Benjamin and Laila were honored to interview Rebecca Bender in this week’s podcast episode. Rebecca is a nationally recognized and awarded expert on domestic sex trafficking. After escaping nearly six years of both labor and sex trafficking, she emerged as a Survivor Leader, providing consulting, training and speaking with some of the largest anti-trafficking groups and government agencies in the country, including FBI, Homeland Security and former president Jimmy Carter. After writing her first book, Roadmap to Redemption, she founded the Rebecca Bender Initiative (RBI), a non-profit that provides trainings and consulting to first responders and investigators across America. Under RBI, Rebecca also created Elevate Academy: the largest and only, online program for survivors of human trafficking seeking care outside of residential treatment.
Rebecca is the recipient of multiple FBI and Congressional recognition awards, the 2015 Hero to our Generation Award, 2014 Female Overcomer Award, and the 2013 Unlikely Hero Award. She sits as on the Advisory Committee for the US Dept. of Health and Human services, is a member of the Oregon Cease Task Force and is co-chair of Oregon’s DOJ Human Trafficking Advisory Council, as well as serves on the board of Exodus Cry. She was chosen as one of the top 22 Survivor Leaders being featured in a PSA titled, “More Than a Survivor” and is a member of the Survivor Leader Institute and the National Survivor Network, and is co-founder of the Survivor Alliance. Her consulting services have assisted DA’s during trials as well as provided needed direction to the opening of seven “safe homes” around the world, including one in Iraq for Isis refugees.
Rebecca is currently finishing her master’s at Bethel University and in her free time, you can find her with her husband and their four beautiful daughters, enjoying their home in the Pacific Northwest.