Christina Arnold - Founder/Board President - Christina is a social entrepreneur and tech enthusiast, passionate about social justice with 16 years of experience in human rights education and advocacy using technology. She founded Prevent Human Trafficking (PHT) in 1999 to address this heinous phenomenon, rampant in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia - and now the US. Her professional trajectory was driven by her upbringing in South and Southeast Asia where she was born and raised in a cult, and encountered exploited children daily.
Her expertise has contributed to policy and legislative change, including passage of the original Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000. Through PHT, Christina has helped hundreds of individuals, and organizations and several governments, to tackle the root causes of human trafficking through direct support, technical assistance and using transmedia to document and promote their work. Christina has consulted with over 100 companies, agencies, governments, foundations and nonprofit organizations worldwide, and taken hundreds of people on annual anti-trafficking study tours to Southeast Asia, to learn about the issues first hand, from some of the pioneers of the global movement, who risk their lives daily on the front lines to prevent human trafficking.
Christina is a Harry S. Truman Scholar and Jack Kent Cooke Scholar. She holds her B.A. in political science with honors from American University where she also completed a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) with a focus on nonprofit management while she was a Presidential Scholar-in-Residence. Christina also received a Masters of Professional Studies (MPS) from ITP as an NYU Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship.
Mechai Viravaidya founded the Population & Community Development Association (PDA) in 1974 to address health and long term sustainability issues in Thailand. PDA promoted family planning through innovative programs and approaches to desensitize contraceptive use and make them available throughout Thailand. When HIV/AIDS reared its head, similar principles were applied to ensure that everyone was aware of the dangers of this disease and knew about its prevention. Following these programs, he focused on rural development initiatives to empower the poor to eradicate poverty, which were utilized in the wake of the Tsunami in 2004. This program eventually evolved into what is known today as the Village Development Partnership, which addresses the five vital components of development: community empowerment, income generation, health, education, and environmental promotion.
Recently, he has chosen to devote a significant portion of his efforts towards youth philanthropy and education through the Mechai Viravaidya Foundation. That is why he established the Mechai Pattana School, the Green Village Toy Library, and a Youth Philanthropy program to ensure that children grow up to be good citizens and recognize the joy of doing public good. These initiatives are funded by the generous contributions from donors as well as social enterprises including the Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant Chain, Birds & Bees Resort in Pattaya, and Business for Rural Education and Development Co. Ltd. (BREAD).
Aisha Bain is a Senior Program Advisor for the Women’s Protection and Empowerment Unit at the International Rescue Committee (IRC.) In this capacity, Aisha is leading a five-year initiative to amplify the voices of women and girls as leaders within their own communities, driving forward solutions to end the violence perpetrated against them in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and amongst refugees in the United States. Aisha is also an IRC Emergency Team Roster member, recently returned from the crisis in Philippines and led IRC’s emergency responses in the DRC in early 2013, 2012, 2009, and 2008.
Aisha holds an M.A. in International Peace and Conflict Resolution from American University, where she concentrated in human rights and was bestowed with the university’s Peacemaker Award. She speaks French and Malagasy, and has a working knowledge of Spanish, Haitian Creole and Arabic.
Matthew Marcy is co-founder of Truston Technologies--global providers of heavy weather ship moorings and port security systems. He holds a bachelor of science from the United States Military Academy at West Point and a master of science from the Johns Hopkins University. Matthew's interest in southeast Asia stems from his formative childhood years living in Thailand and attending the International School of Bangkok.
Sophie Idilbi is Assistant Director, Key Executive Leadership Programs at American University, School of Public Affairs. She has a Master's Degree in Public Administration and a Master's in Education, Curriculum Development. Sophie started her first non-profit experience with Assiwar Arab Feminist Movement in support of victims of sexual abuse in Israel. She served for 2 years on Assiwar Board of Directors, and then as the Director of Resource Development for 2 additional years. Sophie has been supporting PHT since 2007 with fundraising events and coordinating the annual summer program in Thailand.
Dr. Thomas M. Steinfatt received his B.S. in Mathematics and Statistics and his Ph.D. in Communication from Michigan State University. An authority on communication theory, propaganda, persuasion, health communication, he specializes in statistical methodology as Professor of Communication at the University of Miami. A Fulbright scholar at the Royal University of Phnom Penh. He is the author of a large scale ten-year study of sex work in Thailand. His research on trafficking in women and children has been funded by USAID and used by the U.S. State Department in combating human trafficking in Cambodia. He serves as an advisor to the WalkFree Foundation of Australia, and on the human trafficking measurement panel of UNODC, and has received the UNIAP top award for best methods of estimating numbers of trafficked persons.
Nicolas Lainez is originally from Barcelona, Spain. Lainez worked as a photojournalist in Southeast Asia after graduating film school. He received his master's degree in Development Studies at Sorbonne University, as well as a master's of Social Anthropology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). Currently, he is PhD candidate in Social Anthropology at EHESS. His research focuses on cross-border mobility, slavery, indebtedness, women and family issues. Since 2007, he has been affiliated with the Ho Chi Minh City University of Social Sciences and Humanities, and the An Giang University, both in Vietnam. He is also a researcher and communication officer for the NGO, Alliance Anti-Trafic Vietnam (AAT). For the past two years, he has conducted field research in the district of Châu Dôc (Mekong delta) and Phnom Penh (Cambodia). His work has been published in international peer review journals. Currently, he is working on a new manuscript titled The Yellow Trade