Our Team

Shamere McKenzie

Chief Executive Officer

Shamere McKenzie tells the inspiring story of a woman who survived a fate that is all too prevalent in the United States – sex trafficking. Turning her past adversities into an opportunity to liberate and protect others, Shamere has become an activist in the fight against human trafficking, bringing about social and political change in America and around the world. She was discovered as a speaker by world-renowned researcher, author and cofounder of Free the Slaves, Kevin Bales. Through the mentorship of Kevin, she has transitioned into an international speaker on sex trafficking, giving a voice to enslaved women and children, those who perish while enslaved, and survivors who suffer in silence, afraid to share their stories.

Shamere works tirelessly to raise awareness of human trafficking in America by speaking at various universities, conferences, community events and with government officials. She partners with organizations by empowering survivors and youth within their programs. Her story has been featured in several books including a college text book focused on social justice, television programs, documentaries, newspaper articles, and radio programs.

Currently, she serves on the speaker’s bureau for the Fredrick Douglas Family Initiative and Survivors of Slavery organizations. She is a subject matter expert consultant with Fox Valley Technical College Amber Alert TTA; a member of the National Survivor Network and the Survivor Leadership Institute; a mentor to survivors of sex trafficking.

She is formerly the Program Assistant for Shared Hope International, where she trained various professionals including law enforcement on how to identify and respond to victims of human trafficking, used her personal experience to inform policy initiatives and provided support to other programs in the organization.

Her strong determination, passion for success and her faith in Jesus Christ helps her to keep her eyes on the prize. Shamere is working on her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice at Loyola University Chicago. She believes that one day she will be a human trafficking attorney, advocating for victims of modern day enslavement in the justice system. Shamere does not consider herself a victim because she is no longer enslaved; she is not a survivor because she is more than surviving; but, she considers herself a liberator – one who has broken free from the chains of her past, determined to pave the way for others who have been enslaved.

Kevin Bales

Senior Advisor to the Board of Directors

Going undercover to meet slaves and slaveholders, Kevin Bales exposed how modern slavery penetrates the global economy and flows into the things we buy. Named by the Association of British Universities as the originator of one of “100 World-Changing Discoveries” and by Utne Reader as a “visionary who is changing your world.” In 2001 he co-founded Free the Slaves, the American sister-organization of the UK’s Anti-Slavery International, the world’s oldest human rights group. In twelve years it has helped to liberate thousands of slaves in India, Nepal, Haiti, Ghana, Brazil, Ivory Coast, and Bangladesh, and work with them to build new lives of dignity. After reading Bales’ book Ending Slavery, President Clinton told the plenary of the CGI: “It tells you that it is a problem we can solve and here’s how to do it.” With Ron Soodalter, he published The Slave Next Door: Modern Slavery in the United States, an exposé and plan to make America slave-free for the first time in its history. Check out his TED talk.

Mark Tatum

Chairman of the Board of Directors

Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, Mark has roots tied in the greater community, the church and musical arenas. He was president of the Jazz and Concert Bands for his High School, and founder and president of a positive-movement club called Positive Brothers and Sisters.

Mark carried this leadership skill to West Virginia State University where he became President of the Student Government Association. With such outstanding civic service, Mark was selected as Who’s Who Among Students in America’s Colleges and Universities.

Mark has worked in public school education as a special subjects teacher; as a Regional Director for federally funded grant programs; and as a government contractor for youth programs. Mark has earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Communication, and is a licensed minister at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church. He is currently working as a Life Coach at a charter school in Baltimore City, and as an adjunct professor at Community College of Baltimore County. He and his wife and reside in Hyattsville, MD with their 3 children; 2 boys and 1 girl.

Dan Brook

Vice- Chair of the Board of Directors

Dan Brook is an attorney, currently serving as a Counsel for the Board of Veteran’s Appeals (BVA) in Washington D.C. Before working for the BVA, he served as a patients’ rights attorney with the Mental Health Advocacy Project in San Jose, California. He became involved in the anti-trafficking movement in 2005, after joining the DC Stop Modern Slavery Group (DC SMS), a local anti-trafficking community group. He has served in many roles for DC SMS, including as advocacy team leader, assistant organizer for the DC Stop Modern Slavery Walk and coordinator of a Survivors’ Advisory Committee for the Walk. His experiences have made him realize how critical it is to understand Survivor perspectives, to foster Survivor opportunities and to encourage Survivor leadership.

Melba Brown

Secretary of the Board of Directors

Melba Robinson is a tireless advocate for girls and young women who face insurmountable challenges. Melba’s innovative works in the areas of social work, mental health, and human sex trafficking of domestic children have made her a go-to person for Juvenile Justice Judges, Law Enforcement, Community Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) and Parents.

Melba has a strong interest in the next generation of girls and young women. She has served for years as a case manager, mentor and court advocate for troubled and exploited girls and has served as a hands-on resource to their families. Robinson founded STRIVE (Surviving Together regardless of Ignorance, Violence and Exploitation). STRIVE engages survivors of human sex trafficking through an aftercare group which assist girls with transitioning back into their families and communities while equipping and empowering them with the ability to set and achieve their life goals.

Her commitment to help women, girls, communities and NGOs extends far beyond Atlanta. Robinson has worked with Girls Educational & Mentoring Services (GEMS), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Share Hope International, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, ICE. She has also served as a volunteer for DeKalb County’s Task Force for Homeless and Sexually Exploited Youth. Melba is often called upon as an expert witness for law enforcement to build case against sex traffickers, and she is a sought-after trainer and curriculum developer for Juvenile Courts, NGOs, professional associations and religious organization. Melba has served as a Director for a state licensed safe refuge, education and therapeutic home for American girls who have survived violence, street life and human sex trafficking and exploitation. In this position she led committed staff and team of volunteers in providing restorative care and services to girls and their families. In addition, Melba serves as a subject matter expert on task forces, panels and at conferences. Melba currently is the Program Director for an Anti-Human Trafficking program with the Salvation Army.

Melba holds a B.S. in Criminal Justice from St. John’s University and a Masters in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University. Melba Robinson is a Georgia resident and one of Georgia’s leaders to eradicate Human Sex Trafficking of Domestic Children.

Layla Doman

Treasurer of the Board of Directors

Layla Doman is currently an information technology professional in Washington, DC who has a passion for education and personal finances. Having completed the course work at Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies for Certified Financial Planner, Ms. Doman fulfills her passion by volunteering as a financial literacy trainer in her local non-profit community. She educates and empowers others to effectively manage their personal finances by helping them set achievable financial goals and purposefully plan their spending. Ms. Doman hopes to bring an engaging fiscally responsible focus to the overall mission of Sun Gate by helping Survivors gain valuable education without incurring excessive debt.

Keisha Head

Board Member

Activist, Advocate, Motivational Speaker and Survivor of Child Sex Trafficking. Mrs. Keisha Head has been passionately involved with serving commercially sexually exploited children (CSEC) victims for the past five years. As a survivor of domestic child sex trafficking she speaks, trains, and advocates throughout all the various state agencies who have contact with potential CSEC victims. She has been called upon by the US Department of Justice as an expert and advocates for legislation that protects victims of human trafficking. She uses her personal story of being a victim, turned survivor, emerged leader, to serve as the voice for countless others who aren’t strong enough to speak for themselves. In 2011 Head was awarded the Paul Howard’s Fulton County District Attorney “Voices for Victims” award. Head has been featured in numerous local and national news articles and has appeared on various televised broadcasts, including FOX News, to spread awareness nationally. In 2012, her first televised interview “How to Stop the Candy Shop” conducted by PBA’s Ross Scott received the southeastern Emmy. In 2013 Head was awarded the Darkness to Light Voice of Courage Award and featured in D2L National training DVD to educate and bring awareness to sexual abuse. Apart from Advocating and mentoring, Head’s vision is to start a Non- profit Organization (Project 360 Degrees) which offers mentoring programs that will help empower women and children whose lives have been derailed by domestic sex trafficking and sexual abuse. Head resides in Atlanta, GA and is a wife and the proud mother of four talented and beautiful children. Head is a writer working towards publishing her first novel titled “Motherless child”.

Jessica Emerson

Board Member

Professor Jessica Emerson began the Human Trafficking Project of the Saul Ewing Civil Advocacy Clinic in August of 2015. Prior to joining the faculty, Ms. Emerson was a staff attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Women’s Law Center of Maryland. There she began the innovative Trafficking Victims Post-Conviction Advocacy Project, which focused on implementing a 2011 Maryland law allowing survivors of sex trafficking to vacate their prostitution convictions.  She trains nationally on vacating convictions and the collateral consequences of criminal convictions for people in the commercial sex industry.

Ms. Emerson received her J.D. from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 2013, where she was the recipient of the Law Faculty Award.  Prior to attending law school, she was a social worker at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York City, where she provided intensive individual mental health counseling and case management services to HIV-positive and sexually high-risk adolescents, as well as group counseling and HIV testing services to adolescent survivors of domestic sex trafficking and LGBTQ youth at partnering community agencies.  Ms. Emerson received her Master of Science in Social Work degree from Columbia University, with a focus on health, mental health, and disabilities.  She is a barred attorney in Maryland and a licensed social worker in New York State.

Jocelyn Moore

Development Associate

Jocelyn Moore is a recent graduate of the University of Delaware where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational and Community Leadership with an Area of Interest in Human Rights Advocacy. She first learned of human-trafficking during her Freshman year and has devoted her work and efforts to the cause ever since.

She has volunteered with multiple anti-trafficking organizations, including Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS), the Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation, and the International Justice Mission. She also served as the Founder and President of the University of Delaware’s chapter of the International Justice Mission all throughout her undergraduate experience. In addition, Jocelyn has given numerous talks and conducted many workshops on the topic of human-trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation. Jocelyn is currently an Americorps Public Ally, serving her term at Capital Partners for Education in Washington, DC.