At age 19, Jennifer Amarteifio's life became deeply impacted when one of her closest friends became a victim of sex trafficking. Over the last 12 years, she has sought to learn as much as possible about the issue of human trafficking through self-study, documentaries, a mission trip to Cambodia, educational courses, and personal reflection upon the experiences of her close friend and other survivors. After learning about the reality of the daily trauma experienced by trafficking victims and awareness of vulnerabilities in her own life that placed her at risk of victimization herself, her passion to act was ignited. As a nurse practitioner, Jennifer recognizes that potential trafficking cases slip through the cracks far too often due to the inability of healthcare providers to identify victims, as well as a lack of response protocols. Her role as a healthcare provider places her in a unique position to respond to the issue of human trafficking and she now seeks to take ownership of that immense responsibility.
Alyssa Pepio served for two years with City Year, an AmeriCorps program that places mentors to work full time in America's highest need schools. Throughout her time with City Year, she developed individualized, transformative relationships with at-risk students and gained critical insight into the public education system. Through her leadership role in the organization, she frequently collaborated with the site’s training manager to develop curriculum and facilitate training sessions for their site. At Florida International University, she began conducting extensive research on the topic of human trafficking. She then recognized that throughout her service, she and her colleagues had missed critical, life-saving opportunities to identify students as potential victims of trafficking due to their lack of training on the issue. Recognizing this gap ignited her passion for education and awareness work surrounding human trafficking. Alyssa wholeheartedly believes that through transformational relationships, educators have the potential to foster positive change in the lives of survivors.