

4:50 p.m.  – Conclusion: Improving Access to Justice

5:00 p.m.  – Wrap-Up & Adjourn
– Networking Time

Wednesday, February 8: Protection Day

8:00 a.m. – Registrations and Room Open

8:30 a.m. – Introduction and Opening Remarks

8:40 a.m. – Keynote on Protecting Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking

9:00 a.m.Panel: An Overview of Protection Systems in the Region and A Look at Gaps in Our Systems

10:00 a.m – Q&A on the Panel

10:15 a.m. – Workshops: Trauma-Informed Protection Systems

A4: Transition from Victim to Survivor – The Importance of Trauma-Informed Care and Systems
B4: Referral and Reintegration I

11:15 a.m. C O F F E E   B R E A K

11:35 a.m. – Reporting Back from Workshops

11:50 a.m. – Workshops: Building Synergies for Effective Problem Solving

A5: Protection of Minors and other Special Victims
B5: Referral and Reintegration II

12:45 p.m. L U N C H

1:45 p.m. – Reporting Back from Workshops 

2:10 p.m.Facilitated Discussion: Transition from Survivor to Survivor Leader – Survivor Empowerment, Allyship, and Amplifying Survivors’ Voices and Leadership in All Aspects of the Caribbean Anti-Modern Slavery Movement

2:50 p.m.Facilitated Discussion: Next Steps on Protection for the Caribbean and CARICOM Territories

3:20 p.m. – C O F F E E  B R E A K with Anonymous Feedback Session

3:45 p.m. – Conclusion of the Caribbean Regional Forum

4:10 p.m. – Preparations for Next Year

5:00 p.m. – Wrap-Up & Adjourn
– Networking Time

Anticipated Outcomes

Prevention of Human Trafficking

  • Identify barriers to effective prevention; 
  • Examine lessons learned from promising interventions;
  • Develop a region-specific action plan to effectively prevent trafficking in persons in the Caribbean.

Prosecution of Perpetrators

  • Improve the investigation of modern slavery cases and increase successful prosecutions;
  • Identify strategies for accessible and inclusive prosecutions;
  • Improve the legal support for survivors from the community to the Court.

Protection of Victims and Survivors

  • Identify gaps in service delivery to victims of modern slavery and develop strategies to close those gaps;
  • Develop next steps to empower victims and survivors to become Survivor Leaders; 
  • Structure a regional response to Protection that will leave no one behind.

Event Speakers

Alana Wheeler

Alana Wheeler

Director and Deputy Director

Counter-Trafficking Unit -Trinidad and Tobago

Alana Wheeler's Bio

Ms. Alana Wheeler is an experienced, results-oriented, purpose-driven leader with a proven ability to optimize any organization. She is passionate about fighting against the exploitation and abuse of migrants, women, children, and vulnerable persons in our society. She graduated from the University of the West Indies Management Studies Programme and Institute of International Relations, St Augustine. Ms. Wheeler is also a Foreign Fulbright Scholar and an alumnus of the Georgetown University Security Studies Program, the International Visitors Leadership Program, the International Law Enforcement Academy, and the National Defense University.

Ms. Wheeler has worked in the field of National Security for twenty-five years. This includes work with the United Nations Development Programme, Transparency International, the Organisation of American States, CARICOM IMPACS, and the Pan American Development Foundation. Her most recent work was as the Director and Deputy Director of the Counter-Trafficking Unit of Trinidad and Tobago, where she operationalized, developed, and promoted the work of the CTU and the government’s anti-trafficking efforts.

Andreina Briceño Ventura-Brown

Andreina Briceño Ventura-Brown

Founder

La Casita – Venezuela/Trinidad and Tobago

Andreina Briceño Ventura-Brown's Bio

Andreina Briceño Ventura-Brown is Venezuelan, originally from Maracaibo, Zulia State. Proud firstborn of Dr. Felipe Briceño and Edelmira Ventura, shared childhood with two brothers and four sisters, is the mother of 3 teenagers, and wife of a persistent local businessman. She volunteered from the age of 12 in a non-profit organization that cared for at-risk or street children. There she strengthened her passion for helping others by empowering them and making them feel useful and loved in society. She grew up within the institution until, professionally, she became the Public Relations Officer and Events Managements of Villa Feliz.

She has a degree in Social Communication mentioned Community Development from the Catholic University Cecilio Acosta of Maracaibo. During her career, she formed her character and knowledge of the arts, culture, integration, and the common good for the development of communities.

An effective communicator at all levels with excellent problem-solving and analytical abilities. Announcer, Creative, poet, composer, writer… She worked as a journalist in the Regional Broadcasting Corporation; La Columna, and El Tiempo newspapers; the television station Televiza del Zulia; and a producer of the radio program A Primera Hora and the Cultural Agenda of Circuito CRB. Also, Freelance interpreter with BBC London.

La Casita is a center willing to assist new needs to help with the influx of Venezuelans in Trinidad and Tobago. In its creation, the strongest Andreina in community activism in defense of the rights of her compatriots was born. Trained at the Department of International Refugee Law and Migration Law of the International Institute of Humanitarian Law in Palerm, she reinforces even more her Advocacy for the Protection of the asylum seeker, refugee, and migrant community before international and governmental institutions.

Currently, with her RESET project, she has a holistic working team that supports women victims of gender-based violence by transforming them using their resilience to the training of empowered survivors willing to improve their quality of life and those of their families. Offering opportunities for development in livelihoods, spirituality, and professional training.

La Casita is part of the Task Force for change on Human Trafficking Legislation on The Ministry of National Security, is a partner with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, Drama Making a Different Company, Living Waters Community, Archdiocese Ministry for Migrants and Refugees, UNICEF, Red Cross, WINARD and other International and local organization to help and support the protection and integration of the Hispanic community in Trinidad and Tobago.

Andrews Kananga

Andrews Kananga

Executive Director

Legal Aid Forum – Rwanda

Andrews Kananga's Bio

Me. Andrews Kananga is currently the Executive Director of the Legal Aid Forum – Rwanda, a position he has held since 2008. From 2004 – 2008, he was a Senior Legal adviser to National Semi-traditional Courts (Gacaca) that were charged with trials of people suspected of having committed Genocide in Rwanda. In 2012, Andrews was among the three Legal experts nominated by the Ministry of Justice in Rwanda to oversee the development of a legal aid policy in Rwanda. He has contributed enormously to legal reforms in Rwanda, which ushered in the legal aid policy, legal aid bill, reform of the penal code and criminal procedure code, and many more pieces of legislation that favor access to justice for the poor and vulnerable in Rwanda. Andrews is a founding member of the African Centre of Excellence for Access to Justice (ACE-AJ) and head of research in the same center.

Awah Francisca Mbuli

Awah Francisca Mbuli

Founder and Executive Director

Survivors’ Network Cameroon

Awah Francisca Mbuli's Bio

Awah Francisca Mbuli is a survivor of sex and labor trafficking. She is the founder of Survivors’ Network (SN), a Cameroonian-based, female survivors-led NGO that fights against all forms of human trafficking. SN rescues and provides temporary housing, psychosocial services, vocational training, and economic empowerment programs to victims of human trafficking and internally displaced women. She advocates both with governments and the general population.

For her efforts, Awah has been awarded numerous distinctions, including, but not limited to, being one of the 50 Most Influential Cameroonians and an Obama Africa Leader and having received the African Dream Achievers Award, the US Trafficking in Persons Hero award, and the World of Difference Award 2022 for Economic Empowerment of Women.

Furthermore, Awah is one of the Freedom From Slavery Forum Ambassadors.

Bukeni Waruzi

Bukeni Waruzi

Executive Director

Free the Slaves – USA

Bukeni Waruzi's Bio

Bukeni Waruzi is the Executive Director of Free the Slaves. He works closely with the board, the global team, and headquarters to provide strategic leadership and set a vision for one of the world’s most widely-known and respected anti-modern slavery organizations.

Waruzi has documented human rights abuses, designed and implemented advocacy campaigns, made public presentations around the world, and trained hundreds of human rights advocates and activists in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

Waruzi has spoken to high-level audiences, including the United Nations Security Council, the International Criminal Court, and the Children’s Caucus of the U.S. Congress. He currently represents anti-slavery groups as a civil society member of the Global Coordinating Group of Alliance 8.7, the global initiative to attain Sustainable Development target 8.7, the end of child and forced labor worldwide.

Cavelle Mills-Walters

Cavelle Mills-Walters

Police Sergeant

Counter Trafficking Unit – Trinidad and Tobago

Cavelle Mills-Walters' Bio

Cavelle Mills-Walters is a Woman Police Sergeant attached to the Counter Trafficking Unit who has been employed with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service for the past 25 years. She is a mother of two adult girls and is divorced.

Cavelle holds a diploma in Criminology from the University of the West Indies. She has received several pieces of training connected to human trafficking, including from the Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Centre, the UNODC on detecting, investigating, and prosecuting Trafficking in Persons following a victim-centered approach, and several training courses by the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, the US FBI. Furthermore, as trained by the National Security Training Academy, she has been trained to understand trauma in children and adolescents and courtroom procedures and practices.

Moreover, she is the founder and President of the Choice Foundation. The NGO was founded in 2016 to provide a safe haven for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse and children affected by societal ills. They also offer support and guidance to their families.

Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews

Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews

Consultant

Azanique Development – Trinidad and Tobago

Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews' Bio

Charmaine Gandhi-Andrews served in Trinidad and Tobago Public Service for thirty-eight years, thirty-two of which was spent as an Immigration Officer in the Ministry of National Security. She became the first female Chief Immigration Officer in Trinidad and Tobago in 2015, a position she held until her early retirement from Public Service in January of this year.

Passionate about issues relating to trafficking in persons, Charmaine has been involved in anti-human trafficking activities since 2009. She advocated for and was actively involved in developing and implementing policies and legislation on trafficking in persons in Trinidad and Tobago. In 2012 she was appointed as the first Director to lead the establishment of Trinidad and Tobago’s Counter Trafficking Unit and develop and implement the country’s anti-trafficking efforts. She led the investigation, identification, rescue, rehabilitation, and reunification of victims of human trafficking with their families.

The US State Department recognized Charmaine as a hero acting to end modern-day slavery in its 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report. In December 2022, she was honored with the Migrant Hero Award from the International Organization for Migration, Port of Spain office for her years of dedication and service in the field of migration.

Dr. Cleophas Justine Pierre

Dr. Cleophas Justine Pierre

Labour Market and Migration Consultant

DPB Global – Canada

Dr. Cleophas Justine Pierre's Bio

Dr. Cleophas Justine Pierre is an ILO Trained Labour Market and Migration Consultant, specialising in the disciplines of Employment, Underemployment and Unemployment, and is currently a leading Black researcher in Canada and the Caribbean Region. His primary area of expertise is in the field Migration, and Labour Market Research fields, which involves matters relating to forced migration, human trafficking, Migrant smuggling, migrants’ labour rights, data analytics, social research, conducting surveys, and the formulation of Labour Market Information Systems (LMIS)

Over the last 10 years, Dr. Pierre conducted in excess of 60 consultancies in more than 30 countries and has been on several overseas missions as a team member to review, evaluate and appraise programmes aimed at promoting labour market research in the countries of Latin America, the Caribbean region and Africa. He is also a Graduate of the University of Toronto, the University of Ryerson, Charisma University, the University of Technology Jamaica and the University of London.

In 2012, Dr. Pierre was one of a four-person team that completed the first Labour Market Needs Analysis in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States. Additionally, Dr. Pierre was part of a small team that conducted the EU “Thematic Global Evaluation Survey” in the sectors of employment, social inclusion including vocational training (TVET). The Thematic Global Evaluation Survey was conducted in the countries of Chile, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Ukraine, South Africa, and Vietnam.

Between 2016 and 2023, Dr. Pierre and his firm conducted Fourteen comprehensive studies in the fields of Labour Market Needs Assessment, Statistics, Labour, Migration and Human Trafficking in the Caribbean Region and Canada. (https://dpbglobal.com/) in which he was one of the principal researchers.

Coleen Morris

Coleen Morris

Anti-Human Trafficking Officer

Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons (ONRTIP) – Jamaica

Coleen Morris' Bio

Ms. Coleen Morris is the Anti-Human Trafficking Officer for the Office of the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons (ONRTIP). She supports the National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons and the Senior Anti-Human Trafficking Officer in research, policymaking, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of strategies geared towards enabling the mitigation and reduction of Human Trafficking in Jamaica.

Ms. Morris plays a key role in the development of initiatives geared towards enabling survivors and vulnerable groups to understand the normative and regulatory framework surrounding the issue of human trafficking and monitors and reports on the nature and scope of human trafficking in Jamaica, including for the U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report.

She holds a Bachelor of Science (BSc.) in Psychology and a Master of Science (MSc.) in Applied Psychology. She has years of experience playing various roles in the design, implementation, analysis, and reporting of data for various stakeholders.

Dawn Hector

Dawn Hector

Trafficking in Persons Investigator and Trainer

Trinidad and Tobago Police Service – Trinidad and Tobago

Dawn Hector's Bio

Dawn Hector has twenty-one (21) years of law enforcement experience in the Trinidad & Tobago Police Service. She is an experienced investigator and trainer in Trafficking in Persons both regionally and nationally for over nine (9) years. She was instrumental in the operational development of the Counter-Trafficking Unit of Trinidad & Tobago. Dawn has also assisted with developing several training materials for Human Trafficking investigators, including a handbook for Investigators in the Caribbean coordinated by IOM. She has extensive international and local experience in Trafficking in Persons as a trainer and researcher. She has been IVLP Trained by the US State Department, United States of America, and also the Caribbean Regional Drug Law Enforcement Training Center, Jamaica, as an Investigator.

 

Diahann Gordon Harrison

Diahann Gordon Harrison

National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons

National Government – Jamaica

Diahann Gordon Harrison's Bio

Mrs. Diahann Gordon Harrison has been the Children’s Advocate of Jamaica since January 2012 and has been Jamaica’s National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons since March 2015, making her the first to hold such a post in the Latin American & Caribbean Region. She is an Attorney-at-Law by profession, with over 20 years of experience, and has practiced at the Public Bar since her graduation from The Norman Manley Law School. Prior to her appointment as Children’s Advocate, Mrs. Gordon Harrison served as a Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions within the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
Known for her advocacy skills, she states that her current roles provide a national and regional platform from which to promote the rights of children and other people in vulnerable circumstances from a victim-centered and rights-based orientation. She is also passionate about accountability frameworks through which persons who violate the rights of children and vulnerable persons can be held responsible for their actions.

Mrs. Gordon Harrison is an Associate Tutor at the Norman Manley Law School, has also been an external reviewer for the British Council in Jamaica, and has been designated champion for CARICOM’s Regional Sex Guidelines for Courts. In November 2019, she was certified as a global expert by the Geneva-based Justice Rapid Response Roster of global experts in International Criminal Law for potential deployment worldwide with a focus on Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes, and International Human Rights Law. Since 2020 she has been a serving member of the Board of Directors for the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, a United States-based non-profit organization that works in over 200 countries worldwide.

Dyliet Jean-Baptiste

Dyliet Jean-Baptiste

General Coordinator and Lawyer

Bureau des travailleuses et travailleurs et de défense des droits humains – Haiti

Dyliet Jean-Baptiste's Bio

Dyliet Jean-Baptiste is currently the coordinator at the Bureau of Workers for the Defense of Human Rights, a human rights organization providing legal support to victims of human trafficking in Haiti. A Haitian national born in the municipality of Bombardopolis, he attended several universities, including the School of Law and Economics of Gonaives, the Ecole Normale Supieure, the Institute of the Francophonie for Management in the Caribbean, and the Jean Price-Mars University. He has been a lawyer since 2006. He embarks on the fight against prolonged preventive detention, focusing on violence against women and the defense of minors and workers. He intervenes as a lecturer on the problems of the penal system. He is well known in the human rights sector for providing his services: to the Bureau of International Lawyers without Borders of Canada, Defenders of the Oppressed, and the Human Rights office in Haiti. He supervises young lawyers at the bar of the Croix des Bouquets and his firm.

Elswith Chevez

Elswith Chevez

Victim Assistance Coordinator

Human Trafficking Institute – Belize

Elswith Chevez's Bio

Elswith Chevez is the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Human Trafficking Institute – Belize. Elswith holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Belize. The VAC’s primary roles and responsibilities are to collaborate and coordinate between the ATIPS Police Unit and the assigned Social Work Practitioners – Department of Human Services. Elswith assists in facilitating support and services for victims from when they are identified to the conclusion of the criminal case against the trafficker.

Prior to Elswith’s employment with HTI, she was employed by the Government of Belize within the Department of Human Services as the Human Development Coordinator; this is how she first came in contact with victims of human trafficking.

 

Hon. Fitzgerald Hinds, M.P.

Hon. Fitzgerald Hinds, M.P.

Minister of National Security

Ministry of National Security – Trinidad and Tobago

Hon. Fitzgerald Hinds' Bio

The Honourable Fitzgerald Ethelbert Hinds M.P. was appointed Minister of National Security on April 19, 2021.

Minister Hinds has previous experience in the national security landscape, having served as Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security from June 2004 to November 2007. He made significant contributions to the enactment of legislation relating to the administration of justice in Trinidad and Tobago including the Kidnapping Bill, the Firearms Bill, the Police Service Bill, the Police Complaints Authority Bill and the Evidence Amendment Bill.

Minister Hinds is a former member of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service, having enlisted in 1976. In 1979, he was appointed a Training Instructor, educating recruits in drill; the art of weapons; and martial arts.

Prior to his appointment to the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, he served as a practicing Attorney at Law for more than twenty (20) years. He is a graduate of the Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London where he earned a Bachelor of Laws Degree in 1988. In 1992, he obtained a Master of Laws Degree, specialising in Government and Constitutional Law, and received his Legal Education Certificate (LEC) from the Hugh Wooding Law School in 1995.

Dr. Floyd Morris

Dr. Floyd Morris

Director, Lecturer, Special Rapporteur

UWI Centre for Disability Studies and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Special Rapporteur on Disability – Jamaica

Dr. Floyd Morris' Bio

Dr. Floyd Morris is the first Jamaican and English-speaking Caribbean person to be elected to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which is a body of independent experts who monitor the implementation of the Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by the states which are signatories. He currently serves as Director of the UWI Centre for Disability Studies and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Special Rapporteur on Disability.

The Hon. Dr. Floyd Morris is no stranger to the Senate, having previously served two terms as Senator from 1998 to 2007. He returned to the Senate in 2012 and was elected as President in 2013. Senator Morris is the first blind person to become President of the Jamaican Senate.

Dr. Morris holds a Doctor and Master of Philosophy in Government from the University of the West Indies (UWI). He also obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication from that institution. He has researched several areas related to the inclusion of persons with Disabilities in several aspects of Jamaican life. Today, he is a lecturer at UWI with a special focus on Disability Studies and Politics. I am also the lead researcher at the UWI Centre for Disability Studies.

Freda Catheus

Freda Catheus

Consultant

Beyond Borders – Haiti

Freda Catheus' Bio

Freda Catheus leads Beyond Borders’ work to overcome poverty, prevent violence and abuse, and develop leaders on Haiti’s Lagonav Island — home to some of our world’s most vulnerable and marginalized.

Freda supervises a team of 11 highly trained and deeply committed community organizers offering rural communities on Lagonav both a vision for how life in their communities can be much better and proven tools they can use to build that better life in this lifetime.

A native of Lagonav, from an early age, Freda stood out in her community and church for her leadership. Despite having just a third-grade formal education, as a young woman Freda was nominated for a scholarship to train community organizers at a well-respected program on Haiti’s mainland. She was the first woman ever to receive this honor. From this training, Freda emerged as a recognized leader both on Lagonav Island and on the mainland for her work in rural communities and with farmers’ and women’s organizations. Freda became the first female president of the regional association of community organizers on Lagonav, serving two three-year terms as president.

She was then recruited by Fonkoze – Haiti’s largest financial inclusion institution – to be part of a team trained in Bangladesh in a new approach to equipping the very poorest families to escape extreme poverty for good. This is the same model that Beyond Borders now uses in the Family Sponsorship Program that St. Martin’s and many parishioners individually have so generously supported.

Gilberto Zuleta

Gilberto Zuleta

Regional Officer for TRACK4TIP Initiative

UNODC – Trinidad and Tobago

Gilberto Zuleta's Bio

Gilberto Zuleta is a lawyer with a master’s degree in human rights and studies in international relations, public policy, gender, and an international accreditation in criminal profiling for sexual crimes.

For the last nine years, he has worked with UNODC in the area of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants providing technical assistance to authorities in the development of studies, design of tools for the identification and referral of cases, and the investigation and prosecution, implementing training to criminal law practitioners, among others, in countries such as Bolivia, Colombia, Brazil, and Jordan.

He currently serves as Regional Officer of the UNODC Global Programme against Trafficking in Persons for the coordination of the TRACKforTIP Initiative covering eight countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, including Trinidad & Tobago.

Giselle Balfour, PhD.

Giselle Balfour, PhD.

Head of Programs

Free the Slaves – USA

Giselle Balfour's Bio

Giselle Balfour, Ph.D. is a native of Trinidad and Tobago. She has garnered over ten years of experience working with children and families impacted by various forms of child maltreatment, specifically child sexual exploitation. Prior to coming on board at Free the Slaves, Giselle served as the Project Director of the Envision Project at the Georgia Center for Child Advocacy, providing specialized reintegrative services to survivors of child sex trafficking survivors in Georgia, USA. Giselle recognizes that Modern slavery is an egregious abuse of one of life’s most basic human rights and believes it is our obligation to continue this work until everyone is free.

 

 

 

Jason Haynes

Jason Haynes

Deputy Head of Research

University of Birmingham – UK/St Vincent and the Grenadines

Jason Haynes' Bio

Dr. Jason Haynes is a Barrister-at-Law, Solicitor, and Associate Professor of Law and Deputy Head of Research at the University of Birmingham. Prior to taking up this role, he was a Senior Lecturer in Law and Deputy Dean for Graduate Studies and Research at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, Barbados, and a Senior Legal Officer at the British High Commission. He was an O’Brien Fellow in Residence at McGill University and is a Fellow of the UK Higher Education Academy. He is a National Scholar from St Vincent and the Grenadines, a British Chevening Scholar, and a Commonwealth Scholar. His book, Caribbean Anti-Trafficking Law and Practice (Hart 2019), is the leading monograph on human trafficking in the region.

 

 

 

John Miller

John Miller

Political Officer

US Embassy Port of Spain – Trinidad and Tobago

John Miller's Bio

John Miller assumed the role of Political Officer at the U.S. Embassy Port of Spain on September 16, 2021. The political office is responsible government to government relations, human rights, and security assistance. He holds a degree in Economics, Mathematics, and Islamic and Middle-Eastern History from the University of Colorado and in Business Operations and Data Analytics from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. Prior to the Foreign Service, John was a business owner, worked in linguist and counterintelligence contingency operations, and worked as a crew chief and auxiliary rotary aviation pilot for the U.S. Department of Defense. He spent six years serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, North Africa, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Pakistan, among other places. Although born in the United States, John’s father served in the Air Force, so he grew up learning German, Polish, and Russian in Europe. He loves flying, rebuilding cars, and DIY home improvement and construction projects in his free time.

 

Ambassador John Richmond

Ambassador John Richmond

Former Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons

Dentons – USA

Ambassador John Richmond's Bio

Ambassador John Richmond is a Dentons’ Federal Regulatory and Compliance practice counsel. Previously, he served as the US Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons for the US Department of State. Ambassador Richmond’s career has been spent at the intersection of law, policy, and human rights — as a federal prosecutor, founding director of the Human Trafficking Institute, director of the International Justice Mission in Chennai, India, and as a US Ambassador. This includes strategy, compliance, internal investigations, and litigation in the area of ESG and supply chains, specifically international and domestic human trafficking.

Ambassador Richmond coordinated the US Government’s efforts to combat trafficking on a global scale, working with multilateral institutions, law enforcement, and leading Fortune 100 executives to develop effective strategies to address supply chain integrity, trafficking in persons, and criminal prosecutions and investigations. At Dentons, Ambassador Richmond leverages his decades of relationships and expertise to support the Firm’s US and global clients in their efforts to develop and implement effective compliance programs, respond to investigative demands in the US and abroad, and engage in legislative efforts on these topics. His experience as a prosecutor and close relationships with oversight committees on Capitol Hill also brings additional strength and depth to Dentons’ White Collar and Public Policy practice groups.

Jose Alfaro

Jose Alfaro

Consultant and Lived Experience Expert

Independent – USA

Jose Alfaro's Bio

Jose Alfaro is a consultant and Lived Experience Expert on Domestic Child Sex Trafficking, Public Speaker, Author, Advocate, and Activist. He has worked with several anti-human trafficking organizations around the globe to spread awareness of trafficking, specifically within the LGBTQ+ Community and among males. He has been featured in several publications, including Rolling Stone, and has worked with law enforcement, DHS, and the DOJ, to name a few.

Kwasi Cudjoe

Kwasi Cudjoe

Director

Pison Solutions – Trinidad and Tobago

Kwasi Cudjoe's Bio

Mr. Kwasi Cudjoe is a Social Project Consultant with professional experience in grant acquisition and social project implementation. He has worked with civil society and government ministries in engaging at-risk groups and vulnerable populations through various programs and initiatives. Mr. Cudjoe is a Director at Pison Solutions, a non-governmental organization that promotes social change and development by connecting people, ideas, and resources. As a Programme Coordinator within the Office of the Prime Minister Gender Affairs Division, he has developed and coordinated programs to counteract negative gender stereotypes and norms. He is a trained facilitator and has extensive experience delivering several programs.

Through the Men Can men’s group which he founded, Mr. Cudjoe honors his passion and commitment to male personal development by working with a team to create safe spaces for men to address various issues. Some of his work in engaging men and boys includes the Inside Out Dad program for incarcerated fathers, the OPM’s Barbershop Initiative, and the collaborative Project SARAH with the Counter-Trafficking Unit. Mr. Cudjoe holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioural Science from Andrews University and a Master of Education degree from the University of the West Indies. Mr. Cudjoe firmly believes in investing in people and building social capital, as reflected in his personal motto: “If I can empower people, then I can improve lives.”

Lindsey Lane

Lindsey Lane

Senior Legal Counsel

Human Trafficking Institute – USA

Lindsey Lane's Bio

Lindsey Lane is the Senior Legal Counsel for the Human Trafficking Institute (HTI) located in Washington DC. At HTI, Lindsey serves as the lead architect and author of the annual Federal Human Trafficking Report. In this role, she manages the data collection and analysis of every federal human trafficking case filed in the United States each year and briefs government leaders and other anti-trafficking stakeholders on key findings and emerging trends in efforts to improve the prosecution of traffickers in the federal court system. In addition, Lindsey provides legal support for HTI’s Thought Leadership team, which develops and advocates for innovative and data-driven strategies for combatting human trafficking based on proven victim-centered enforcement models. As Senior Legal Counsel for HTI, Lindsey also serves as a project attorney under a Central American Security Initiative grant for HTI’s country program in Belize, where she assists in advocating best practices for investigating and prosecuting human trafficking cases. Lindsey is an experienced prosecutor and trial attorney at both the State and Federal levels, most recently serving as a designated state Human Trafficking Prosecutor for North Carolina, where she handled numerous human trafficking cases involving both labor and commercial sex trafficking from investigation through trial. Lindsey graduated from Salem Women’s College and Liberty University School of Law.

 

 

Lisa Ifill

Lisa Ifill

Director of Social Planning and Research

Judiciary – Trinidad and Tobago

Lisa Ifill's Bio

Lisa Ifill has been a career Public Servant for over 36 years, having entered as a Temporary Clerk at the Ministry of Finance in 1986. She has also worked at the Industrial Court as an Acting Research Officer I and at the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago for 15 years as Planning Officer II. She now holds the substantive position of Senior Planning Officer at the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services (MSDFS) in the Policy and Programme Planning Development Division (PPPDD). She has been the acting Director of Social Planning and Research since 2020.

She has served on several Committees, such as the CARISECURE Task Force instituted by the Ministry of National Security; the Inter-Ministerial Working Committee for the Delivery of Care to Victims of Trafficking chaired by the MSDFS, and is currently serving as a Counterpart Team member on the Committee to address Violence in Trinidad and Tobago using the Public Health Approach, which the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago commissioned.

Justice Lisa Palmer-Hamilton

Justice Lisa Palmer-Hamilton

Puisne Judge

Supreme Court of Jamaica – Jamaica

Lisa Palmer-Hamilton's Bio

Justice Lisa Palmer Hamilton is a graduate of the University of the West Indies, Mona, where she completed, with honors, her degree in Law (1993). In 1995 Justice Palmer Hamilton completed her Certificate of Legal Education at the Norman Manley Law School and was subsequently called to the Bar in Jamaica.

Justice Palmer Hamilton worked as Clerk of Court in the Clarendon Resident Magistrate’s Court (now Parish Courts) before being invited to join the prosecutorial arm of the State, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), in 1996 as Assistant Crown Counsel.

While at the ODPP, Justice Palmer Hamilton prosecuted matters in the Circuit Courts, Full Court, and the Supreme Court and prepared and presented cases in the Court of Appeal.

Justice Palmer Hamilton served in the DPP’s Mutual Legal Assistance, Money Laundering, and Forfeiture of Proceeds Unit in 1997 and eventually acted as head of the Unit.

 

 

 

 

Magarette Georges

Magarette Georges

Judge

Superior Council of the Judiciary CSPJ – Haiti

Magarette Georges' Bio

Magarette Georges is one of the women models in the Judiciary system in Haiti. After her Primary and Secondary school, she studied Law at the State University of Haiti – Faculty of Law of Cap-Haitian. She was an activist lawyer at the Bar of Cap-Haitian. Founder of the Health Law Unit for the defense of Human Rights, dealing particularly with the defense of the rights of women and girls who are victims of organized violence.
She also studied Accounting at the Polyvalent University of Haiti. She specialized in Financial Control at the National School of Financial Administration and worked in this capacity at the mayor’s offices in the municipalities of Cap-Haitian, Quartier Morin, and Limonade from 2006 to 2009.

Coming from the fourth Promotion of the School of Magistrate of Haiti EMA (2010-2012), whose initial training took place at the School of Magistracy of Bordeaux – France, she joined the Haitian judiciary as a Judge and then Investigating Judge, a position she currently holds at the Court of First Instance of Fort-Liberty.

Trainer in HUMAN TRAFFICKING for the School of Magistrate of Haiti (EMA) and the BEST Project (Building a strong environment to eradicate Human Trafficking) of the IAWJ, she trained more than a thousand justice actors (magistrates, police officers, members of civil society)

Past-President and currently Secretary General of the Haitian Chapter of the International Association of Women Judges (CHAIFEJ), a member organization of the IAWJ International Association of Women Judges, She has participated as a trainer since 2013 in projects funded by the Department of State of the United States of America through the IAWJ.

 

 

 

Maria de Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio

Maria de Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio

Project Coordinator - OCSEA T&T Project

UNODC – Mexico/Trinidad and Tobago

Maria de Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio's Bio

Maria de Gutiérrez Ortiz Monasterio graduated in Law with a specialty in Criminal Justice from the Universidad Panamericana de México and Diplomas in gender criminalistics, public policy and studies on the International Criminal System, Criminology, Human Rights, Trafficking in Persons (TiP), Smuggling of Migrants (SoM) and Cybercrime.

She has 14 years of experience in Human Trafficking matters and has worked since 2003 in the Ministry of the Interior in the Unit for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights in the Federal Government of Mexico. Since 2013 she has been in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for Central America and the Caribbean based in the regional office in Panama City as coordinator of different projects:

Since August 2022, she has been the Project Coordinator of the OCSEA T&T Project, Strengthening Trinidad and Tobago capacities to effectively prevent and counter online child sexual abuse and exploitation and related crimes, part of the Global Programme of Cybercrime of UNODC, funded by Canada.

 

 

Merphilus James

Merphilus James

President

Disabled People’s International North America and The Caribbean Inc. (DPI NAC) – Saint Lucia

Merphilus James' Bio

Merphilus James is an avid disability rights advocate from the island of Saint Lucia. He has served as President of the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (NCPD) in Saint Lucia since January 2015. In 2019 he was elected President of Disabled People’s International North America and The Caribbean Inc. (DPI NAC) at the Tenth Regional Assembly, which was held in Saint Kitts.

Due to an extremely rare condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome, Merphilus was born on February 09, 1984, with differences in his right hand and left leg. He has used a left prosthetic leg from the age of four. James is passionate about advancing persons with disabilities through education, social justice, and empowerment, harnessing the innate talents of PWDs in advocacy and public awareness.

Merphilus James has held positions in public service as a Programme Officer and National Volunteer Coordinator in the Office of the Prime Minister of Saint Lucia. He is currently a Training Officer with the National Skills Development Center, where he cherishes his involvement in the education of youth in invaluable, marketable technical vocational skills.

Neil Bacchus

Neil Bacchus

Chief Executive Officer

Indigenous Peoples’ Commission – Guyana

Neil Bacchus' Bio

Neil Bacchus is the Chief Executive Officer of the Indigenous Peoples’ Commission which promotes and protects the rights of Indigenous Peoples in Guyana. He has double master’s qualifications, professional qualifications in project management, and a degree and diploma in Public Management. Neil serves on several NGOs, including the National Task Force on Trafficking in Person and the Inter-religious Organisation in Guyana. He is a community, religious, and youth advocate. He has over twenty-eight years of working experience and possesses excellent logistical, training, and operational skills. Neil has recently completed a Fellowship Program in Religious Dialogue and culture and is committed to moving Guyana and the Caribbean forward.

Pamela Vargas Gorena

Pamela Vargas Gorena

Researcher

University of Nottingham Rights’ Lab – UK

Pamela Vargas Gorena's Bio

Pamela Vargas Gorena works as part of the Rights Lab’s Law and Policy Programme, conducting contextual research and engagement focused on antislavery law and policy frameworks to deliver bespoke legislative toolkits. She contributes to expanding a database of domestic legislation, and international obligations of all UN Member States maps global legislation to understand trends, successes, and failures, and identifies factors contributing to positive legislative change. Her research background includes comparative law and jurisprudence and the assessment of government law, policies, and capacities. As a qualified Bolivian lawyer, she previously held management positions in government, contributing to the development of law and public policy at central and local levels. She also has been part of UN-Habitat, working on the Urban National Policy, and has frontline experience working with vulnerable youth in the non-profit sector.

Sandra Gipson

Sandra Gipson

Executive Board Member

National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) – Jamaica/USA

Sandra Gispon's Bio

Sandra K. Gipson is a native Jamaican. Ms. Gipson has been a proud member of the National Organization of Black Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) since 2008, Executive Board Member of the Jamaican Diaspora Southern USA National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) National Human Trafficking Committee Chair, and NCNW Executive Board Member at Large. Ms. Gipson is currently a member of the Metropolitan Dade County Section NCNW, a Board Member of the Greater Miami Urban League, and an Executive Director of the People Profile Organization. She served two terms as President of the Metropolitan Dade County Section of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (MDCS-NCNW). As president of MDCS-NCNW, Ms. Gipson led the organization to new heights, not only in membership but also in developing scholarships, partnerships, and community awareness. NOBLE South Florida Chapter Sector Member of the year 2015, MDCS-NCNW awarded her the Dr. Dorothy Height Leadership Award in 2016, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Distinguished Award in 2018, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s 2018 National Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award, Barbara Carey Shuler 2018 Human Rights Community Activist award, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Dade County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Honors 2019 Community Service in Political Awareness & Involvement, Live America Life Insurance Agent of the Year 2019, and People Profile Corporate Citizen of the Year 2020.

During her tenure as Section President, she was elected as the 2016-2018 National Executive Committee Member-at-Large, becoming the first elected official from the State of Florida to serve on the National Board. She was re-elected to serve a third term in 2022-2024.

Ms. Gipson worked with Florida legislators in proposing Human Trafficking Education Bill 2019, a policy adopted by the department of education, making Florida the first state to teach Human Trafficking Education in school. In September 2020, Dr. Johnetta B. Cole, NCNW National President and Chair, appointed Ms. Gipson to the position of NCNW National Chair Human Trafficking Committee.

 

 

Smith Maximé

Smith Maximé

Haiti Country Director

Free the Slaves – Haiti

Smith Maximé's Bio

Smith Maximé is currently serving as the Caribbean Regional Director since 2021, after spending ten years as Haiti country Director for Free the Slaves. He is playing a key role in the implementation of the Free The Slaves’ 2021-2031 strategic plan in the region which aims at ending the conditions that allow modern slavery to persist in local communities. A Haitian national, Smith completed his primary, secondary, and university studies in Haiti. Early in his career, he worked in journalism and communication. He later devoted his time to organizational capacity building, promotion of the rights of vulnerable groups, gender equality, and project management.

During the past decade, Smith has worked alongside Haitian non-governmental and community-based organizations to strengthen organizational and institutional systems, conducting organizational assessments, and developing and implementing programs to strengthen institutional capacity. In his work against discrimination, he has worked with organizations of people living with HIV/AIDS, disabled people, and individuals involved in the sex industry. A strong focus of this work has been on assisting these groups in building networks to promote their rights. In 2006, Smith joined the office of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Haiti, where he spent five years as the Gender and Rights Program Manager. In this role, the promotion of women’s rights, especially the prevention of gender-based violence, was an important part of his work. Smith completed his university studies in law and earned a master’s degree in project development at Quisqueya University.

Stephany Powell

Stephany Powell

Vice President and Director of Law Enforcement Training and Survivor Services

National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) – USA

Stephany Powell's Bio

Dr. Stephany Powell retired from the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) as a Sergeant in charge of a Vice unit. Dr. Stephany Powell’s unique insight into the world of child abuse, sexual exploitation, and trafficking gained through her thirty years with LAPD made Dr. Powell an unparalleled choice to lead Journey Out in 2013 (formerly known as the Mary Magdalene Project). Journey Out assist victims of human trafficking in finding their way out of violence and abuse, and trauma due to sexual exploitation or forced prostitution. In 2020, she joined the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) as the Vice President and Director of Law Enforcement Training and Survivor Services.

Dr. Powell’s passion and expertise in this field have translated within the last four years into new policies for the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) and the national massage school industry. She has led education and awareness workshops for various audiences of law enforcement, prosecutors, and communities throughout the country and internationally. In 2019 she had the distinct privilege of training the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service on human trafficking awareness, prevention, and prosecution. These classes were intentionally designed to address specific problems within the region. Dr. Powell has spoken before the California Congressional Legislative committee in the State Capitol and addressed the Texas Legislative Black Caucus in Austin, Texas. Since 2013 she has educated over 11 thousand people. Dr. Powell is clearly a recognized expert on the subject of human trafficking.

Sylvie Bertrand

Sylvie Bertrand

Regional Representative

United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean – Bolivia/Canada

Sylvie Bertrand's Bio

Ms. Sylvie Bertrand (Canada, Bolivia) joined the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for Central America and the Caribbean (UNODC ROPAN) as its new Regional Representative in July 2022.

Bringing extensive experience to the region, Sylvie joined UNODC in 2004. She has served both in the UNODC’s field network in Kenya and South Africa and at its Headquarters in Vienna. More recently, she served as Deputy Regional Representative at the Regional Office for Eastern Africa, and prior to joining UNODC’s management team, she worked at UNODC in various capacities, including as Advisor, Expert, Programme Coordinator, and Head of Pillar, implementing UNODC’s health and social development mandate, including HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support of people who use drugs and people living and working in prison settings, as well as UNODC’s response on drug use prevention, treatment, and care.

Before joining UNODC, Sylvie served at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as a coordination officer in the Resident Coordinator’s Office in South Africa, and prior to joining the UN family, she had the opportunity to manage development projects in civil society organizations in Bolivia and Bulgaria. She worked in the municipal public sector, addressing management practices, including results-based management and service delivery.

Sylvie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, advanced degrees in Municipal Management and Law, and a Master’s degree in Public Administration from L’Ecole Administration Publique du Quebec, Canada. She is fluent in English, French, and Spanish.

Terry Dale Ince

Terry Dale Ince

Founder and Convener

CEDAW Committee of Trinidad and Tobago (CCoTT) – Trinidad and Tobago

Terry Dale Ince's Bio

Terry Dale Ince is a development specialist, social entrepreneur, human rights advocate/activist, founder, and convener of the CEDAW Committee of Trinidad and Tobago (CCoTT), a UN ECOSOC accredited volunteer non-governmental organization incorporated under the 1995 Companies Act of Trinidad and Tobago, focused on Advocacy, Education and Public Awareness on and for the sustainable implementation of the principles of the Convention for the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). Additionally, she is the Managing Director of TDI and Associates, a Change and Development Management consulting practice which integrates the principles of change management into daily practice for behavior change.

Prior to joining the civil society sector, Terry enjoyed a career in business and technology, where she managed territories in the private and public sectors while contributing to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in developed and developing countries and underserved communities.

Tim Howe

Tim Howe

Senior Regional Protection Specialist

International Organization of Migration – Costa Rica

Tim Howe's Bio

Tim Howe currently works as Senior Regional Migrant Protection Specialist with IOM´s Regional Office for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean, based in Costa Rica. Tim has been working with IOM and other UN agencies for more than 15 years, primarily in areas related to migrant protection, mixed migration, and counter-trafficking, including in emergency contexts. Previous postings have included positions in Kenya, Tanzania, Thailand, and Costa Rica, as well as in Geneva, Switzerland. Before his current position, Tim was the Regional Coordinator for the Interagency Response for refugees and migrants from Venezuela (R4V), based in Panama.

Tim is a German national and holds an LLM in International Law/ Human Rights Law from the London School of Economics. He is a certified mediator and has published different academic articles, including also on the principle of non-refoulment and on the work of international criminal tribunals on gender-based violence.

Tinestia Haynes

Tinestia Haynes

Case Coordinator

International Organization for Migration – Trinidad and Tobago

Tinestia Haynes' Bio

Tinestia Haynes has a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology and is a counseling psychologist by profession. She has been working in the field of helping professionals and social services for the past 16 years and has also worked in the areas of child protection, counseling, mediation, and social support. She has gained vast experience at several organizations, including the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services, the Ministry of Community Development, the Judiciary of Trinidad and Tobago, the Children’s Authority of Trinidad and Tobago, and the North West Regional Health Authority. She is currently the Case Coordinator at the International Organization for Migration Port of Spain.

Zeke Beharry

Zeke Beharry

Project Officer

International Organization of Migration – Trinidad and Tobago

Zeke Beharry's Bio

Zeke Beharry currently serves in the capacity of Project Officer, where he assists with identifying the strategic entry points for collaboration with the key stakeholders as well as manages a two (2) year (2022 – 2024) Trafficking in Persons (TIP) project aimed at strengthening the victim support environment in Trinidad and Tobago. Prior to his appointment as Project Officer at the IOM, Zeke Beharry served in various sections within the National Security domain for over twelve (12) years, in areas of policy, strategy, and analysis, where he was charged with carrying forward the research on selected issues and providing objective, credible policy guidance on national and international security related matters to the Chair of the National Security Council – the Prime Minister. He also served in positions where he was responsible for the negotiations, development, coordination, and advancement of national migration, border, and regional security projects. Zeke possesses an MSc. Security, Conflict, and International Development as well as obtained a BSc. International Relations.