Rachel Thomas, M. Ed., is the Director of Sowers Education Group where she and a team of educators sow seeds of sex trafficking awareness and survivor empowerment.
A graduate of UCLA with a Masters in Education and a personal survivor of human trafficking, Rachel has over 12 years’ experience in teaching, mentoring, corporate training, curriculum writing and public speaking. She has educated and inspired a wide range of audiences including teens, social service providers, churches, teachers, college students, law enforcement and lawmakers. One of her organization’s proudest accomplishments is an intervention curriculum called Ending The Game; this curriculum is being used in over 170 facilities nationwide to help survivors break the bonds of attachment to traffickers and/or the lifestyle of commercial sexual exploitation.
Since 2012, Rachel and the Sowers Team have reached over 100,000 live audience members and millions more through numerous media outlets including New Day Morning Show on CNN, Inside with Chris Cuomo: Anyone’s Daughter on HLN, The T.D. Jakes Show, The New York Times Upfront Magazine and ABC’s Newsmakers. Rachel was honored by Congressman Ed Royce of California’s 39th district and Los Angeles Supervisor Don Knabe for her leadership and trafficking prevention efforts. Recently, Rachel was appointed to the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking for a term of two years.
A proud Detroit native and Michigan State alum, Lawrence is a man with a vision for greatness. He mentors boys, especially those being raised without fathers, and is actively involved in various organizations committed to raising better men. In the future, Lawrence plans to develop a character-building curriculum for boys without fathers.
As a former foster youth and human trafficking survivor, Jae Carter is changing the narrative for youth like her by obtaining a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of La Verne and using her voice to advocate for foster youth rights and empowerment.
Jae currently works at a short-term treatment facility in Los Angeles County where she utilizes a trauma-informed and mindfulness approach to help youth cope with their trauma, get on track to success and healthily integrate back into society.
Devon is a remarkable young woman who brings light to every atmosphere. Moving to Los Alamitos at the age of 11, Devon grew up like most American teens.
It was at the age of 19 she met a man who offered her a great job in Las Vegas. Free-spirited and trusting, she decided to temporarily move to Vegas to try out the new promising career. She soon found out, however, that she had been lured into sex trafficking. Through divine opportunity and personal courage, she found a way to eventually escape the situation. Today she is a passionate missionary, speaker and leader.
Devon’s favorite quote:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God that bring salvation to everyone who believes.” -Romans 1:16
Angelica brings an especially powerful message to women, men and youth about the dangers of sex trafficking, and how easily it can be anyone’s daughter.
Angelica holds a Bachelor’s Degree from California State Dominguez Hills in Communications with a concentration in Public Relations. At the time of her exploitation, Angelica was working toward a Masters Degree. Angelica has used her experience of exploitation to do survivor-mentorship with victims and has worked at Journey Out since 2015. She has shared her story and powerful message at the LA City Attorney’s office and many community events.
Angelica hopes to create a new future for sex trafficking survivors through legislative reform, community involvement and “planting the seed of empowerment” both with survivors and in the community.
Dr. Debbie Lassiter is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Convergence Resource Center. Dr Lassiter has provided support and mentorship to men and women rebuilding their lives after trauma for over 40 years.
In 2004 Dr. Lassiter worked with a group of women to start the Convergence Resource Center providing aftercare services for women released from incarceration. The intersection between incarceration and human trafficking prompted Dr. Lassiter to launch the Sex Trafficking Support Initiative in 2012 at which time she began hosting community awareness events. In 2014 Dr. Lassiter was honored by the Department Of Justice with the National Crime Victims Award for her work with Human Trafficking Survivors. A few months later, she was named one of the 50 Heroes of Fortune 500 and US Bank Corporation.
Dr Lassiter holds a Doctorate in Divinity from St Thomas Christian College (Jacksonville, Florida).
Christine Cesa is a survivor of interfamilial trafficking (being trafficked by a parent) and a graduate of Ashland University and Fuller Theological Seminary with a Masters in Intercultural Studies with Children at Risk.
Christine is a local missionary, speaker and advocate. She is a passionate speaker bringing strength and awareness in regard to commercial sexual exploitation of children, at-risk issues pertaining to girls and women and the need for care and support.
Christine has spoken at various events over the last three years on the topics of human trafficking and gender-related issues.
She is justice oriented, an overcomer and working to give voice to those who are voiceless.
Marjorie Saylor has been active in local and faith based communities assisting groups to understand the trauma from the perspective of victims of child sexual abuse and sexual assault as a teenage girl.
She explains vulnerabilities and risks of human trafficking, as she shares her story of hope and reclaiming her life. Marjorie is a mother and spends time mentoring young girls, as well as families that are struggling with the impact and reality of abuse. As a student at Palomar College she is studying Psychology and Criminal Justice. She has been called on by her current professors to offer victim centered presentations on human trafficking, domestic violence, and the dangers of pornography.
She sees sharing as an opportunity to shed light on an issue that has a global impact on the life and health of women and children.