A Letter From Our Founder
I have been involved in the anti-human trafficking efforts in Central Florida for the last 15 years and have seen a lot of progress thanks to the support of many. In 2013, I cofounded the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force, and I’m proud to be the first anti-human trafficking task force to initiate a partnership with the University of Central Florida Department of Sociology for data collection.
Since 2007, Florida Abolitionist (now United Abolitionists) has worked closely with Florida Department of Law Enforcement, FBI and Dr. Jeff Goltz at the Valencia Public Safety campus on training first responders in our community – including law enforcement. We continue to assist law enforcement and intelligence agencies by offering grassroots intel pertaining to suspicious activity and potential human trafficking red flags. Most recently, we partnered with FIRST, formed by Pasco County Sheriff’s office, to create the first state-mandated human trafficking training program in response to HB 851.
According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline Greater Orlando is #3 in the nation per capita for calls to the hotline. My team created the 1st human trafficking response hotline in 2010. This hotline is now operating 24/7.
For years we advocated to Orange County Government that a human trafficking crisis shelter was vitally needed for adult females. Since its opening in January of 2018, our human trafficking hotline has referred 65% of the survivors to the shelter. Many are right in Orange County in Central Florida where we began our work.
Our most recent national expansion from Florida Abolitionist to United Abolitionists (UA) is largely related to the work we are doing with hotels and hospitality schools. Our nationwide efforts include coursework and educational materials created by UA for hospitality students and hotel staff.
Sometimes I stop and think about how much we have accomplished and I know we’ve made great progress; but every single day is still a fight. Outside of central Florida the rest of the country needs access to information and we need volunteers, advocates and funding to keep fighting this monstrous crime.
Whether you’re a business leader, in ministry, or just a concerned citizen, I will personally make time to sit down and speak with you about what we’re doing and how you can support us. I hope you’ll join us.
Founder & CEO, United Abolitionists
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Tomas J. Lares – United Abolitionists, Inc. – Founder/President/CEO
Pete Clarke – Former Orange County Commissioner – Chairman
Rania Arwani – Arwani Law Firm, PLLC – Secretary
Jeff Welker – CFO, One School of the Arts – Treasurer
Dick Batchelor – Dick Batchelor Management Group, Inc.
Dr. Richard Lapchick – Chair of DeVos Sport Business Management Program
Jeremy Sisson, MBA -CEO, Evan James & Associates
Scott Mann – CEO, Highforge
Amy Smith – Survivor Advocate
Dr. Leslie Gavin – Clinical Supervision
Angela Robbins – CEO, Moxie Brands – Strategist
Catriona Barbato – Chief Learning Strategist
Judge Wilfredo Martinez – Former Orange County Judge
Conner Griffin, MBA
Dan De Jong
Vennia Francois, Esq.
UNITED ABOLITIONISTS TEAM
Tomas Lares – CEO
Faye Ting – Accounting Manager
UA VOLUNTEER LEADERSHIP TEAM
Dr. Anthony Davis – National Lead Trainer & Ambassador
Bo Brown – Social Media Coordinator
Brenda Cloud – Speaker’s Bureau & Booth Coordinator
Christy Jordan – Certified Addictions Professional
Cathie Clarke – Mental Health Therapist
Dee Coleman- Samaritan Village Executive Director & Faith Alliance Coordinator
Frances Lee – PR Ambassador
Jane Shugart – Backpack Drive Coordinator
Kayla Galecki – Engagement Coordinator
Dr. Joel Hunter – Faith Alliance Coordinator
Judy Loftin – Learning Expert
Marcos Peres – Demand Prevention Coordinator
Marnie Lea – Backpack Drive Coordinator
Rachel Pringle – Outreach Coordinator
Ronnie Pierce – Train the Trainer Coordinator
Sarah Peterson- Media Coordinator
Jenn Baker- Rollins College Grad Intern
Suzanne Higbie-Long – Rollins College Grad Intern
Dulce Barrera – Rollins College Grad Intern
William Brown – University of Central Florida undergraduate Intern