2015 Speakers

We are thrilled to welcome the following amazing speakers to the Justice Summit 2015: Empowering You to Help End Human Trafficking!

 Emcee: Bill Cody 

Bill Cody

Okipe logo

Bill is the founding visionary behind Shine Some Light. With an extensive executive management background over the past 20 years, both in for profit and non-profit organizations, Bill has enjoyed leading successful start-up initiatives. He is a sought after international public speaker and consultant in the non-profit business community. In his most recent role, Bill created capacity to develop business and N.G.O. platforms for community development in Pakistan, Indonesia and Somalia. This was accomplished as Bill developed strategic partners and operations both in the U.S. and abroad as the Executive Director of the International Crisis Relief Network. Building ‘strategic partnerships’ is a core value for Bill. Through relational, philosophical and financial collaboration with key families in the East Bay area of California, the vision for Shine Some Light has been realized.

Rachel Thomas HeadshotKeynote Speaker: Rachel Thomas, M. Ed. 

Rachel Thomas is a former music video model and sex trafficking survivor who speaks from the heart and aims at the head. She is the co-founder of Sowers Education Group where she and a team of survivors dedicate themselves to sowing seeds of sex trafficking awareness and survivor empowerment.

A graduate of Emory University in Atlanta (Bachelor’s Degree), and UCLA (Master’s Degree in Education), Rachel has over 10 years’ experience in teaching, mentoring, corporate training, curriculum writing and public speaking.  She has educated and inspired a wide range of audiences including teens, parents, social workers, church groups, teachers, college students, sex trafficking survivors and law enforcement.  In each presentation, Rachel makes sure to incorporate three important yet often overlooked topics relating to domestic sex trafficking: 1) psychological coercion and why some victims don’t leave, 2) pop culture’s glorification of casual sex and pimping, and 3) the CEO Pimp who, in contrast to Romeo Pimps and Gorilla Pimps swindles his prey under the guise of legitimate business.

Rachel and the Sowers Team have reached over 15,000 live audience members and thousands more through media.  Rachel and her organization’s latest curriculum, Ending The Game: A Sex Trafficking Intervention Curriculum, have been featured on numerous media outlets including The New York Times Upfront Magazine and ABC’s Newsmakers with Adrienne Alpert.  Rachel was also recently honored by Congressman Ed Royce of California’s 39th district and Los Angeles Supervisor Don Knabe for her leadership and trafficking prevention efforts.  To learn more about Sowers or Rachel Thomas, please visit www.SowersEducationGroup.com.

Dr. Melissa FarleyProstitution Research and Education

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Melissa Farley Ph.D.

has has written 26 peer-reviewed articles on prostitution and trafficking and two books: Prostitution, Trafficking & Traumatic Stress (2004), and Prostitution and Trafficking in Nevada: Making the Connections (2007). She co-authored the first international survey of prostitution and PTSD in nine countries (2003); the first research on the lives of trafficked Native American women in the United States (2011); and the first study comparing sex buyers to non-sex buyers (2011).  Dr. Farley founded Prostitution Research & Education (PRE) in 1995. PRE is a nonprofit organization dedicated to research, education, and policy consultation on commercial sexual abuse and its impact on women, men, and children. Its goal is to abolish prostitution and offer alternatives to those in it.  PRE’s research has been used by governments in South Africa, Canada, New Zealand, Ghana, Spain, Sweden, Korea, United Kingdom, and United States for education and policy development on prostitution and trafficking.

Cris StambaughThe Grace Network LogoChris Stambaugh: 

Chris Stambaugh is the Founder & Director of The Grace Network (TGN).   TGN exists to mobilize and resource communities throughout the Sacramento region to combat human trafficking locally & beyond. Originally launched with 12 members in the summer of 2011, TGN has since matured into a network of 1,400 individuals representing over 300 different agencies in the private, public & religious sectors. For 10 years, Chris has been advocating for the poor, hurting, & oppressed. He’s worked with hundreds of exploited and high-risk individuals, managed a survivors of exploitation program, & serves as an anti-trafficking consultant to groups throughout California. Chris’ passion is fueled by his own personal experience of growing up in a homeless family in Sacramento. Since then, Chris’ life is a testimony to those who feel they may never amount to anything. Armed with a message of hope, authenticity, and a thirst for justice, Chris is a sought-after speaker and trainer on issues of youth homelessness, human trafficking, & social justice. Chris lives in Sacramento, CA with his gracious wife, Melisa, of 6 years and three children, Kourage, Selah, & Samantha.


Mark Fisher:

DSC00301Mark Fisher is the former U.S. Director for Red Window Project, a nonprofit organization that equips survivors of human trafficking in the Philippines for careers. He is a volunteer church mobilizer and advocacy leader for International Justice Mission, a human rights agency that brings relief to victims of violent oppression. He has trained hundreds of church and community members to fight trafficking through prevention, intervention, restoration, and advocacy. He has published over 70 articles about human trafficking on Examiner.com. For five years, he has been active in a youth and children urban outreach south of Oakland, serving the vulnerable and victimized of abuse and exploitation. He is currently a full-time student at Western Seminary completing an M.A. in Ministry and Leadership degree.



Rebecca McGarigle, LCSW, MSW:

Rebecca has over 25 years experience as a social worker.  She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of California.  She has worked in various public service roles, including Child Protective Services, Youth Mental Health, Adult Mental Health and as a Community College Instructor.  For the past 14 years, she has specialized exclusively in the field of Co-Occurring Disorders (those who are recovering from both severe mental illness and addiction to drugs and/or alcohol).  She has a passion and deeply felt commitment toward educating others in the dynamics and after-effects of trauma experiences.  Her quest is to fortify empathy by creating increasingly effective, enduring patterns of communication within ourselves and between others.  She believes that the method in which a message is delivered is more important than the message itself.

DL Blades



Dr. Deborah Blades: Doctor of Ministry; International Feminist Theology, and MA of Theological Studies

I’ve had the amazing gift of studying in an international and cross cultural context. Theological learning and reflection within a global community has opened me to new ways of knowing, doing and being. Theological reflection is so crucial because how we make meaning of our lives is frequently understood through the lens of religious experience. Therefore, it must be bold, imaginative and grounded in the reality and historical narratives of peoples’ lives; for in the midst of everyday experiences transformative work begins. My work focuses on helping women shed hurtful theologies that often pass for “common sense,” that in truth mask systemic injustice that diminishes life. By illuminating the way language creates and sustains oppressive gender divisions in culture and religion, then pushing against its rules and constructs, it offers necessary tools to help women find voice as a site for empowerment. Resisting injustice in the world around us is never an easy task, yet my hope is to dare to contribute to and construct theologies and ways of speaking/living that are emancipatory and life giving for all.



 Stay tuned for more…..