Ali Boak (she/her/hers) is the Director of the Global Center on Human Trafficking located within the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Montclair State University. Ali is a passionate leader in the global movement to end human trafficking. For more than 25 years, she has worked alongside survivors of all forms of trafficking to develop innovative, survivor driven approaches to prevent and address human trafficking across the United States, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
She began this journey when she discovered that traffickers were recruiting children and youth out of the schools, universities and orphanages where she served as a Peace Corps Volunteer and Fulbright Scholar in the Baltic States.
As a pioneer in the anti-trafficking movement, Ali co-founded several organizations, networks, and coalitions at the forefront of the anti-trafficking field today including the International Organization for Adolescents (IOFA), Freedom Network USA, the Westchester County Anti-Trafficking Task Force, and the National Human Trafficking and Disabilities Working Group.
A recognized expert on the issue of child and adolescent trafficking and exploitation, she has provided training, technical assistance and capacity building support to hundreds of criminal justice, social service, and community organizations in more than 12 countries.
Ali is a frequent lecturer, keynote speaker, and advisor to numerous organizations including Catholic Charities USA Advisory Task Force on Domestic Child Trafficking, the National Child Welfare Advisory Board, the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Victims of Crime Expert Working Group on Trafficking of Minors, and the U.S. Department of Justice, President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice.
Committed to training and supporting the next generation of human rights leaders, Ali and has taught and supervised fieldwork for graduate students at the Wagner School of Public Service at New York University; Columbia University, School for International and Public Affairs (SIPA); and the University of Chicago. She served as the International Development and Human Rights Leader-in-Residence at the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership at the City College of New York where she trained, taught, mentored and supervised fellows as they executed high impact service projects, conducted research, and raised awareness about critical international development and/or human rights issues.
Ali graduated Magna Cum Laude from the State University of New York at Albany with a B.A. in Political Science, International Affairs concentration and earned a Masters of Public Health (MPH) from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, the Division for Population and Family Health. She also holds a certificate in Mentoring Supervision from Fordham University. Her other passions include teaching yoga, playing golf and serving on the Town Board in her hometown of Pound Ridge, New York.
Daniela Peterka-Benton is an associate professor in the Department of Justice Studies and serves as the coordinator for the department’s International Justice concentration. She has a PhD in Sociology with a specialization in Criminology from the University of Vienna, Austria, a Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati, and Master’s degree in Adult and Media Education from the University of Vienna.
Her research interests center around transnational crimes such as human trafficking, human smuggling, arms trafficking, and right-wing terrorism and extremism. Dr. Peterka-Benton and has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed journals including International Migration Review, The Journal of the Institute of Justice & International Studies, Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, and The Journal of Applied Security Research. In 2022, she published the co-authored book Introduction to International Justice.
More recently Dr. Peterka-Benton completed a grant project funded by the New Jersey’s Division of Criminal Justice with two of her Montclair State colleagues, analyzing human trafficking data reporting, law enforcement response, and improvements for data collection methodologies such as the use of a statewide database on human trafficking. Another area of interest to her is the role of misinformation and disinformation on various issues including human trafficking. Her research on how QAnon has hijacked the human trafficking discourse was published in the journal Anti-Trafficking Review.
Dr. Peterka-Benton teaches numerous courses including, Human Trafficking, Intro to International Justice, Crime and Globalization, and Comparative Criminal Justice Systems. Prior to her focusing on a full-time academic career, Daniela Peterka-Benton worked for the U.S. State Department’s Office of Diplomatic Security at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, Austria.
Christabelle Robinson (she/her/hers) is the Communications and Social Media Specialist at the Global Center on Human Trafficking.
A survivor herself, her passion for survivor advocacy and rights is at the forefront of her work. Christabelle has years of survivor advocacy experience including blogs, interviews, and public speaking on human trafficking and related issues. She is an experienced trainer and educator and draws from her lived experience to connect with audiences. She is the Director of Programs at Karana Rising, a survivor-led organization for survivors of human trafficking, where she leads the development of survivor-led programming. She is also a co-founder of the Global Survivor Collaborative, an initiative of the Global Center on Human Trafficking and Karana Rising. She believes in survivors leading the fight against human trafficking, and it’s her goal to support survivors of human trafficking in that mission.
In addition to her work in the human trafficking field, Ms. Robinson brings to this position a wealth of experience developing communications strategy and social media campaigns as an independent consultant to private companies and non-profit organizations. Since 2017, her focus has been on ethical and inclusive marketing that is designed to include people from all walks of life.
Some of Christabelle’s other interests include running an online storefront to be an outlet for her art and macrame, video gaming, makeup artistry, and curling up with a good book and some coffee.
Lived Experience Expert and Survivor Leader, Liz Kimbel (she/her/hers) is the Program Specialist for the Global Center on Human Trafficking at Montclair State University, as well as a Survivor-led grassroots organization, The Restoring Ivy Collective. She has dedicated a decade of professional experience in program development, policy, media, and public speaking.
In addition to her work, Liz is also a full-time wife and mom, part-time starving artist, an avid coffee consumer, utterly musically obsessed, and adventurer- there’s nothing quite like being outdoors to heal the soul.
Professor Martellacci is a former Investigator for the New Jersey Public Defender’s Office: Office of Law Guardian Division. Her investigations played a vital role in ensuring children in family court matters involving allegations of abuse and neglect against parents or other caregivers received the legal representation they deserve. Her research interests revolve around: human trafficking, professional wellness for child welfare and higher education professionals, and the importance of self-care for college students.
Founder and Board Chair
Mimi Feliciano is Founder and CEO of FEM Real Estate, a Real Estate Investment Company, based in Montville, New Jersey, which she opened in 2013, with her husband, Edwin. FEM develops, owns and manages commercial real estate nationwide. She most recently completed her passion project, South Beach at Long Branch, in 2020, an award winning oceanfront 42 unit condominium development that introduces a luxurious live, work, play lifestyle to the Jersey Shore.
Mimi spent 12 years prior as the Owner and CEO of Lincoln Park Healthcare, the largest nursing home complex in New Jersey. Mimi took over and expanded this second-generation family business by building JDT Medical Rehab & JDT Medical Villa, two visionary state-of-the-art buildings for sub-acute, short-term care within a luxury, hotel-like environment.
Entrepreneurship has been a continuing trend in Mimi’s career. At age 19, she became a partner of a health club and banquet facility, for which she supervised the construction of and managed for 14 years with great membership success. Subsequently, Mimi and her husband invested in residential real estate, acquiring and managing apartment units.
Mimi’s affiliations include The Global Center on Human Trafficking at Montclair State University, Board chair; The Mimi & Edwin Feliciano School of Business; Board Member; Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship, Board Member; Homeland Security Foundation, Board Member; ROI NJ 2021 Women of Influence Executives Power List; NJ BIZ Real Estate Power List 2020; NJ BIZ Top 50 CRE Power List 2019; New Jersey Business Hall of Fame Laureate 2016; Endowed the Mimi & Edwin Feliciano Healing Garden at Chilton Memorial Hospital 2016; Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs 2014; Best 50 Women in Business, NJ BIZ 2014; Honoree For Chilton Memorial Hospital Gala 2013; Recipient of Montclair State University Carpe Diem Award 2012; Competitive Ballroom dancer holding national titles 2017, 2018 and 2019.