Featured Speakers

Anita Sheth

Senior Advisor Social Compliance and Development (Informal Sectors)

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Anita joined Fairtrade International in 2009 and in June 2010, became its Senior Advisor, Social Compliance and Development.  She is the organization’s lead expert on child and forced labour issues, including protection of children and vulnerable adults.  Prior to joining Fairtrade, Anita worked at Save the Children in Canada for eight years as its Senior Policy, Research and Advocacy Analyst.  She has worked on labour and human security issues in the agricultural and extractive sectors, involving many countries in West and East Africa, South and Central America and Asia and the Pacific. She has been an expert advisor to the U.S. Department of Labour’s Cocoa and Child Labour Oversight Body and has been an invited trainer to several U.S. Custom, Immigration and Law Enforcement workshops, including the Toronto Police, on human trafficking for forced labour purposes.  Anita has also worked in the private sector on policy issues, including mainstreaming diversity and human rights in the workplace.  She has presented at various international conferences and published in academic journals, and was a board of directors of Partnership Africa Canada that plays a key role on preventing the sale of conflict diamonds.  She is an Indian born, Canadian citizen, who has lived and studied in Malta and currently resides and works in Bonn, Germany.

Oscar Martinez

Co-Founder, Coordinator, and Reporter for "Sala Negra"

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Óscar Martínez is the co-founder, coordinator, and reporter for "Sala Negra" (Black Room), the investigative unit that covers gang violence for Central America's first online-only newsmagazine El Faro (The Lighthouse).

After working as a freelance reporter in Mexico, Martínez joined El Faro in 2008 to help carry out an in-depth investigation of Central American migration across Mexico. For two and a half years, he followed migrants as they traveled north and documented the abuses they suffered, including mass kidnappings, rape, human trafficking, and massacres. The reporting project, first featured on El Faro's website under the name El Camino (The Road), was eventually published as a book in 2013 under the title The Beast, the nickname for a network of freight trains that crosses Mexico. Migrants often cling to the back of these trains as they make their way through some of the most lawless and violent towns in Mexico.

In 2011, Martínez co-founded "Sala Negra," which quickly gained a reputation for conducting hard-hitting investigations into extrajudicial killings by police, one of the most taboo subjects in El Salvador.

Martínez won the Fernando Benítez National Journalism Prize in Mexico in 2008 and Human Rights Prize at the José Simeón Cañas Central American University in El Salvador the following year. He won the WOLA-Duke Book Award for The Beast in 2014. His second book, called A History of Violence, was released in March 2016. In July 2016, Martínez was also awarded the Maria Moors Cabot Prize, which honors journalists for their outstanding coverage of the Americas.

Lucas Benitez

Founder, Coalition of Immokalee Workers

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LUCAS BENITEZ, a Coalition of Immokalee Workers co-founder, is a key organizational leader and member of the Fair Food Program worker education team. In addition to being one of the earliest farmworker leaders in the Fair Food movement, he played a critical role in the investigation of several slavery cases, helping to free over 700 workers in one case alone.  He also works with consumer allies to organize national actions -- renowned for their creativity and effectiveness -- designed to bring pressure on the large retail purchasers of Florida produce to join the Fair Food Program.  For his work with the CIW, Lucas has been called “one of the most visible farmworker leaders in the US” (Los Angeles Times). On behalf of the Fair Food Program, Mr. Benitez accepted the 2015 Presidential Award for Extraordinary Efforts in Combatting Human Trafficking at the White House, the 2014 Clinton Global Citizen Award, the 2016 James Beard Leadership Award.  He has won numerous national and international awards, including: the Rolling Stone Magazine Brick Award for “America’s Best Young Community Leader”; the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference Cardinal Bernardin New Leadership Award; and, along with two co-workers, the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

Kirsta Melton

Deputy Criminal Chief of the Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Unit of the Office of the Texas Attorney General

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Melton is the Deputy Criminal Chief of the Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Unit of the Office of the Texas Attorney General. From 2000-2014 she prosecuted in the Family Justice Unit of the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office combating human trafficking, the physical and sexual abuse of children and family violence, and in 2012 helped establish and lead the Bexar County DA’s Human Trafficking Unit.  Melton prosecuted the first five trafficking cases arising in Bexar County.  In addition Melton chaired the Alamo Area Coalition against Trafficking, a regional multi-disciplinary group of law enforcement, non-profits, government agencies, business people, and academics assembled to coordinate the fight against human trafficking.  Melton has trained more than 5000 people across the state on human trafficking and has testified on multiple occasions before the Texas legislature on trafficking related issues.

Melton graduated from Cornell University in 1993.  She then went on to obtain her law degree and her Master’s in Public Affairs from the University of Texas in 1998.  In addition to prosecuting, she is one of the founding members of Truckers against Trafficking, a nation-wide campaign dedicated to educating, empowering and mobilizing the trucking industry in the fight against human trafficking.

Speakers

Sasa Poucki

Visiting Professor in the Division of Global Affairs (DGA) at Rutgers University - Newark

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Sasha Poucki is a Visiting Professor in the Division of Global Affairs (DGA) at Rutgers University - Newark. He holds a Ph.D. in Global Affairs from The Division of Global Affairs at Rutgers University and a J.D. from The University of Novi Sad, Serbia. He was the recipient and Co-PI of a competitive research grant from Microsoft Research and the Microsoft Digital Crimes Unit (2012-2014) to study the role of technology in human trafficking.  Dr. Poucki was the recipient of a Dissertation Fellowship (2007-2008) from Rutgers University. His doctoral dissertation research was focused on exploring the root causes of human trafficking and the vulnerability of minority groups, with a focus on the Republic of Serbia, Nepal and India. Dr. Poucki has conducted field research on labor trafficking in Asia and child labor in South and Central America as well as community policing in the Western Balkan. His research interests include the exploration of topics related to the processes of globalization, human rights, business conduct and corporate responsibility, irregular migration, technology and society, cyber crime and international relations. Currently, Dr. Poucki is working on editing SAGE forthcoming book titled: “The Handbook on Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery.”

Sonja Wolf

CONACYT Research Fellow with the Drug Policy Program at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, Mexico

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Sonja Wolf is a CONACYT Research Fellow with the Drug Policy Program at the Centro de Investigación y Docencia Económicas, Mexico. Previously, she held research positions at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and the Mexico City-based Instituto para la Seguridad y la Democracia. Her research focuses on violence, street gangs, migration and displacement as well as security and drug policies. She has published in the Journal of Latin American Studies and Latin American Politics and Society, and her book Mano Dura: The Politics of Gang Control in El Salvador has been published by the University of Texas Press (2017).

Maricarmen Garza

Coordinator for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid's Victim Rights Group, Director of the Legal Alliance for Survivors of Abuse

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Maricarmen Garza is the group coordinator for Texas RioGrande Legal Aid’s (“TRLA”) Victim Rights Group and the director of the Legal Alliance for Survivors of Abuse (LASA) project. Started in 1999, the LASA Project is a unique collaboration between TRLA and 31+ domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers serving victims of domestic violence and sexual assault across 68 counties of central, south, and west Texas. Through the LASA Project partnership, TRLA ensures that at their initial point of contact with a domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center, victims receive the legal assistance that is critical to breaking the cycle of violence. As project director, Maricarmen is responsible for managing the day-to-day activities and progress of project and partner staff. In October 2015, the project received TAJF funding to expand the project to 114 new counties in North West Texas, with the specific focus of providing civil legal services to survivors of sexual assault. As group coordinator for the Victim Rights Group, Maricarmen oversees TRLA’s new Legal Aid to Survivors of Sexual Assault team, providing direction, mentorship and supervision. Maricarmen started her legal career as a staff attorney for Catholic Charities in Houston, representing clients in removal proceedings, VAWA self-petitions and political asylum cases. As a TRLA attorney Maricarmen, focuses her practice on assisting survivors of family violence and sexual assault in contested child custody cases, divorces, protective orders, CPS cases, and privacy issues. Maricarmen served on the Texas Council on Family Violence’s Public Policy Committee (2003-2015) and has done numerous presentations on the issues of domestic violence, confidentiality and privacy, and immigration options for victims. Maricarmen conducts bi–monthly legal option clinics for clients of the Houston Area Women’s Center and provides referrals to local legal services providers. Maricarmen received a Bachelors of Arts in Child Psychology from the University of the Incarnate Word in 1992. She received her J.D. from St. Mary’s University school of Law in 1996.

Philip Ethridge

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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Dr. Philp A. Ethridge is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley – Edinburg Campus. Dr. Ethridge earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice and Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville; his Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice from Eastern Kentucky University; and a Ph.D. from Sam Houston State University.  He has taught a wide variety of courses including: policing, corrections, terrorism, administration and juvenile delinquency. He has consulted with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department, Hidalgo County Juvenile Probation Department and several municipal police departments. His current research interests include border security, concealed handgun laws, and human smuggling/trafficking. He can be reached at philip.ethridge@utrgv.edu.

George Diaz

Assistant professor of history at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

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George T. Díaz is an assistant professor of history at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.  His award winning book, Border Contraband: A History of Smuggling across the Rio Grande, was published with the University of Texas Press. Recently he served as the Visiting Scholar at the Center for Mexican American Studies at the University of Houston where he designed and taught a course on smuggling in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.  Díaz teaches courses in U.S., Borderlands, and Mexican American history.  His research is informed by investigations in Mexican and U.S. archives as well as a lifetime of living on the border.

Elsie Bellevue

Federal Field Specialist, South Texas, HHS, ACF, ORR, DUCO

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Dr. Elsie Bellevue (Bell- view) earned her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, Florida in 2003, MPA from Webster University in 2010 and Educational Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from Argosy University in June 2016.

Dr. Bellevue has over ten years’ experience working on the front line and in management as it relates to the field of child safety (abused and neglect children) with the State of Florida. In her current capacity, Dr. Bellevue is a Federal Field Specialist with the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

Pedro Villareal

Special Operations Supervisor, DHS

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Pedro Villarreal has been working in the criminal justice field for 17 years under the Department of Homeland Security. He started his career in the Brownsville sector and has worked throughout the Rio Grande Valley. He is currently a Special Operations Supervisor and has worked in investigations involving human smuggling and trafficking, focusing on dismantling organized crime operations. He has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and is completing his Master’s Degree at the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

Maria Elena Ramos Tovar

Socióloga por la Facultad de Trabajo Social de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León

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Socióloga por la Facultad de Trabajo Social de la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (1991), cuenta con una Maestría en Sociología y Doctorado con la misma especialidad, estudios realizados en la Universidad de Tulane, New Orleáns, USA en 1994 y 1999 respectivamente. Reconocida por el Sistema Nacional de Investigadores, Nivel I. Miembro de Cuerpo Académico Consolidado “Género, Cultura e Identidades” CA-UANL-235. Coordinadora de Asuntos Internacionales de la Facultad de Trabajo Social y Desarrollo Humano. Miembro de la Red Temáticas Conacyt Red Mexicana de Ciencia, Tecnología y Género (RED MEXCITEG), Miembro de la Red “Estudios de Género en los Nortes de México”, Miembro de la Red “Derechos Humanos y Migración”, Consejera Ciudadana del Instituto Estatal de las Mujeres. 

Área de investigación:

Salud mental. Migración. Familia. Género.

Proyectos de investigación:

Derechos Humanos, y Bienestar de Familias Migrantes. SEP 2015

Derechos Humanos, Bienestar y Migración, PAICYT, 2015

El impacto del modelo neoliberal en los procesos de gestión, la cultura organizacional, interacción social y la salud del profesorado y del alumnado universitarios en instituciones de educación superior pública mexicanas. SEP 2013-2014

Dolor y gozo, la estructura psíquica de las familias transnacionales: una perspectiva psico-sociológica, CONACYT 2009, PAICYT 2011

Relaciones laborales y su impacto en la salud psicofísica de mujeres científicas de alto rendimiento en universidades mexicanas, CONACYT 2008

Cultura política en el sistema universitario de provincia, SEP 2009-2011

Relaciones laborales y su impacto en la salud psicofísica de mujeres científicas de alto rendimiento en universidades mexicanas, PAICYT 2009

Las emociones de hijos y padres migrantes en los Estados Unidos y las consecuencias en su salud mental.  PAICYT-UANL 2006. DS1408-06, PAICYT-UANL DS 1408-07

Migracion México-Estados Unidos.  Transformación de las dinámicas familiares y redes de intercambio. PROMEP, 2004  /103.05/04/2379.

El electo del desgaste laboral y la reestructuración familiar en el nivel de estrés entre los docentes. PAICYT- UANL 2004. DS1016-04

Development Policies and Women. Mexican Policy Studies Program y Tinker Foundation, Inc. 1994.

Mexican Women's Mental Health in Maquiladoras. Beca dentro del proyecto de investigación dirigida por el profesor Dr. Timmons Roberts, Tulane University, 1994.

Producción científica:

La Dra. Ramos ha publicado libros y artículos científicos en revistas con arbitraje internacional o indexadas, así como publicaciones de divulgación científica en diversos medios.

Director de tesis: Licenciatura, Maestría y  Doctorado.

Docencia:

- Actualmente es profesora en la división de posgrado de la Fac. de Trabajo Social y Desarrollo Humano (desde 2003)

- Profesora en la Universidad de Monterrey (1989-2003)

- Profesora invitada en la Universidad de Kingsville, Texas (junio 2003 y septiembre de 2011)

Simon Pedro Palacios

Doctor en Sociología por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid

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Es Doctor en Sociología por la Universidad Complutense de Madrid, miembro del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores (Nivel II) y recientemente obtiene la distinción de Nivel III en reciente convocatorio SNI-2015. Profesor Investigador de Tiempo Completo en la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas. Se une al programa de Criminología y Ciencias Forenses a la LGAC Problemas Sociales y Criminalidad.

Cuenta con publicaciones como autor principal y único mas de docena de libros; mas de 30 trabajos en revistas como: MEDIT (Mediterranean Perspectives and Proposals. Journal of Economics, Agriculture and Environment), Japanese Studies, The Nokei Ronso, Revista de Estudios Europeos, Revista de Sociología del Trabajo, Revista Internacional de Sociología, entre otras más.

Cuenta con publicaciones de obras en editoriales de reconocido prestigio como:

  • Los jornaleros tamaulipecos y el programa H-2A de trabajadores huéspedes. Editorial: Plaza y Valdés.
  • Nuevas infraclases: Los jornaleros migratorios de Tamaulipas. Editorial: Miguel Ángel Porrúa. Sociedad rural y migración en Tamaulipas. Editorial: Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas.
  • La era de la post-globalización. El retorno de los ciclos agrarios. Editorial: Miguel Ángel Porrúa. Sociedad rural y migración en España. Editorial: Plaza y Valdés.
  • La etiología de la migración permanente en la zona citrícola de Tamaulipas. Editorial: Miguel Ángel Porrúa. Problemas de salud de los jornaleros migratorios en Guémez y Padilla. Editorial: Fontamara.
  • Manual de investigación cualitativa. Editorial: Edit. Fontamara.
  • Migración y Desarrollo en Tamaulipas. Editorial: Plaza y Valdés.

Artículos en diversas Revistas, tales como:

  • “Opinión de los polleros tamaulipecos sobre la política migratoria estadounidense”, Revista Migraciones Internacionales.
  • “El aislamiento social de los trabajadores con visas H-2A (el ejemplo de los jornaleros tamaulipecos)”, Revista Región y Sociedad,
  • “Coyotaje y grupos delictivos en Tamaulipas”, Revista Latin American Research Review.
  • “Contrabandistas de migrantes a pequeña escala de Tamaulipas”. Perfiles Latinoamericanos.
  • “Deficiencias nutricionales de los jornaleros migratorios asentados en la zona citrícola de Tamaulipas”, Revista Perspectivas Sociales,
  • “Aspiraciones de los migrantes centroamericanos en tránsito por México”, RevistaTrayectorias,
  • “Coyotaje and Drugs: Two Different Businesses”, Bulletin of Latin, Revista American Research.

Cynthia Marisol Orozco

Profesora de Tiempo Completo en la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas

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Profesora de Tiempo Completo en la Universidad  Autónoma de Tamaulipas, perfil PRODEP, Miembro del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores  Nivel Candidato, Actualmente se desempeña como Coordinadora de la Licenciatura en Criminología, Integrante del Cuerpo Académico UAT-CA-62 CRIMINOLOGÍA. Profesora adscrita a la Maestría en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses, programa de calidad CONACYT.

Rosie Martinez

Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office Victims Unit Director

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Rosie Martinez, Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office Victims Unit Director

Relevant Training and Experience:

  • 16 years of continuous victim services experience
  • National Accreditation by the National Organization of Victim Assistance

“Comprehensive Victim Intervention Specialist” NACP#N240309541

  • Certification by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in Victim Assistance
  • Certification by the Office of Victims Of Crime in Victim Assistance
  • Certification by the Office of the Attorney General in Crime Victim Compensation-

Advanced Track and Presumptive Eligibility PE#13-1204-RM Specialty Training Areas:

  • Ms Martinez has trained over 500 professional individuals in the prevention and dynamics of human trafficking. She has been a trainer at the South Texas College Human Trafficking Conference, Advanced Academy for Victim Assistance of the Texas Victim Services Association, Rio Grande Valley Human Trafficking Coalition trainings, and several school districts in the Rio Grande Valley.
  • She provides training in family violence, sexual assault, child abuse, working with survivors of homicide victims, crime victims compensation, protective orders, human trafficking, victims’ rights, enhancing response to victims of crime, safety planning for victims, and victim advocacy.

Work Experience:

Hidalgo County Juvenile Probation Department Mujeres Unidas/ Women Together
LRGVDC Council of Government
Mujeres Unidas/Women Together

Victims of Crime Program (6 counties)
Hidalgo County District Attorney’s Office- Victims Unit (current)

Memberships & Appointments

  • Texas Victim Services Association Board Member Region F
  • 84 & 85th Legislative Public Policy Committee Member of the Texas Council on

Family Violence

  • Former Chair for the Rio Grande Valley Human Trafficking Coalition
  • Former Chair of Voces Unidas State Caucus (2 terms) of the Texas Council on Family Violence
  • HB2620 Policy and Public Awareness Committee for the Health Human Services

Commission State Taskforce

  • Former Chair of the Hidalgo County Family Violence Task Force ( 2 Terms)
  • Hidalgo Child Fatality Review Team
  • CRT of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services
  • HB2398 Hidalgo County Truancy Committee
  • La Joya ISD Advisory Council 

Karla Andrade

Doctora en Sociología por el Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades de la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla

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Doctora en Sociología por el Instituto de Ciencias Sociales y Humanidades de la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla. Miembro del Cuerpo Académico UAT-CA-73 “Migración y Desarrollo y Derechos Humanos”. Participa en la LGAC “Problemas Sociales y Criminalidad” dentro del Programa de Maestría en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses.

Cuenta con publicaciones en editoriales de reconocido prestigio como:

  • El diseño metodológico en la investigación cualitativa (El ejemplo del Proyecto de investigación “Migrantes rurales tamaulipecos estacionales en la agricultura de Estados Unidos”) Editorial UAT.
  • Sociedad rural y migración en Tamaulipas. Exclusión social y emigración en el ejido San Pablo. Editorial: Miguel Ángel Porrúa.
  • Excluidos y estigmatizados: los jornaleros migratorios en Tamaulipas. Editorial: Miguel Ángel Porrúa. Sociedad rural y migración en España, Ed. Plaza y Valdés.

Artículos Publicados en Revistas Científicas:

  • Negative Social Identity and Social Exclusion: Migrant Farm Workers in Tamaulipas, Source: Revista De Ciencias Sociales.
  • Social capital versus social isolation: Tamaulipas's migrant farm, Source: Revista De Geografía Norte Grande.
  • “La exclusión de la mujer migrante del programa Oportunidades: El ejemplo de la zona citrícola de Tamaulipas”, Revista Trayectorias.
  • “Deficiencias nutricionales de los jornaleros migratorios asentados en la zona citrícola de Tamaulipas” Revista Perspectivas Sociales.
  • “Los traficantes de migrantes en México”, Ixaya, Revista Universitaria de Desarrollo Social.

Jose Ariel Renata Cantu

Maestro en Ciencias Penales, y Máster en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses por la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas

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Maestro en Ciencias Penales, y Máster en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses por la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas. Desarrolla la línea LGAC – Legislación e Impartición de Justicia. Con amplia experiencia en el área de acentuación del Programa entre las cuales se ha destacado como Juez Calificador en la Inspección de la Policía Municipal de Reynosa, Tamaulipas. Ministerio Público y Supervisor de las Agencias del Ministerio Público en la Zona Norte del Estado de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Tamaulipas. Actualmente es Profesor de Tiempo Completo con perfil PROMEP vigente en la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas. Miembro del Cuerpo Académico de Criminología UAT-CA-62- CRIMINOLOGÍA. Profesor iniciador de la Licenciatura en Criminología en 1994 en la Unidad Académica Multidisciplinaria Reynosa Aztlán (UAMRA) de la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas. Profesor titular de Teoría del Procedimiento Penal en la Maestría en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses en la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas (UAT). Funge además como Director y asesor de tesis.

Integrante de Proyectos de Investigación en REDES de Impartición de Justicia, financiadas por el PROMEP por tres períodos consecutivos. Colaborador del Proyecto de Financiamiento Externo CONACyT “La Investigación Científica del Delito” Núm. de aprobación: 204774.

Actualmente se encuentra desarrollando como colaborador del proyecto de Financiamiento Interno por la Universidad PFI-2014 “La Educación y la Capacitación para el Trabajo de las Mujeres en Prisión” Tiene vinculación con el grupo “La Investigación Jurídica” con la Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León Obteniendo como producto de calidad “Emilio Portes Gil”. Cuenta con Publicaciones destacadas como: Criminalidad Organizada “Estudios Internacionales”, editorial Criminología y Justicia. Administración, Procuración e Impartición de Justicia, Reforma penal constitucional en México 2008, editorial: Montiel & Soriano – BUAP. Trastornos de la personalidad y violencia de género Revista: Criminología y Justicia nº 5.

Karla Villarreal Sotelo

Profesor de Tiempo Completo en la Lic. en Criminología y en la Maestría en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses, de la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas

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Profesor de Tiempo Completo en la Lic. en Criminología y en la Maestría en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses, de la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas, Titular de las Cátedras de Criminología, Victimología. Profesor con Perfil PRODEP, Miembro del Sistema Nacional de Investigadores Nivel 1. Líder del Cuerpo Académico de Criminología (UAT-CA-62 Criminología). Integrante de la Red de Métodos Alternos de Solución de Conflictos de PRODEP, Integrante de la Red Temática  CONACyT en Ciencias Forenses, Integrante de la Red Regional en Investigación en Seguridad Pública y Desarrollo Social (REDSPDS),  Miembro activo de la Sociedad Mundial de Criminología y Presidente de la Filial Tamaulipas de la Sociedad Mexicana de Criminología. Miembro Honorario de la Fundación Española de Victimología. Cuenta con desarrollo científico-académico como autor y co-autor de Libros, Capítulos de Libros, Publicaciones en diversas revistas de Divulgación, y Experiencia en el desarrollo de Proyectos de investigación con  Financiamiento externo. Contribuye  a la formación de recursos humano en Dirección y Asesor de Tesis de Nivel Licenciatura y Posgrado. Cuenta con Estudios Doctorales ene Ciencias Penales, Maestría en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses, y Licenciatura en Criminología. Recientemente recibe la presea Medalla al Mérito Criminológico: Dr. Alfonso Quiroz Cuarón, por su trayectoria dentro del ámbito Criminológico, otorgado por la SOMECRIM.

Ernesto B. Leal Sotelo

Maestro en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses por la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas

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Maestro en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses por la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas. Profesor de Tiempo completo de la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas; Miembro del Cuerpo académico de Criminología UAT-CA-62 “CRIMINOLOGÍA”; Imparte cátedras y es el responsable de apoyo a las publicaciones en Idioma Inglés como segunda Lengua para los alumnos del Maestría en Criminología y Ciencias Forenses.

Participa en la LGAC “Problemas Sociales y Criminalidad”.

Cuenta con participación y es Integrante de Proyectos de Investigación en REDES de Impartición de Justicia, financiadas por el PROMEP por tres períodos consecutivos.

Colaborador del Proyecto de Financiamiento Externo CONACyT “La Investigación Científica del Delito” Núm. de aprobación: 204774.

Actualmente se encuentra desarrollando como colaborador del proyecto de Financiamiento Interno por la Universidad PFI-2014 “La Educación y la Capacitación para el Trabajo de las Mujeres en Prisión”.

Participación en obras de coautoría como: Administración, Procuración e Impartición de Justicia, Reforma penal constitucional en México 2008, editorial: Montiel & Soriano – BUAP.

Colaborador de capítulo en el Libro Principios de Victimología, ed. OXFORD-UA. Funge además como Director y asesor de tesis. Continúa con su formación académica de Doctorado en la Universidad de Seattle, USA‏.

Eduardo Canales

Executive Director, South Texas Human Rights Project

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Born of migrant farm worker parents, Eddie spent his early years in a rural, migrant border town outside of Texas, while his father worked in steel mills in Gary, Indiana and East Chicago. They were poor: he did not have the luxury of inside bathroom facilities until 6th grade. Early jobs included farm work, shoe shining, barber/beauty shop sweeping and the neighborhood youth corps, followed by factory work, cafeteria cleanup, and bottling plant/warehouse work. After junior college, Eddie attended the University of Houston, where he became involved with MAYO and La Raza Unida Party, beginning a long history of political activism and organizing. He has served the social and economic justice movements in many capacities and with several organizations, including the Congreso de Aztlan (the National Committee of La Raza Unida), the Texas Farmworkers, the Longshoremen, SEIU’s School District Campaign of custodians and cafeteria workers, and Centro Aztlan in Houston, where he was a Director for ten years. Eduardo has been an organizer in Colorado, New Mexico, Eastern Washington, Montana, Idaho, Texas and Wyoming; he has agitated, organized, negotiated and provided direct services around issues ranging from economic and labor justice to anti-police brutality.

Eduardo Canales long history of organizing for immigrant and human rights has been centered with the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights for over 25 years and where he continues to oppose many restrictive and punitive attacks on migrant workers and push and advocate for US reduction of militarization at our southwestern international borders and promotes establishing human rights guidelines for all migrants entry inspection at US southwest border.

Eduardo Canales recently has founded the South Texas Human Rights Center in Falfurrias, Texas, whose mission  is to end death and suffering among migrant border crossers through community initiatives and strength the capacity of families to locate  missing loved ones and to increase public awareness of migrant deaths and the impact of militarization of the Southwest border.

Enrique Lerma

Independent Field Producer, Univision Network

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Enrique Lerma works as an independent multimedia journalist with a strong social media presence. He is a producer for the Brownsville Police Crime Stoppers program, as well freelancer as field producer for Univision network.

Lerma has been interviewed by the prestigious magazine Texas Monthly for Breaking the Silence, a story about reporting in Mexico’s Drug War. Lerma has collaborated with the national news organization Breitbart News in several border projects dealing with drug trafficking trends in border cities. Lerma has also collaborated with NatGeo Network on border projects dealing with drug trafficking, human trafficking, organized crime, and spill-over violence. He worked as video journalist for Noticias 48 Univision for the past 15 years providing local and national coverage in South Texas and North of Tamaulipas.

Since 2006, Lerma has reported on the ongoing cartel violence on both sides of the border as well as the arrests of key drug-lords and their extraditions through this city.

Lerma studied Science and Technology at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, Texas.

Jorge Luis Sierra

International Center for Journalists Knight Fellow

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Jorge Luis Sierra works on the intersection of cyber security, digital technology and investigative journalism. As an ICFJ Knight Fellow, Sierra developed digital crowd-sourced mapping tools to track crime, corruption and attacks on journalists. He also created Salama, an application enabling journalists to assess risks. An award-winning Mexican investigative reporter, he has covered a range of conflict-related topics such as drug trafficking, organized crime, counterinsurgency, gangs, and armed conflicts. He covered the war in Iraq in 2003. Sierra studied international journalism at the University of Southern California and authored the book "The Enemy Inside: Armed Forces and Counterinsurgency in Mexico.

Kelley McCormick

Border Prosecution Unit Attorney, Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney's Office

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Kelley McCormick is the Border Prosecution Unit attorney assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Texas Anti-Gang Group from the Hidalgo County Criminal District Attorney’s Office.  After graduating from Rice University in Houston, he attended Texas Tech University School of Law.  His career has been focused on criminal law and criminal prosecution, having served as Deputy General Counsel to Texas Governor Rick Perry, and as assistant district attorneys in Victoria, Brazoria and Hidalgo Counties, as well as a prosecutor for the Special Prosecution Unit, handling crimes occurring in the Texas Prison System.  As a Border Prosecution Unit attorney since 2010, he has worked closely with Rio Grande Valley area law enforcement (local, state and federal) in the development of border-related criminal cases for prosecution, as well coordinating training for prosecutors and law enforcement.

Sister Norma Pimentel

Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley

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Norma Pimentel is a Sister with the Missionaries of Jesus. As Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley for over 12 years, she oversees the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville, providing oversight of the different ministries & services in the areas of the Rio Grande Valley through emergency assistance, homelessness prevention, disaster relief, clinical counseling, pregnancy care, food program(s), and the Humanitarian Respite Center. 

Sister Norma chairs the local Emergency Food and Shelter Program that distributes federal funds to local agencies providing assistance to the area’s poor. She also serves as Co-Vicar of Religious, organizing different events for religious in the Diocese of Brownsville. 

In addition, Sister Norma leads efforts in the community that respond to emergency needs and provide relief in times of disaster and crisis in the Valley. She was instrumental in quickly organizing community resources to respond to the surge of Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States and setting up the Humanitarian Respite Center at the Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. These efforts captured the world’s attention, drawing news media from around the globe to the Rio Grande Valley to cover the plight of the countless and distressed refugee individuals and families, thereby compelling thousands from this country and others to contribute their time, talents, and treasures to serve and support the cause. A most special moment was captured on September 2015 via satellite broadcast to the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in which Pope Francis recognized Sr. Norma for her work with the immigrants and asked her to come forward so that he could see her. He thanked her for her humility and her efforts and encouraged her to continue.

In January 2015, Sister Norma received the Martin Luther King, Jr. “Keep the Dream Alive” Award from Catholic Charities USA and awards from the University of Texas–Pan American, the Texas Medical Association, and nomination for “Texan of the Year.” Also, that same month she testified before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the “State of Civil Rights in Immigration Detention Facilities.” In March 2015, she spoke on “Women Upholding Human Dignity” at the United Nations. Most recently, Sister Norma was recognized and awarded the 2015 Rio Grande Valley’s “Citizen of the Year” for her advocacy for the hundreds of immigrant/refugee families and individuals who make their way to the Respite Center every day fleeing the violence of their homelands and seeking a better life.

Previously, Sister Norma was one of the leaders directing Casa Oscar Romero—a shelter for Central Americans fleeing their war-torn countries. The shelter provided emergency relief and temporary housing for a vast amount of refugees.

Sister Norma Pimentel earned her Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Pan American University, a Master’s degree in Theology from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas, and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois.

Sera Bonds

Founder/CEO, Circle of Health International

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Sera is a social justice, grassroots activist committed to working towards balancing the scales of access, equity, and availability in women's reproductive healthcare. She has training in midwifery, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Women's Studies, and a Masters Degree in Public Health. Her community organizing background ranges from reproductive rights to violence against women to welfare and poverty issues to anti-war campaigns. She has worked on women's health issues with teenage and minority mothers in rural areas of the Western U.S.; with refugee communities in Boston, Massachusetts; and with midwives in Northern India, Guatemala, Tibet, Palestine, tsunami-affected Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, Jordan, Haiti, Afghanistan, Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and Israel; with commercial sex workers on issues of HIV/AIDS in Vietnam; with female evacuees from hurricanes Rita and Katrina in Louisiana; with survivors of natural disasters in Oklahoma; with the social service and healthcare provider community in Central Texas to stop human trafficking; and with refugees arriving in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, traveling from Latin America.

Carlos Manuel Juárez

Journalist, Expreso

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Carlos Manuel Juárez nació en Tampico, Tamaulipas, el 12 de noviembre de 1985. Estudió la Licenciatura en Ciencias de la Comunicación en la Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas (UAT). A los 20 años comenzó a trabajar en periódicos de Tamaulipas. Ha publicado crónicas y reportajes sobre víctimas y victimarios de la guerra contra el narcotráfico en El Universal, Milenio Diario, 24 horas, Revista Marvin, Punto de Partida de la UNAM y Animal Político. En 2013 inició el proyecto “En el recuerdo me hallo. Crónicas de músicos y poetas de la huasteca tamaulipeca”, para recopilar la memoria oral de la región mexicana. Es corresponsal del noticiero de la periodista Carmen Aristegui y del portal Aristegui Noticias. Actualmente investiga el tema de desaparecidos en Tamaulipas, acompañando a las familias que buscan en campo y cubre hechos de seguridad y sociedad.

Moderators

Elizabeth Deven-Hernandez

UTRGV Lecturer

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Elizabeth is a graduate from UTPA. She earned her B.S. in Political Science and an M.S. in Criminal Justice.  She spent 5 years as a Public Information Officer with the City of McAllen, 8 years as an Adult Probation Officer and 2 years as a Criminal Justice Dual Credit Teacher with PSJA School District and South Texas Community College. Currently, she is a Lecturer at UTRGV in the Department of Criminal Justice. Elizabeth brings her experience into classes such as: Introduction to Criminal Justice, Police Systems and Practices, Court Systems and Practices, Probation and Parole, Correctional Systems and Practice, Current Issues in Corrections, Law and Society, Criminology and Terrorism.

Victor Castillo

News Reporter

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Víctor Hugo Castillo is a multifaceted bilingual news reporter, speaks fluent English/Spanish, and specializes in national security and U.S.-México border issues such as immigration, drug trafficking, human trafficking and binational relations.

In 2014 he was honored with the Alfred I. DuPont Award by Columbia University, and with Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award by the Center for Justice and Human Rights, for his work and contribution to “Rape in the Fields” documentary by PBS Frontline and its Spanish version “Violación de un Sueño” by Univision Aquí y Ahora. This documentary also won the Public Radio News Directors Award in the Investigative Large Newsroom category, and was finalist in Goldsmith Prize.

Castillo’s news reporting work has also been featured in “Border Wars” by National Geographic sharing his experience covering news along the U.S. southern border.

He was conference speaker at the Regional Summit of National Authorities organized in Colombia by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, with representatives of 16 countries where he also participated in human trafficking and human smuggling workshops. As panelist, he was in Mexico City with United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, sharing experiences with news media representatives from Central America and México. On another time, he was also invited by United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner to participate in workshops with news media representatives from North America about violence against women.

His most recent work was national correspondent for Noticias MundoFOX based out of Los Angeles, reporting both sides of the border. Victor Castillo has worked for CBS, Fox, Telemundo and Univision, as well as for other radio and print media. And he’s the go to person by many news media outlets when visiting the border.

His knowledge and experience has taken Victor Castillo to different countries to train reporters on investigative news stories for television and other multimedia platforms. In Panama he trained reporters and the team’s investigative work was put together and aired in national TV. This was organized by Forum de Periodistas and the U.S. Embassy in Panama.

In various opportunities, he’s been to universities such as Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, University of Texas Pan American, Universidad México Americana del Norte and others, talking to students about border news reporting.

Castillo is founder of Asociación Internacional de Comunicadores Hispanos, and of Border Center for Journalists and Bloggers, organizations dedicated to advance freedom of press and train reporters.

He’s been twice at the Human Trafficking Conference organized by South Texas College.