Ensure Justice 2019
2019 Keynote speaker John Cotton Richmond, United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Term of Appointment: 10/2018 to present
John Cotton Richmond is the United States Ambassador-at-Large to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and leads the Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. In October 2018, the Senate unanimously confirmed him and President Trump appointed him to lead the United States’ global engagement to combat human trafficking and support the coordination of anti-trafficking efforts across the U.S. government.
Ambassador Richmond has a distinguished career in the global battle for freedom. He co-founded the Human Trafficking Institute that exists to decimate modern slavery at its source by empowering police and prosecutors to use victim-centered and trauma-informed methods to hold traffickers accountable and ensure survivors are treated with respect and care. While at the Institute, Ambassador Richmond built a team of experienced and dedicated anti-trafficking professionals, and led the Institute’s long-term international country projects and its aggressive research agenda. In 2018, he co-authored the first Federal Human Trafficking Report that collected and analyzed all the active federal human trafficking cases in the United States.
Prior to the Institute, Ambassador Richmond served, for more than ten years, as a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit where he investigated and prosecuted numerus victim-centered labor and sex trafficking cases throughout the United States. He also prosecuted cross burnings, police misconduct, and neo-Nazi hate crimes cases. Ambassador Richmond regularly served as an expert to the United Nations Working Group on Trafficking in Persons. He also lived in India for three years pioneering International Justice Mission’s anti-slavery work.
Ambassador Richmond’s work to combat human trafficking has earned numerous honors, including: being named one of the “Prosecutors of the Year” by the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, receiving the David Allred Award for Exceptional Contributions to Civil Rights, twice earning the Department of Homeland Security’s Outstanding Investigative Accomplishments in a Human Trafficking Award, receiving Shared Hope International’s Pathbreaker Award for Innovations in Combating Human Trafficking, as well as twice receiving the Department of Justice’s Special Commendation Award.
Ambassador Richmond has trained judges, prosecutors, federal agents, law enforcement officers, and non-governmental organizations on effective, proactive human trafficking investigative and prosecutorial strategies. He also taught Human Trafficking Law, Policy, and Litigation at Pepperdine School of Law and Vanderbilt Law School. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington and his Juris Doctor from Wake Forest University School of Law.
- Dr. Al Mijares
- Dawn Hawkins
- Dr. Beth Grant
- Dr. Jacqueline Parke
- Dr. Sibylle Georgianna
- Steven Kim
- Mieka Bledsoe
- Stephanie Taylor
Dr. Al Mijares was appointed Orange County Superintendent of Schools in August 2012, and prior to that time he served for six years as the Vice President of the College Board where he worked to expand the high school-to-university pipeline, in order to assure the college readiness and success for students, especially the underrepresented. Previously, Dr. Mijares was Superintendent of the Santa Ana (CA) Unified School District for more than 11 years. Under his guidance, the district received national recognition for successfully meeting the needs of its diverse student body. Mijares was praised for his innovative curricular reform and for improving reading and math skills. Before and during these administrative posts, he held faculty positions as an adjunct professor at Chapman University in Orange, CA, and taught part-time at both Pepperdine University’s Los Angeles campus and at Compton College in Compton, CA. Dr. Mijares earned his bachelor’s degree in child development/special education from California State University, Northridge. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. He holds several school credentials, including school psychology and school administration.
Dawn Hawkins is Sr. Vice President and Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), Mrs. Hawkins has developed a global strategy uniting more than 300 women’s rights, conservative, child advocacy, medical professionals, law enforcement, and religious groups, including a bipartisan political leadership, to work together in raising awareness of the connections between all forms of sexual exploitation. Her initiatives have led to sweeping policy changes of policies that foster exploitation for targets such as Google, Hilton Worldwide, Comcast, Walmart, and the Department of Defense. Through her leadership, NCOSE has grown a network reaching hundreds of thousands of people all over the world. Mrs. Hawkins has appeared on many local and national television programs, including Fox & Friends, CNN and Good Morning America. She regularly authors articles and speaks around the country addressing the public health harms of pornography, curbing demand for sex trafficking, protecting children and families in our digital world, and more.
Dr. Beth Grant is Executive Director of Project Rescue, a 20-year ministry working to bring healing to survivors of sexual slavery in Southern Asia and Europe. As a founding member of the Faith Alliance Against Slavery and Trafficking, Dr. Grant co-edited Hands That Heal (2007), an international curriculum to train caregivers of trafficking survivors. She authored Courageous Compassion (2014), a call to confront social injustice. Dr. Grant serves as adjunct faculty and guest lecturer on the engagement of the church in justice, women’s issues, and in cross-cultural studies in universities in India, Europe and the United States. She earned her Ph.D. at Biola University School of Intercultural Studies in Intercultural Education. Dr. Grant’s passion is to mobilize, empower and equip a generation of young women and men to fulfill their life-changing liberating mission – especially among the sexually exploited.
Jacqueline Parke, Psy.D. is a licensed psychologist and an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Vanguard University. She completed her doctoral internship and fellowship training at the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, specializing in trauma treatment with youth. In addition to teaching undergraduate students at Vanguard, Dr. Parke currently maintains a private practice in Fullerton, where she specializes in therapy with children, adolescents, and young adults. She has also served refugee populations in Thailand, the Syrian/Turkish border, Germany, and Lebanon.
Dr. Sibylle Georgianna, clinical psychologist, is the founder of The Leadership Practice and its affiliate Sexual Health of Orange County, CA. As a certified sex therapist, certified sex addiction therapist, certified clinical partner specialist and certified EMDR therapist, Dr. Georgianna is treating teens and adults experiencing sexual difficulties and compulsions. She is also an Assistant Faculty of Vanguard University of Southern California where she teaches and oversees the graduate research projects of Vanguard’s Master’s of Organizational Psychology students. Dr. Georgianna’s research and publications are focusing on self-regulation and self-leadership.
Steven Kim is the Co-Founder of Project Kinship where he serves individuals impacted by gangs and incarceration, with the aim to successfully re-integrate them back into the workforce, schools and community. His dedication to breaking cycles of incarceration, gang membership and community violence stems from over 15 years of working with traumatized and abandoned youth throughout Orange County. Mr. Kim is highly regarded for his human rights work in the field of forensic social work where he led multi-disciplinary teams to identify early childhood traumas on high-profile-death penalty cases. He is sought out for his expertise on understanding root causes of violence and has facilitated trainings on the state and federal levels of the criminal justice system. He is currently an adjunct professor with the University of Southern California in the School of Social Work. Steven holds an MSW from USC.
Mieka Bledsoe is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and is a Lead Therapist for Human Options. She received her Master of Science degree in Counseling California State University, Fullerton. Bledsoe is a trained Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Advocate as well as a trained facilitator through A Window Between Worlds, which utilizes art as a healing technique for victims of abuse and trauma. She has been with Human Options for the past eight years where she runs the Safe Options for Seniors Program. The Safe Options for Seniors Program is the only specialized program for seniors of elder abuse and family violence in Orange County. She provides counseling, psycho-educational support groups, as well as art groups. In addition, Bledsoe assists in outreach and education on the topic of elder abuse and has provided countless presentations and trainings to organizations throughout Orange County including Adult Protective Services, UCI Medical School, Orange County Ombudsman Program, Orange County Court Self-Help Staff, Hoag Outreach Programs, Council on Aging, SeniorServ, and Financial Abuse Specialist Team, senior centers, and countless students across Orange County.
Stephanie Taylor, MSW is the Program Coordinator for The Salvation Army’s Anti-Trafficking Services Program (TSA-ATS) in Orange County. She serves as part of the core leadership team for the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF); Taylor is an active member of Congressmen Ed Royce’s Human Trafficking Congressional Advisory Council; She works with the United States Department of State International Visitors Delegation, providing trainings on current best practices in Orange County addressing human trafficking to delegates from countries around the world. Through a grant awarded by California Office of Emergency Services Stephanie travels throughout the state providing trainings to law enforcement and victim advocates on identifying victims of human trafficking, along with best practices in serving victims of human trafficking after they have left their trafficking situation. In addition to her involvement on a county level, her current work at The Salvation Army Anti Trafficking Services includes supervising a team of case managers and graduate level interns in providing holistic, culturally informed, comprehensive social services to human trafficking victim-survivors, as well as providing trainings, mobilizing faith-based communities and key stakeholders on how they can fight human trafficking. She works as an Adjunct Professor at Vanguard University teaching the importance of holistic after-care services to human trafficking victim-survivors.
- Sue Webber-Brown
- Dr. Kiti Freier-Randall
- Maricela Rios-Faust
- Dr. Michael Hanna
- Dr. Ludmila Praslova
- Dr. Sylvia Kane
- Rachel Mayer
- Voula Antwan
Susan Webber-Brown is a 26-year law enforcement professional recently retired from the Butte County District Attorney's Office. As a Detective with the Butte interagency Narcotics Task Force, Webber-Brown was responsible for the investigation of major narcotic cases and child endangerment. She participated in more than 2,300 investigations and conducted interviews of more than 1,200 suspects. Butte County’s Drug Endangered Children Program, the first of its kind in the United States, which Webber-Brown developed, implemented and administered, has rescued over 2,300 Butte County children from environments where drugs were used, sold, or manufactured. She is a recognized expert in California and Arizona courts and has testified before Congress in the field of child endangerment due to drugs.
Dr. Kiti Freier-Randall is an internationally known Pediatric Neurodevelopmental Psychologist. Her passion is child advocacy as a means to promote optimal and healthy living. Dr. Freier-Randall is Director of Psychological Services for the Department of Pediatrics at Loma Linda University Health Care and Medical Director for the Inland Empire Autism Assessment Center of Excellence. In addition, she is also a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Public Health at Loma Linda University as well as a consultant expert on high risk 0-5-year olds, for Children’s Network of San Bernardino County’ California. Dr. Freier-Randall is a lead neurodevelopmental consultant for the six San Bernardino County SART centers (transdisciplinary 0-5 high risk clinics), as well as to Desert Mountain SELPA (education), and Inland Empire Health Plan (managed behavioral health care). She has dedicated her career to providing direct service and/or training to children, families, professionals, organizations, and communities with a goal to enhance the physical, cognitive, emotional, and spiritual lives of children and their families. She is especially committed to ameliorating the trajectories of children in her local and global community. Through her work, she has facilitated moving from understanding risk to promoting resiliency via training in over 40 countries and throughout the United States.
Maricela Rios-Faust received a B.A. in Psychology from California State University Fullerton in 1996 and a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California in 2001. Rios-Faust has over 12 years’ experience with high-risk populations and communities. Currently the Chief Operations Officer at Human Options, a non-profit agency that assists victims of domestic violence, she is on the Board of Directors for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence (CPEDV) and the Co-Chair of the CPEDV Public Policy Review Committee for the Southern Region. Rios-Faust also serves on the Steering Committees of the Safe from the Start Initiative, Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities, and the Early Childhood Mental Health Initiative. For the past 6 years, she has continued her involvement in education by serving as a Field Instructor for social workers and received the special designation of Master Field Instructor from USC’s School of Social Work.
Dr. Hanna received his Doctoral Degree in Biological Sciences with a specialization in Neurobiology and Behavior from the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Hanna’s interest in drug addiction developed when he joined a research lab as undergraduate that studied the neurobiology behind cue-elicited drug craving behavior. Prior to Vanguard, Dr. Hanna taught a Neurobiology Lab at UCI and was an adjunct faculty at Mt. San Antonio Community College and Los Angeles Trade Technical College. Areas of interest include substance abuse, neurological disorders, and developmental disorders. Apart from Vanguard, Dr. Hanna involved in services aimed at providing food and clothing to the homeless of Downtown Los Angeles. He is also involved in a tutoring and college-preparation program for high school youth in Orange County.
Ludmila N. Praslova, Ph.D., is the founding Director of Graduate Program in Organizational Psychology at Vanguard University of Southern California. Her areas of expertise include organizational effectiveness, survey research, organizational culture assessment and change, intercultural relations, and training and curriculum development. Dr. Praslova demonstrated her creative leadership in bridging academic science and organizational practice as the founding Academic Program Chair of Creating Healthy Organizations conference. In addition, she has extensive experience in Higher Education program development and evaluation, and organization health with her involvement with WSCUC.
Dr. Kane has served in the Department of Graduate Education at Vanguard University since 2010. She has been an Educational leader in K-12 schools for many years along with her excellent educational leadership at California State University, Los Angeles. Dr. Kane earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Azusa Pacific University, M.A. in Education with an Emphasis in Reading and B.A. in Child Development from California State University at Los Angeles.
Rachel Mayer is the Community Education Program Supervisor at Human Options. In her current role, she oversees the implementation of prevention and educational programs aimed at increasing awareness of domestic violence throughout Orange County. Prior to joining Human Options, Mayer worked with homeless and at-risk youth in San Bernardino County, provided substance abuse prevention education and oversaw an onsite educational training program at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange. She attended the University of California, Irvine and received a Bachelor of Arts in Public Health Policy and a Master of Public Health with an emphasis in Sociocultural Diversity and Health.
Voula Antwan is a social worker and family counselor practicing in Athens, Greece. In 2013, Ms. Antwan and her husband founded Bridges, a humanitarian initiative to assist Syrian refugees passing through Greece. Bridges has expanded to a holistic restoration and full integration organization giving a voice to the voiceless and victimized refugees who are daily passing through Greece. Ms. Antwan also organizes and speaks in many conferences focusing on mental health, family relationships, domestic violence and human trafficking.