Human Trafficking Awareness Panel

January 25, 2018

National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Three survivors of human trafficking – who have become leaders in our communities – joined the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force during National Human Trafficking Awareness Month in 2018.

They had agreed to sit on a panel where they could share their stories of astounding resilience and offer insights and wisdom learned, at a high price, over the years of abuse and, later, years of healing.

The Task Force thank our speakers, first, for their courageous journey from being ensnared by traffickers to living a well life and, second, for their willingness to share their stories with our group.

James Dold (trafficked for labor) is now an attorney. James has defended victims of trafficking and currently defends youth in death penalty cases; James has founded a nonprofit, Human Rights for Kids to bring together diverse stakeholders from various ideological and political backgrounds in a national movement to holistically change society’s failure to adequately care for our most marginalized and vulnerable children.

Lakesha Lee Lucas (trafficked in commercial sex) currently works with students to develop strong self-images and confidence as a strength against dangerous elements in life; she runs a nonprofit called IAMLAKESHALEE. (Lakesha also delighted attendees with her custom jewelry line.)

Shamere McKensie (trafficked for commercial sex) is a speaker and survivor advocate. Formerly Program Assistant for Shared Hope International and member of the DC Human Trafficking Task Force, Shamere is currently the CEO of the Sun Gate Foundation, which promotes education for survivors as a way to create stable lives that are not drawn back into trafficking.

We are also grateful to the Vienna Presbyterian Church for being such gracious hosts for our event, which was attended by more than 200 people.

Local news also helped us reach a broader audience, raising awareness of human trafficking. Coverage may be viewed at NBC4 local news.

The following video may be viewed and shared whole, but any editing whatsoever must be approved by the NOVA-HTI and also by the individual whose image the proposed edited version would appear. Please contact the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force Communications Chair for further information.