Lisa Kristine’s Shine a Light Poster and Campaign

I was so honored to be included in Lisa Kristine’s Shine a Light poster and campaign! Lisa’s photography is amazing and inspiring.

Shine a Light

From, about her campaign:

“As many of you know, Lisa’s recent focus has been on documenting modern day slavery – traveling into the heart of broiling brick kilns, down rickety mine shafts, and into the hidden lairs of sex slavery. A conservative estimate says that there are more than 27 million slaves in the world today – men, women and children who risk their lives and are forced into labor without pay, under threat of violence, and cannot walk away.

October 18th is International Anti-Slavery Day. In honor of this day, we have created a poster to help Shine a Light on this horrific condition, and to awaken a force in people to participate in the eradication of slavery. A percentage of proceeds from the purchase of the Shine a Light poster, Slavery book, or Slavery series prints go directly toward anti-slavery organizations.

Here’s what you can do:

Buy a poster:

Spread the word – send to your email lists, post on Facebook, tweet….

Learn more about Lisa’s work and watch her Ted Talk on Mondern Day Slavery. (note that some proceeds from all Slavery posters, books, and prints go toward anti-slavery organizations)

Thank you so much for your help!”

The Life: TV show reveals the brutal cost of sex trafficking of women and minors

By Holly Austin Smith — From her column Speaking Out in the Washington Times

WASHINGTON, October 24, 2012 – Very few images and videos regarding the topic of sex trafficking are able to stir my emotions.  They are often too violent, too overdramatized, too sensationalized, or just too innocent.  When I watched, Ballerina, a promotional clip for George Perez’s and Mohammad Maaty’s brainchild television series project, The Life, I was honestly moved.

It took me back in time to a middle school child who had been lured away from home by a man promising tales of Hollywood stardom.  This man, who turned out to be a top-ranking member of a sex trafficking ring, forced the 14-year-old girl into a life of prostitution.

That girl was me.

Within five minutes, actress Jessica Devlin transported me back to the summer of 1992, back to a moment on the streets of Atlantic City, New Jersey, in which the memory of my rock stardom goals seemed like distant pipedreams.

Read the article on the Washington Times website

NSN Praises President’s Announcement to Better Protect and Assist Human Trafficking Survivors

September 26, 2012



Sheila and ImaMembers of the National Survivor Network (NSN) are thrilled that President Obama openly declared a U.S. initiative to address the global issue of human trafficking at the Clinton Global Initiative yesterday, and were especially pleased that President Obama listened to the priorities of survivors and reflected those priorities in his speech and his action plan.

After the speech Keisha Head, survivor of domestic minor sex trafficking, stated, “Today feels like a new Independence Day for me! I will always remember today. Thank you, President Obama, for caring [about] those affected by Human Trafficking / Modern Day Slavery. And a special thanks to those survivor sisters who represented us so beautifully. Our voices have been heard!”

Antonia “Neet” Childs, survivor of domestic minor sex trafficking and founder of Neet’s Sweets, stated, “[I am] so proud to be a part of this fight and movement, and [to be] a part of history yesterday! We are motivated and determined to keep pushing forward!”

NSN members have prioritized passing the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2011 (TVPA), the seminal federal legislation that provides protection and funding for survivors of human trafficking, and they applaud the President for requesting its passage in his speech.

Ima Matul and NSN member, Holly Austin Smith, presented joint testimony to the U.S. Congress to support the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act last year. This was the first time a U.S. citizen and foreign national survivor of labor and sex trafficking provided joint testimony to Congress, demonstrating a united front among individuals with diverse backgrounds. The NSN is proud that President Obama has now lent his support to this essential piece of legislation.

“I was so happy to hear the President push for reauthorization of the TVPA,” stated Holly Austin Smith, survivor of domestic minor sex trafficking. “This month marks a year since Ima Matul and I spoke on Capitol Hill in support of this legislation, and I do hope that Congress acts quickly!”

NSN members have also prioritized increased training of first responders, public awareness, and funding for services for trafficking survivors, all priorities highlighted in President Obama’s speech. NSN members strongly support President Obama’s call for a national action plan to better address human trafficking in the United States and to collect better data to understand this problem.

Margaret Howard, domestic sex trafficking survivor and Master Social Worker, stated that “lack of services for human trafficking survivors in the United States is a huge problem. When I was 13 and had just escaped from sex trafficking, I was too scared to tell anyone what happened to me and, as a result, I tried to take my own life and then suffered years of medical issues. I hope the President’s initiative will ensure that other girls like me receive the help they need immediately! I am so excited, and I’m so proud to be part of this movement. Together we can do great work.”

Alice Nyiro, foreign national labor trafficking survivor, stated, “The services I received after the FBI rescued me from my trafficking situation were life changing. We need to ensure that all first responders have proper training to identify human trafficking survivors like myself as well as have the right programs to provide the support survivors need. I had not seen a doctor in over two years, did not have food or a place to go. Hopefully the President’s initiative will ensure that survivors escaping from years of abuse finally have a safe place to go.”

NSN members were especially proud that in his speech President Obama honored Ima Matul, a founding member of the NSN, survivor of child labor trafficking from Indonesia, and Survivor Organizer at the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST), and Shelia White, Survivor Leadership Coordinator at GEMS in New York.

Additional quotes from NSN members:

Margeaux Gray, survivor of child sex trafficking, stated, “Ima and Sheila are leaders and movers. My day had been made. Thank you, Ima, for sharing! Slavery still exists, it’s time to abolish it for good. Join the movement!”

Stella Marr, survivor of sex trafficking and founder of Survivors Connect, stated, “I know Ima Matul and Sheila White will accomplish great things. And the more we join our voices and work together – the more empowered we become — and the more we are able to help those still going through those terrible things we once knew. In our voices, hearts and unity — we have the power.”

Stacy Jewell Lewis, survivor of sex trafficking, stated “I am speechless and overjoyed by the President Obama’s address concerning Human Trafficking. To watch him span the camera and highlight fellow members of the National Survivor Network brought tears to my eyes. We work so hard on the ground level just hoping someone will acknowledge our cause and fight for trafficking victims with us, and to have it brought to light on the national stage through the most powerful man in the nation is more than anyone could ask for.”

If you are a survivor and would like to join the National Survivor Network, please contact Ima Matul at


About NSN: The National Survivor Network is a network of trafficking survivors created in February 2011 by the Coalition to Abolish Slavery & Trafficking (CAST). The NSN’s mission statement is to bring together a community of survivors of human trafficking, by creating a platform for survivor- led advocacy, peer-to-peer mentorship, and empowerment that embraces all survivors, regardless of gender, age, nationality or type of trafficking experience. Members include men and women survivors of human trafficking from 15 different states and 22 different countries.

How YOU can help prevent child trafficking

By Holly Austin Smith — From her column Speaking Out in the Washington Times

 How YOU Can Help

WASHINGTON, October 4, 2012  Raising awareness for the prevalence of child sex trafficking in America is critical in the global war against human trafficking.  However, audience members at community awareness events are often left feeling overwhelmed by the issue.

“What can I possibly do?”  I’m often asked by those still reeling from survival stories and statistics, “How can I get involved?”

And I always answer in the same way: Become a mentor!

Mentoring is an easily accessible and effective way to prevent human trafficking in your own community.  Child predators, specifically child sex traffickers, target those youth who are most vulnerable, those who lack the support and guidance needed to overcome and avoid the many challenges associated with adolescence.

Read the article on the Washington Times website

Recognizing Heroes Benefit

Morgan Perry

Morgan Perry is the Executive Producer/Producer of the Sex+Money: A National Search for Human Worth documentary and campaign. Morgan produced the Sex+Money documentary and in 2011 launched a national campaign, screening the film in all 50 states and Canada. Since the release of the film, Morgan has been interviewed by CNN, NBC, Voice of America, World Magazine, Relevant Magazine, and more. Morgan was also the recipient of a Certificate Of Recognition for her work in combating trafficking from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.


Holly Austin Smith

Holly Austin Smith is a survivor of child trafficking survivor advocate, author & speaker. In November 2011, Holly appeared on the Dr. Oz show and was also featured in the August 2011 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. Holly submitted joint testimony to Congress, in support of the reauthorization of the Trafficked Victims Protection Act (TVPRA). In addition to working as a training consultant for the AMBER Alert Program, Holly is requested on a regular basis to provide testimony and input to law enforcement officials, social service providers, human trafficking task forces, and journalists. Most recently, Holly was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Trafficking in Persons Symposium in Salt Lake City, UT, an event hosted by the United States Department of Justice.


Arlene Irion

Arlene Irion is the Director of National Initiatives of F.A.C.T. Alliance and their “Let’s Respond” campaign to fight against child trafficking in America. Arlene has been involved in local and federal law enforcement for the past 13 years.  Her expertise is related to commercial sexual exploitation of children.  She was the recipient of the FBI Director’s Award for Excellence and The Attorney General’s Award, the highest honors bestowed by the Department of Justice, for her exceptional performance and notable accomplishments in establishing a dynamic, multi-county task force in Southern California that is dedicated to rescuing minor victims from commercial sexual exploitation and prosecution of their perpetrators. Arlene served on the advisory committee for the film documentary “Sex+Money; A National Search for Human Worth.”  She has a passion for righteousness and justice and a tender heart towards the innocent children who have been sexually exploited and victimized.


Ben Decker

Ben Decker is a publicist, event planner, promoter and entrepreneur. He has been involved in events associated with the Golden Globe Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, BET Awards and more. Ben specializes in producing and publicizing concerts, fashion shows and charity events. Ben has been a part of fundraising events for Unlikely Heroes, Toys for Tots, Susan G. Komen foundation, Benson Breast Cancer Foundation, Children of the Night, SPCALA, The American Red Cross, Falling Whistles, Love Cures Cancer, Total Family Support Clinic and more. Ben is an active member of the community, often finding new projects to participate in, volunteer for, and support. A former actor, he has appeared on multiple TV shows and film, and most recently, reality TV featuring his work in public relations.