2017 Keynote Speaker

Natasha Nascimento, MPA

Natasha Nascimento, MPA

Founder and Executive Director, Redefining Refuge

Current research provides estimates of up to 300,000 American children at risk of being trafficked each year within the borders of the United States. In response to this, in 2010, Natasha Nascimento founded Redefining Refuge, a foundation dedicated to advocacy on behalf of children who have survived sex trafficking. In 2013, the foundation opened a therapeutic safe house for these women, which was the first of its kind in the Tampa Bay area.

Redefining Refuge now has active participants spanning from Australia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and across the United States, who share the foundation’s resolve to become the beginning of an end to an unimaginable injustice, and to ignite the restoration of lives afflicted by human trafficking. The organization was featured on a WEDU documentary highlighting the prevalence of human trafficking in Tampa Bay, and is an active participant in the Tampa Bay Community Campaign Against Human Trafficking, as well as the Abolish Movement spearheaded by the Junior League of Tampa.

Redefining Refuge has presented both the challenges and successes of providing safe housing to minor victims of sex trafficking to the Florida House of Representatives Healthy Families Subcommittee and the Florida Stands Against Human Trafficking Legislative Caucus, and was featured as a Resource Provider during the Statewide Human Trafficking Summit at the University of South Florida.

Nascimento was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at the University of South Florida and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration at the University of Southern California. For her work in this sector, Nascimento was nominated as a finalist for the WEDU BeMore Awards in the category of BeMore Entrepreneurial.

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