Award-winning advocate, speaker, trainer, and author
Trafficking and domestic violence survivor
As a survivor-leader in the movement to end human trafficking and all violence against women, Barbara Amaya has dedicated her life to combating human trafficking and violence against women and children.
Her memoir Nobody's Girl: A Memoir of Lost Innocence, Modern Day Slavery and Transformation provides readers expert testimony of escaping "the life" after growing up from the age of 12 to 24 in the streets of New York City while a victim of domestic minor sex trafficking. In 2015, Nobody's Girl was awarded the Amazon best-selling memoir in both the autobiography and biography categories by the TAZ author awards.
With a background in education and a credential in early childhood development, Amaya published her graphic novel The Destiny of Zoe Carpenter with accompanying curriculum aimed at educating middle and high school students which is used in multiple venues.
Amaya mentors survivors of trauma and violence and is a member of the National Survivor Network, the Department of Justice Human Trafficking Task Force, and the Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force and the NOVA HTI. She also serves on multiple advisory boards including the international nonprofit ArtWorks For Freedom, ECPAT, IMPACT, HER Resiliency and the SAFE Coalition organization. She is a member of HEAL, a united group of multidisciplinary professionals dedicated to ending human trafficking and supporting its survivors, from a public health perspective.
In 2014, Amaya was honored with the sought after James B. Hunter Human Rights Advocacy Award for her advocacy work and promoting human rights.
Amaya shares her compelling story of overcoming trauma and adversity as a source of inspiration in her keynotes, presentations, and training across the United States. Her TEDx talk continues to bring education to others today and she was included in the Justice Department's OVC Faces of Human Trafficking Video Series and Public Service Announcement.
Her life story also has been shared in several documentaries including the award-winning film What Happened to the Girl Next Door, interpreted in multiple artworks, one by Kay Chernush, Director of ArtWorks for Freedom, another by performance artist Christine Walters, and in multiple television series, such as Vanity Fair Confidential in the episode "Locked Up Next Door," MTV, NPR, and more.
Anti-Human Trafficking Program Manager, Nationalities Service Center (NSC)
As the Anti-Human Trafficking Program Manager, Anh Hua coordinates training and outreach activities and oversees case management and legal services for survivors. Hua also is the Co-Chair of the Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking Coalition Training/Communication Subcommittee. Prior to NSC, she served as the Country Director for the Senhoa Foundation’s anti-trafficking programs in Cambodia and India. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in International and Regional Studies at University of the Pacific and a Master in Public Affairs at Princeton University.
Det. Connie Marinello
Detective, Upper Merion Township Police
Detective Connie Marinello has served as a police officer for 23 years. For the past 7 years, Marinello has been a detective in the investigations division handling sex assaults, crimes against children, and juvenile crime. She is also cross sworn with the Philadelphia FBI’s Violent Crimes Against Children Task Force and the Montgomery County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and has worked on human trafficking and child exploitation cases since she began as an investigator. Marinello is a certified forensic interviewer and a nationally board-certified human trafficking investigator through the McAfee Institute. As such, she has assisted in training law enforcement, educators, and health and human services personnel in the recognition of trafficking victims and changing the mindset of the “victimless crime.” Marinello also helps coordinate the Upper Merion PD’s demand-driven initiative with its special investigations unit during the National John Sting Operation run through the Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois. She currently serves as a law enforcement liaison and member of the Montgomery County Anti Human Trafficking Coalition (MCAT).
Laura Clary, BSN, RN, FNE-A/P, SANE-A, CFN
Sexual Assault Forensic Examination Clinical Program Manager/ Forensic Nurse Examiner, Greater Baltimore Medical Center (GBMC)
After completing her Forensic Nursing training at GBMC, Laura Clary joined the GBMC SAFE Program in 2010. She is certified to care for patients across the lifespan who have been victims of sexual assault, rape, child abuse/neglect, intimate partner violence, and human trafficking. With extensive experience in emergency and trauma nursing, Clary is a Board of Nursing-approved Forensic Nurse Examiner Instructor in the State of Maryland and has taught and precepted registered nurses and physicians from all over the country. She also holds a national professional certification as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner from the International Association of Forensic Nurses. She is an active member of the International Association of Forensic Nurses, as well as the Maryland Child Abuse Medical Providers, and is Chair of the Baltimore County Sexual Assault Response Team. Passionate about community education, Clary lectures at high schools, colleges, and other organizations throughout Baltimore County on healthy relationships, boundaries, internet safety, and the services offered at GBMC. Clary also was nationally recognized as “America’s Most Amazing Nurse” by Prevention Magazine and The Doctors television show, and additionally awarded Baltimore County’s Woman of the Year in 2018.
LSW Pupil Services Supervisor, Norristown School District
Julie Knudsen has worked with children for more than three decades, working first as a fifth grade teacher in Los Angeles. Knudsen furthered her education at Bryn Mawr College, earning a master’s degree as a clinical social worker. She has worked as a clinical social worker in the Norristown area for the past 15 years. There, Knudsen initiated and implemented the first clinical social work internship program in the Norristown Area School District, and in partnership with the Montgomery County School Safety Coordinator, she recently began the Montgomery County Bullying/Cyber-bullying Task Force. Most recently, Knudsen was honored as a “superhero” by the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey.
Abbie Newman, RN, JD
CEO and Founding Executive Director, Mission Kids Advocacy Center
After serving as the Founding Executive Director since 2008, Abbie Newman, RN, JD, is currently the CEO of Mission Kids Advocacy Center. With her leadership, Mission Kids grew from a concept into a Nationally Accredited Child Advocacy Center, serving more than 4,000 children of diverse cultures and backgrounds and their non-offending family members. As CEO, Newman is responsible for providing high-level leadership, operations and new program development at state, national, and international levels. She works closely with legislators and public and private stakeholders to improve laws, awareness, and education surrounding child sexual abuse, human trafficking, and collaborative responses to child abuse investigations. Mission Kids assists approximately 600 children each year, implementing cutting-edge initiatives with youth victims of human trafficking.