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Vicarious Trauma and Resilience: Creating Space to Care for Yourself and Your Clients

Speaker(s): Cristian Eduardo, Dr. Shobana Powell, DSW, LCSW, Hamra Ahmad, Nicole Fidler
Recorded on: Oct. 26, 2021
PLI Program #: 336971

Cristian Eduardo is an advocate, speaker and educator for anti-trafficking initiatives, immigrant and LGBTQ+ rights. He is a survivor of international and domestic sex and labor trafficking, a Mexican immigrant, HIV+, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and someone who speaks openly about the mental health challenges he has faced that frequently result from trauma.

Although these are parts of him, he is whole, who cannot be defined. Cristian Eduardo is also a student, who is science and engineering oriented.

Cristian Eduardo's inspiration for his social justice work is to give insight that victims always remain human beings. 

Cristian Eduardo is a Lead Human Trafficking Consultant and Survivor with Shobana Powell Consulting, shaping national human trafficking trainings and policies. He also serves as a Survivor Consultant for ECPAT-USA, Center for Court Innovation, and USCRI. He is the Co-Founder of United Immigrants of New York (UIONY), a coalition of immigration advocates providing accessible education and resources to Spanish-speaking immigrants in New York. Cristian Eduardo is on the Steering Committees for New Yorkers for the Equality Model and Louisiana for Survivors’ Justice Coalition and has been instrumental in the development of Equality Model training and legislation across the US.

Dr. Shobana Powell, LCSW, DSW has a decade of experience in the anti-trafficking and gender-based violence field, focusing on child welfare, juvenile justice, mental health, policy and legislation, multi-disciplinary team development and coalition building.  Dr. Powell has a Bachelor's degrees in Social Work and Spanish from New York University, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and a Doctorate in Social Work from the University of Southern California.   Through her doctoral research, she developed the Survivor Equity and Inclusion Framework, which is a model for anti-trafficking organizations to replace survivor re-exploitation in the anti-trafficking movement with survivor equity and inclusion. 

Currently, Dr. Powell serves as a consultant with the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services, creating and implementing a state-wide Child Welfare Sex Trafficking Prevention training and certification program.  She also serves on the New Yorkers for the Equality Model policy coalition and is the Director of the Louisiana for the Equality Model policy coalition, which both focus on survivor-centered human trafficking legislation.

Previously, Dr. Powell served as the Director of Micro Grants at Sanctuary for Families in New York City, where she managed emergency COVID-19 relief funding for survivors of gender-based violence for 80+ organizations.  Dr. Powell also served as the Director of the Survivor Leadership Coalition at Sanctuary for Families, where she trained and oversaw a diverse team of survivors of gender-based violence who made system-wide change through advocacy, direct service work, training and program development. 

In her past work in Louisiana, Dr. Powell provided individual therapy to survivors of complex trauma and served as Director of a Juvenile Mental Health Court, where she conducted court-ordered mental health and sex trafficking evaluations and testified in court regarding diagnoses and treatment recommendations.  She also founded and directed a regional human trafficking coalition and developed the first juvenile sex trafficking probation unit and multidisciplinary team in the State of Louisiana.  She has trained nationally and internationally on best practices for working with survivors of human trafficking and gender-based violence and developing interdisciplinary community approaches to violence prevention.

Dr. Powell has received the Crime Victims’ Rights Awards in Louisiana and a National Association of Counties Award for her work in the field of human trafficking.  She now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area in California with her husband and her two very furry dogs.

Hamra Ahmad is Director of Law and Policy at Her Justice, a nonprofit organization providing legal services to women living in poverty throughout New York City by training and mentoring volunteer attorneys to address individual and systemic barriers.

Prior to joining Her Justice, Ms. Ahmad was Executive Director of the Hudson Valley Justice Center (HVJC), a nonprofit organization providing civil legal services to immigrants.   She has also served as Director of the Center for Legal Services at My Sisters’ Place, a nonprofit organization working with victims of domestic violence and human trafficking.  She co-authored a chapter in the Services for Trafficking Victims: A Brief Guide for Lawyers on best practices when working with trafficking survivors. She is a leading expert in the area of Immigration and Domestic Violence and Human Trafficking, conducting trainings and presentations to law enforcement, judges, and social service agencies.

Ms. Ahmad also implemented the Immigration Project of the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, providing a variety of immigration services to the large East African resettlement population.  Ms. Ahmad received her J.D., cum laude, from the University of Minnesota Law School.  She is licensed to practice law in New York and Minnesota.

Nicole Fidler, Esq. is the Director of the Pro Bono Program at Sanctuary for Families, a non-profit organization dedicated to assisting survivors of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence.  In addition to managing Sanctuary's robust pro bono practice, which consists of over 1,000 pro bono attorneys, Nicole also represents survivors seeking help with Sanctuary’s family and matrimonial law practice.

Prior to joining Sanctuary, Nicole was a litigator at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP.  While at Milbank she was actively involved in pro bono work, focusing primarily on family, criminal, and immigration matters. Nicole is the co-author of a chapter published in the Lawyer’s Manual on Domestic Violence, entitled “Litigating Family Offense Proceedings.” She is co-chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Pro Bono & Legal Services Committee and a member of the Public Interest Pro Bono Association (PIPBA). In her pre-law life, Nicole worked in communications and development for the Organization for Autism Research, a national non-profit organization dedicated to funding applied autism research.