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Founder and Executive Director
Kim Biddle began her work with human trafficking in 2003 when she traveled to Thailand and Cambodia in partnership with Saddleback Church and the International Justice Mission. She returned to the United States to help found the Saddleback Justice Task Force and focus on aftercare resource development for caretakers of survivors in Third World countries. Over the years, she has narrowed her focus from global human trafficking to domestic minor sex trafficking, leading her to found Saving Innocence to provide the needed crisis response and advocacy for this underserved population in the United States. She works with local judges, probation officers, aftercare placements, police detectives, and social workers to create new policies within the legal system and social services to ensure survivors receive proper advocacy from the point of rescue to rehabilitation.
For the past seven years, Biddle has launched and developed programs to advocate for at-risk youth and survivors of human trafficking in multiple countries throughout Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States. Most recently, she assisted the launch of outreach programs for street children in Kenya and an aftercare facility for child survivors in Haiti, in partnership with national organizations. For the past two years she was also contracted out by the University of Southern California to conduct research relating to effective intervention strategies for homeless youth in Los Angeles County.
Pioneering programs to ensure comprehensive aftercare is provided to domestic minor sex trafficking victims in Los Angeles County, Biddle has advocated for youth ranging in ages from 11-17 who were rescued within Los Angeles County. Advocacy for each child begins at crisis intervention and includes support through full restoration – no matter how many times the child reenters the crisis stage. For youth who had no one to turn to for help, Biddle has coordinated services to meet each child’s mental health and medical needs, assist with aftercare placement, provide ongoing mentorship, and offer support to the child’s family.
Biddle has also pioneered prevention and intervention programs throughout California to advocate for the safety of children in schools against traffickers. She has designed human trafficking trainings for a variety of professional fields on how to prevent trafficking, identify child victims, and best coordinate to provide optimal aftercare to survivors. By training professionals who encounter at-risk youth such as law enforcement, district attorneys, social workers, probation officers, and schoolteachers, Biddle has impacted thousands of children by empowering front-line workers to take action. Additional curriculum and resources have been developed for schoolteachers to teach students in the classroom about trafficking, empowering youth to make safe and healthy choices. A lead expert and sought after speaker, Biddle has trained hundreds of community leaders, spoken by invitation at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles, and presented at national conferences and symposiums surrounding the issues of human trafficking and at-risk youth.
Biddle earned a Bachelor of Science in Education, a Multiple-Subject Teaching Credential, and a Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California. She went on to receive her Masters in Global Health certification from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma, and has earned special certifications to work with survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. However, Biddle would say that her true education and inspiration derives from her own survivorship from sexual exploitation throughout her youth. She states, “Everything we overcome can be used to help others in their overcoming. Everything that has come against us to destroy us, can now be used to set others free.” … By surviving all that was intended to destroy us, we are given tools that can be used to set others free.”
Yvonne Goll began her work with trauma victims as a Clinical Care Extender at Hoag Hospital, while finishing up her degree in Biology at Concordia University. Her drive to serve others led her around the world where she worked in ten different countries with people of varied cultural backgrounds and traumatic experiences. While in Haiti, Goll led teams with Christian Dominican Medical Missions where she provided medical assistance and emergency service outreach to earthquake survivors. While in Africa, she worked as a Tropical Wound Care Administrator where she worked with doctors to provide care for major wound care victims. Later, as the Director of Public Health Rural Outreach for Fathers House Ministries in Uganda, she ran a public health training seminar where she educated nationals about general health practices, and empowered them to teach communities in rural regions of the county. Through this work, Goll realized that issues relating to health and trauma often started in childhood, which lead her to transition to Kisumu, Kenya where she was Outreach Coordinator at Agape Children’s Ministries. Here she designed and administered a curriculum to help street boys transition from the streets into safe housing and holistic healing. Continuing with a heart for people in need, Goll traveled to South East Asia where she partnered with Mother Teresa Homes and Youth With a Mission to gain a comprehensive understanding of intervention and restoration programs for survivors of trauma. After returning to the states, Goll became the Director of Programs for Brightway Center where she met with local school superintendents and principles to help develop curriculums for bullying, drug and alcohol awareness, and other teen prevention programs. Throughout this work, Goll has realized her call to work with those who have endured severe forms of trauma and neglect. Her vision is to bring freedom and encouragement to all children who have been enslaved and oppressed. As the Program Coordinator for Saving Innocence, she will be advocating for youth rescued from sex trafficking in Los Angeles, and overseeing an army of volunteers that are mentoring and releasing the dreams of the children that will be working with us.
Family Support and Outreach Coordinator
D’Lita Miller, a single mother of five and grandmother of three, is no stranger to human trafficking. A child survivor of commercial sexual exploitation herself, and a mother of a trafficking victim, Miller has experienced both sides of this issue. She knows all too well the many challenges survivors face on their road to safety and recovery, and the lack of help available to them. For the past 7 years, Miller has devoted her life to advocating for trafficking victims. Prior to her work with Saving Innocence, she had pioneered many outreach initiatives where she took a small team into high trafficking areas to provide information and resources at street level to victims, pimps and the buyers or “Johns”. Because of the lack of support and resources, Miller was limited to the assistance that she could provide to those she encountered. Then when Miller’s youngest daughter fell victim to sex trafficking in Los Angeles, law enforcement connected her with Kim Biddle, the Founder and Executive Director of Saving Innocence. Since that time, Miller has become the Director of Family Support, where advocates for trafficking victims, oversees prevention groups for parents, speaks at parent training meetings, assists in the development of curriculum, and is a resource to families whose children have survived domestic sex trafficking.
Community and Resource Strategist
Kelsi Yeakel first became aware of the issue of human trafficking in 2008 when she joining a social justice group in college. Kelsi’s internship from undergrad is what brought her out to Hollywood, California. Here she worked at a non-profit for at risk teens in Los Angeles. Kelsi oversaw the weekly mission trips that came during the summer, developed friendships, mentored, discipled and tried toinstill a positive lifestyle into the kids that would come to the drop in center. Once Kelsi graduated from Southeastern University she moved to Los Angeles and continued to work for Oasis of Hollywood. After a year Kelsi started graduate school at Azusa Pacific University for her masters in social work. During her time at Azusa Pacific she interned for Family Promise. Family Promise, a national nonprofit organization is committed to helping low-income families achieve lasting independence. Kelsi would perform the intakes of possible new clients and provide case management. Kelsi created a resource guide of services in the San Fernando Valley and would refer clients out they were not able to offer services to. Kelsi then interned for Citrus Valley Medical Center. As a social work intern she was assigned to several patients off of the daily census to interview and conduct a psychosocial assessment and provided resources as required for each patient. She had to work with an interdisciplinary team (doctors, nurses, other social workers, patients, families, etc.) It was her key responsibility to advocate for the patient’s needs. Kelsi’s final internship as a MSW student was at the Orange County Salvation Army Human Trafficking Department. Intern responsibilities include identifying current needs in the Network of Emergency Human Trafficking Services (NETS) program and developing/implementing the required action plan for addressing these key requirements. Other responsibilities include working closely with the Program Director and Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) staff to contribute to the outreach and special project goals of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force and The Salvation Army (TSA) OC Coordination. Kelsi worked on developing and designing the curriculum for a survivors group for all of the victims they help. Kelsi developed a discrete tool that contained the hotline contact information that will be presented to trafficking victims if they require/desire further assistance. As Kelsi’s capstone project for her degree she put on a graduation ceremony for 17 of the survivors they has help over the past three years. This was a time for the survivors to see themselves as no longer victims, but as survivors. 10 women 5 men and 2 girls graduated. The clients came from Clients are from the Philippines, Taiwan , Thailand, Pakistan, Romania, and Mexico. Six of those survivors are now starting a survivor caucus group down in Orange County. Kelsi graduated with her masters in social work with a community practice and partnership concentration. As the Community and Resource Strategist for Saving Innocence she works closely with other community partners to end child sex trafficking through a unified front.
Healing Through Creativity Coordinator
Emily started working with at-risk youth in 2008 at an after-school program for various middle schools in Van Nuys, CA, where she taught theater, movement, and writing. After working as a stuntwoman in Hollywood for 4 years she felt the undeniable call to re-focus her energies and pursue justice for victims of sex trafficking both nationally and internationally. Her passion led her to start working for Speak Up For The Poor, an international organization that focuses on the safety and education of young girls worldwide. She traveled to Khulna, Bangladesh, where she worked with a house full of sixteen girls, ages 5-14, who were born into brothels and pulled out (with their mothers consent) by the home. It was through Speak Up that Emily met Kim and began working for Saving Innocence. As Healing Through Creativity Coordinator, Emily works in placement homes and uses creativity with the goals of: To aid and promote healing; to give the girls a sense of control over their bodies; and to expose the girls to gifts and talents that they may not know they have. In addition to Healing Through Creativity, Emily is also responsible for SI’s writing and content needs for the use of newsletters, the SI website, and various blogs that SI is featured on.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS and ADVISORS
President/CEO of Shine Some Light, Inc.
Bill created Shine Some Light, Inc. in March of 2011. Shine works to mobilize local resources, human and financial, for humanitarian aid projects that contribute to eradicating abject poverty in the world. With an exstensive executive management background over the past 20 years, both in for profit and non-profit organizations, Bill has enjoyed leading successful start-up initiatives including international projects in Haiti, Pakistan, Somalia and Indonesia. He is a sought after international public speaker and consultant in the non-profit business community.
Talent Manager and Producer at Zero Gravity Management
Ryan represents 20 actors and just finished producing his first movie in Indonesia, "Java Heat," starring his client, Kellan Lutz and Oscar Nominee Mickey Rourke. While attending Cal State Long Beach to earn his degree in film production, Ryan worked on several tv shows for Capricorn Programs. Having interned at several production companies and talent management firms while in college, after graduating in 2001, Ryan became a full time assistant to two talent managers. After two years as an assistant he went on to become an agent at Kazarian/Spencer & Associates (KSA). Having had a lot of success at KSA for 4 years, including developing the careers of Brandon Routh, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz, Chace Crawford and many others, Ryan took his thirty top clients and joined a larger agency, Innovative Artists. After four years there, and a lot of success, he decided to go back into management so he can focus on a smaller client list and start pursuing his own dream of producing movies.
World-Renowned Worship Leader, Songwriter, Author and Speaker
David has touched the world through his songwriting and speaking, while also planting and pastoring churches in Canada and the United States. Much of his focus tends to be in an indigenous setting working amongst the poor, as well as facilitating leadership development and fostering originality in songwriting and the arts in various cultural settings. David is currently giving significant time to leading the Basileia community in Hollywood. A burning passion of the Ruis family is the discovery of the practical and theological integration of creative worship expression with community that is engaged in a lifestyle that interfaces with the issues of poverty and social injustice. David continues to travel internationally to speak, and is actively involved in developing resources and long-term community for the poor and oppressed throughout Nepal, India, and Haiti, as well as in Los Angeles, where he currently lives with his wife Anita and their 4 children.
Market Research Associate at Kelton Research
Drew Crofton is a key research associate for Kelton, a leading LA-based marketing research and advertising strategy company. His team's insights have guided communication strategy for some of the biggest brands and organizations in America including, Target, Domino’s Pizza, Pfizer, Jägermeister, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, NASA, Land O' Lakes and many others. He previously worked in investment banking at Wachovia (now Wells Fargo) and continues to translate the analytical training he received in the financial sector into the marketing world. Drew graduated with a B.A. in Political Science, with minors in Philosophy and International Studies from Wake Forest University. He also holds a Masters in International Public Policy from University College London with a research emphasis in the strategic use of polling insights for segmented campaign messaging. Drew is passionate about justice locally and internationally which causes him to be a key player in a lot of non profits around Los Angeles.
Sherri Harris, MPH
Sherri Harris is the Program Director of the Network for Emergency Trafficking Services (NETS-OC) at The Salvation Army in Orange County. Sherri and The Salvation Army are part of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) where she was a founding member. Prior to joining The Salvation Army, Sherri worked in East Africa: One year processing refugees for US refugee resettlement and one year as an Aftercare Fellow with the International Justice Mission. Before serving in East Africa, Sherri worked at The Cambodian Family with the Partnership for Trafficking Victim Services building the capacity to serve trafficking victims in Orange County. She has a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) with an emphasis in International Public Health from Loma Linda University and a M. Ed. from Azusa Pacific University.
Sherri has been involved in human trafficking work since 2003, and currently works with foreign-born women and men who have been freed from forced sexual exploitation and forced labor who are rebuilding their lives in Orange County. As part of the OCHTTF, Sherri is working with other professionals to identify and care for victims of trafficking hidden in Orange County, Ca and to build a network of social service providers, legal entities, ethnic community groups and faith based groups who will be able to care for victims and prevent trafficking from happening in our own community.
Amber Thomas is dedicated to the eradication of human trafficking and exploitation locally and internationally. As the Director of NightLight Los Angeles she draws on eleven years of business and leadership experience in over 30 companies and organizations. Involved in the anti-trafficking movement for six years, Thomas' advocacy has spanned business strategy, educational campaigns, and volunteer engagement. Her focus is building the strategy and partnerships necessary to effect broad change.
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PO Box 93037 Los Angeles, CA 90093