Survivor Educators

TIMEA NAGY

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Timea Nagy immigrated to Toronto, Ontario from Budapest, Hungary with the promise of an exciting new job in 1998. The daughter of a Hungarian policewoman, Timea was held at the hands of traffickers and forced to work in the sex industry for three traumatizing months. Since her escape, she has committed her life to eradicating human trafficking, becoming a globally recognized expert in combatting modern-day slavery. Nagy developed Timea’s Cause Inc., a social enterprise fighting against human trafficking through education, awareness, recovery and rehabilitation efforts. Her work includes public and private sector training, as well as sharing her story through speaking engagements around the world. Her story was chronicled in the national best-selling memoir Out of the Shadows released by Penguin in 2019. Nagy has appeared on Forbes, CNN, NBC, The Economist, CTV, The Social, CBC, and other major media outlets as a Human Trafficking expert.

Nagy has provided training to numerous agencies in Canada, the U.S., and Europe – reaching thousands of law enforcement officers within sex crime units and the Federal Bureau of Investigations. She was the first survivor to start teaching financial institutions in North America about the importance of joining the fight against human trafficking. As a result, she was invited to join the United Nations Financial Taskforce to End Human Trafficking, otherwise known as The Liechtenstein Initiative. Nagy has received many acknowledgements for outstanding service including the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award, the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, and the International Freedom Award by Free the Slaves.

 

KAITLIN BICK

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Kaitlin Bick is a survivor of domestic sex trafficking. She is a former substance user who uses both her lived and professional experience to support and advocate for others. Kaitlin recently completed her Advanced Counselling Certificate at George Brown College. For the past four years, Kaitlin has worked on the frontline with survivors of human trafficking and precariously-housed individuals, ensuring that all their basic needs are being met. She uses her enthusiasm, positivity, and resilience to deliver a message of hope to other survivors and those who are struggling. Kaitlin facilitates workshops and training to service providers and is dedicated to bringing awareness to domestic human trafficking and ending homelessness.

 

AMANDA DAVIS

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Amanda Davis is a family woman with a fierce yet abundant love for God, a passion for helping others, and for trauma healing and prevention. She has an amazing husband, two beautiful girls and three fur babies. Amanda brings her first-hand knowledge as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, human trafficking and captivity as a young adult, to her work with TC Online Institute. It is in her heart to serve and she works hard to have a presence in her community. Amanda is currently writing a book to share her story. She hopes to shine a light at the end of the tunnel to others, to show them that they are survivors and can heal too. She currently works as a veterinary technician's assistant as she pursues her degree in Psychology; she believes that helping fur babies serves as a healing tool in her continual journey. She aspires to be a Christian counsellor majoring in trauma healing and substance abuse counselling.  Amanda is also certified in fitness training and nutrition. She has a passion for health and believes that a healthy body combined with a healthy mind and centred spirit is the recipe for self-love and true healing. Her desire is to strengthen community awareness. She hopes that will help to create prevention through accountability and aid in reducing exposure of our at-risk children and adults.

 

TAMAS MIKO

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Tamas Miko is a human trafficking survivor, social advocate, and speaker who immigrated to Canada in 2009 from Hungary. As a Consultant at TC Online Institute by Timea’s Cause Inc., he looks forward to widening and sharing his knowledge and lived experience about the importance of ending human trafficking. He was kept locked up in a basement with six other men while being monitored 24/7, and forced to work in the construction industry 14 to 16 hours a day for no pay. Thankfully, he managed to escape with the help of the R.C.M.P. in 2010. After 10 years, he has learned a new language, studied journalism, and won an award for news photography. He has been involved in public speaking over the past few years and wishes to educate the public on the seriousness of human trafficking. He has been educating service providers and law enforcement in Canada since 2016. He looks forward to working towards a brighter and safer future; he wants to help as many victims as possible, and guide survivors in their journey of healing their trauma.

 

EMILY O'BRIEN

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Emily O’Brien is the founder of Comeback Snacks Popcorn Company. It all started when she went to prison. Before, Emily was an entrepreneur and social media professional, having created her own firm at a young age which enjoyed great success. Regrettably, addiction caused her to make some poor choices that culminated in a four-year jail term. As her sentence began, Emily made it her mission to transform herself, get clean, and make a positive difference during her term. “I didn’t know how I’d make a difference at the time, but I knew I would find something I cared about that would benefit from a purpose-driven facelift.” Thus, Comeback Snacks (formerly known as Cons and Kernels) was born. Upon her release, Emily made the decision to start a popcorn company that used high quality, health-conscious ingredients to create unique flavours inspired by the ones she found in prison; a fun, self-deprecating brand that would also help to remove the stigma around people who had prior convictions and provide newly-released offenders with the chance at a fresh start through training, empowerment, and education.

 

SHARMILA WIJEYAKUMAR

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Sri Lankan by ethnic origin, British by birth, Sharmila Wijeyakumar has lived between North America and Europe for the last 21 years. As a Survivor of human trafficking, part of her journey to healing from this atrocity was acquiring faith in Jesus Christ and a passion to do something about this issue. She first fought human trafficking with Pro Nino where they reduced the rate of child trafficking by 49% in 13 Spanish speaking countries in the early 2000s. This led Sharmila to establish Rahab's Daughters, a non-profit that fights to prevent human trafficking, but also to rescue, and rehabilitate survivors of trafficking. She serves alongside her husband of 21 years and daughter to prevent trafficking; as well as rescue and rehabilitation. Sharmila leads over 200 volunteers and employees across six states. Today, as well as leading her non-profit, Sharmila works in the high tech world of digital transformation, data science, business intelligence and digital marketing for Veriday, a software and professional services company. She serves enterprise organizations with the help of an amazing team. Sharmila is blessed to have the support and freedom to balance her faith, family, vocation, and passion.

 

Subject Matter experts

MATT RICHARDSON

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Matt Richardson is an expert on internet safety and building a positive online image (among others). He is a Professor in the General Education Faculty at Loyalist College where he teaches topics that include; using social media as a positive force and technology’s impact on modern society. As a speaker with the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), Matt covers topics that include; social media background checks on potential employees and using the internet to discover quality candidates. Matt is a member of the Rogers Communications / Ryerson University Cybersecure Catalyst project team where he collaborates with industry experts on a variety of topics that include; cybersecurity and safety, technological skill development, digital footprint and image, and more. He is often sought out as a subject-matter expert by the media in TV, Radio, and print coverage in Canada and the U.S. Matt began teaching safety skills in 2013, and in 2016 completed an Ontario Police College credential in “Open Source Intelligence” (OSINT) internet investigations. His background working in politics and the provincial and federal civil service and OSINT experience give him a unique perspective, which has resulted in innovative programs that cover the full spectrum of online safety and digital excellence. In 2019, he founded the “Digital Empowerment Project” (Canada) in partnership with a retired Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) investigator for the Ohio State ICAC Task Force.

DOUG VAN DER HORDEN

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Doug van der Horden has been advocating and educating the public and local service providers on the issue of human trafficking since 2007. After spending a number of years working one-on-one with federal inmates, on the streets as an Outreach Worker, and now as a High School Counsellor, Doug discovered the horrific realities of this crime. Being a family man, with a daughter around the same age as many victims who get lured into the sex trade, Doug could not stand by and do nothing. Doug began knocking on the doors of local agencies, the legal community, and the local Police services to determine the level of knowledge on the issue of human trafficking. It did not take long for him to discover that very few people had human trafficking on their radar, so Doug began to educate himself and surround himself with like-minded people to move forward with strategic initiatives. Doug is the founder of an organization called “FAST 101 (Fighting Against Sex Trafficking 101)”, which focuses on public awareness, education, and advocacy. Doug has spent considerable time and effort building relationships with the general public, law enforcement, the legal community, education system and local service providers to help identify gaps and then build bridges to address those gaps in service for victims. Doug continues to accept any opportunity to share his knowledge and understanding of the issues surrounding Human Trafficking.