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2012 Award Winners


2012 Advocates of the Year

Sandy Skelaney

Sandy Skelaney is the Program Manager for Project GOLD at Kristi House in Miami, FL, a program providing specialized mental health services to children who are victims of sex trafficking.  In 2007, Sandy founded the “Girls Owning their Lives and Dreams” initiative within Miami’s child advocacy center after working with Girls Educational and Mentoring Services (GEMS) in New York City and ECPAT International in Bangkok, Thailand.  Sandy has been sought out for her expertise in forums from Miami to Russia and is a regular conference presenter on the issue of child sex trafficking.  In 2008, she was chosen to be one of 15 NGO representatives of the United States at the World Congress III against Sexual Exploitation of Children in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Sandy is frequently requested to consult on cases throughout Florida and was an instrumental part of the Department of Children and Families Protocol Working Group for Child Trafficking which created a statewide response from the child welfare system, the first of its kind in the United States.  She has also been a representative on several other working groups such as the Florida Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force and the DJJ Children’s Cabinet and provided impetus to the writing and advocacy for the FL Safe Harbor Act signed into law in 2012.

Sandy was recently honored by the Junior League as a Women Who Makes a Difference in Miami.  In 2012, she also won the Advocate of the Year Award from the FL Children & Youth Cabinet and Victim Advocate Professional of the Year by the Coral Gables Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General along with the Crime Victims’ Resource Network award for exceptional service to crime victims in 2010.

She holds a Master’s degree in International Relations from Yale University and a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

 

Trudy Novicki

Trudy NovickiTrudy Novicki has spent her career of 35 years in public service, beginning as a prosecutor in Miami-Dade in 1978. For 25 years she served in the State Attorney’s Office, including as Chief Assistant, winning important cases and locking up high profile criminals. Ms. Novicki began her second career and followed her calling in 2003 when she began overseeing the care and healing of child sexual abuse victims as leader of Kristi House, the Children’s Advocacy Center serving large, diverse Miami-Dade County. Through her role as a prosecutor, she understood the particular challenges in trying child sexual abuse cases and was well suited to lead the CAC’s multidisciplinary team.

 Kristi House has grown significantly under Ms. Novicki’s leadership, and became a member of National Child Traumatic Stress Network in 2012 as a federal SAMHSA grantee to improve the capacity of the child welfare system in South Florida to deliver EBT for child sexual-related trauma. Another major initiative under Ms. Novicki begun in 2007 addresses children exploited in prostitution and pornography. The agency’s Project GOLD program provides services for commercially sexually exploited children 11 to 17 to help them escape sex trafficking and receive trauma-informed intervention, medical and mental health services to help them restore their lives.

Kristi House has become a leading voice in Florida, nationally and internationally around the issue of child sex trafficking as one of the first CACs to recognize and respond to the problem of CSEC. Ms. Novicki authored the bill and advocated for Florida’s Safe Harbor Act, which became law in 2013. Ms. Novicki and her team have trained many other communities throughout the country on how to set up a similar program.

Ms. Novicki has been a member of the adjunct faculty of the University of Miami Law School since 1989. She holds a JD degree from Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree from University of Maryland. She is the mother of five children, now adults.

2012 Law Enforcment Officer of the Year

Tonja Marshall

Tonja Marshall is a Supervisory Special Agent with the Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, based in Miami, Florida.  Agent Marshall began her government career in 1983 as a Co-Op Student/Intern with the former U.S. Customs Service while attending college.  Upon her graduation, she was selected as a Customs Special Agent stationed in Dallas, Texas.  During her 13-year tenure in Dallas, she conducted investigations involving narcotics, financial crimes and child pornography and was selected as the Special Agent of the Year in 1997 by the regional Women in Federal Law Enforcement organization.  From 1997 to 2001, Agent Marshall served in the U.S. Customs Headquarters in Washington, DC where she was assigned to the Smuggling Investigations Division.  In 2001, she was selected to supervise the Black Market Peso Exchange investigative group in Miami, Florida.  In 2004, she was promoted to Assistant Special Agent in Charge, Houston, Texas, where she supervised the Financial Investigations Division.  In 2008, Agent Marshall returned to Miami when she was selected to supervise the South Florida Human Trafficking Task Force, a collaborative effort between law enforcement, prosecutors, non-governmental organizations, faith based communities and concerned citizens dedicated to disrupting and dismantling human trafficking organizations while providing services to trafficking victims.

Agent Marshall is a graduate of Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas where she received a BS degree in Corrections and Criminology and a MS degree in Criminal Justice Administration.  While she has had an exciting and rewarding career, Agent Marshall believes her greatest accomplishment has been her two children, Matthew, 9 and Lily, 6.

2012 Prosecutor of the Year

Katherine Fernandez Rundle

Katherine Fernandez Rundle was appointed State Attorney for Miami-Dade County in 1993. She has subsequently been re-elected five times to serve as State Attorney. She has a long history of involvement in her community and her state that dates back to her days at Miami Palmetto High School and her undergraduate career at the University of Miami. She went on to obtain her law degree from the prestigious Cambridge University in England. State Attorney Fernandez Rundle prides herself in being a career crime fighter. She has dedicated herself to every cause imaginable in her relentless commitment to keep our streets safe. She is recognized as a pioneer in the creation of numerous programs dealing with issues that affect our community daily such as teen truancy, domestic violence, child support, human trafficking, and victim’s rights. She also prides herself with her office attaining the highest percentage of convictions in cases involving public corruption in the State of Florida. 

As the legal arm of the 37 different police departments in our county, the office’s mission is to see that the guilty are convicted while the rights of the innocent are protected. The State Attorney’s Office prides itself in being the voice for every victim that is wronged by crime. The office is the fourth largest district attorney’s office in the nation with over 1,200 employees, 300 of them prosecutors also known as Assistant State Attorneys. In addition to seeing that justice is carried out, her office is the only prosecutor’s office in the state that protects the rights of children with the creation and enforcement of a strict child support program that annually processes over 90,000 cases. Other innovative programs to help prevent crime and provide rehabilitative opportunities such as Drug Court, the Juvenile Gun Offenders Program, and the Second Chance Sealing and Expungement programs, have all been established under the direction of State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Anti-Trafficking Appreciation Awards

Representative Erik Fresen
SAFE HARBOR ACT BILL SPONSOR Florida Children & Youth Cabinet
Anti-Trafficking Appreciation Award
2012

Senator Anitere Flores
SAFE HARBOR ACT & HUMAN TRAFFICKING
BILL SPONSOR
Florida Children & Youth Cabinet
Anti-Trafficking Appreciation Award
2012

Representative William Snyder
HUMAN TRAFFICKING BILL SPONSOR
Florida Children & Youth Cabinet
Anti-Trafficking Appreciation Award
2012

Representative Chris Dorworth
PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE PERSONS
BILL SPONSOR
Florida Children & Youth Cabinet
Anti-Trafficking Appreciation Award
2012

Senator Lizbeth Benacquisto
PROTECTION OF VULNERABLE PERSONS
BILL SPONSOR
Florida Children & Youth Cabinet
Anti-Trafficking Appreciation Award
2012