In 2012, Derri Smith moved End Slavery Tennessee, an organization she founded in 2008, out from under a parent organization to become an independent 501c3.
Previously she served as Director of End Slavery Ministries with International Teams, with global responsibility for building teams and placing workers in the worldwide fight against slavery. But her heart and passion remained for the travesty of this crime, in epidemic proportions yet hidden in plain sight, right here in her own backyard.
Her career leading up to these roles includes teaching elementary school, heading an inner-city ministry in Nashville, and serving overseas in a ministry to refugees and those recovering from decades of repressive government in Eastern Europe. She’s authored books and articles on child-training and spoken on the issue of child abuse in the church, informally counseling women recovering from such abuse.
Derri has presented sessions on the topic of Human Trafficking and Slavery to thousands in professional, community and civic groups and churches, and is the 2011 regional recipient of the Soroptimist Ruby Award for Women Helping Women and 2012 winner of the Trafficking in America Service award.
She now devotes her knowledge, experience, and passion to end slavery and aids its victims in Tennessee.
As ESTN’s Director of Education, Karen Karpinski speaks on college campuses and at leading community, civic, and service groups and trains professionals most likely to come in contact with victims. Karen served for years as a high-involvement volunteer worker herself, and also trains and coordinates the activities and appointments for a growing team of volunteer presenters who now fan out to a wide range of venues and forums.
Karen retired from Skyline Medical Center where for over 10 years she was the Director of Volunteer and Spiritual Care Services on two campuses. She is a certified Volunteer Management Professional with more than 30 years experience in for-profit and not-for-profit businesses and organizations. She holds the Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications. Her experience ranges from the arts, to healthcare, to community service organizations.
Shelia’s story began with sexual abuse at an early age, followed by running away from home and early drug use. By the time Shelia was 18, she was being prostituted and was subsequently trafficked across the country. Shelia has learned to turn her past experiences into the driving force behind her desire to help those who are victims of trafficking. She’s been able to turn all the wrongs in her life into her greatest asset and a sense of empowerment. She has a B.A. in Psychology, earned in order to provide a higher level of service to survivors.
Christine is a Nashville native. She received a BA in Psychology and a MS in Community Agency Counseling. She has a heart for helping others. She learned about human trafficking at her church a few years ago and is passionate about aiding in prevention and also helping survivors.
In her spare time, Christine likes to spend time with family, friends, and her dog, Bailey. She also enjoys crafting and designing her own handmade jewelry.
Lizedny earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work degree. She is fully bilingual (Spanish/English) and has worked with youth since she was in college. She lived overseas teaching English as a Second Language where she also volunteered doing outreach to commercially exploited women. Today, Lizedny is passionate about improving the quality of life of survivors she meets.
In her spare time, Lizedny enjoys spending time with her family and friends and motivating the community to pour their lives into helping and empowering others.
Laura is currently working towards her degree in Business Administration concentrating in Information Technology, and will graduate in May 2014. A heart for the victims and survivors of human trafficking came about just a few short years ago upon coming to Nashville. Attending a film screening and hearing a presentation about the problem prompted her search for action and involvement and started her here at End Slavery Tennessee as an intern.
In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with her husband and family, reading, and sewing.
Janna Carlson was born and raised in Tennessee, where she graduated high school from Davidson Academy and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Trevecca Nazarene University. Janna is the Events Coordinator for ESTN and the Location Leader for the Nashville RIDE for Refuge. The RIDE is ESTN’s largest annual fundraiser and is how she originally discovered their important work.
She is married to her best friend and is currently employed at Men of Valor, a prison ministry. Janna understands that many struggle daily with some form of slavery, whether to themselves or circumstances, and her “vision” is to help break that vicious cycle. She recognizes community awareness and education play a crucial role in helping end modern day slavery, and is committed to ensuring the public gains a greater understanding of this heinous crime.
Marcus lends his passion and expertise in all things tech to the End Slavery Tennessee team. He is serving as the IT department, as well as helping to update and manage the organization’s websites and social media pages. His goal is to support the leaders in a way that allows them to be able to focus on what they do best, instead of spending valuable time on the digital tools that are supposed to help them do their jobs.
Marcus also taps into his early years on the road as an audio engineer, as well as his audio-visual installation experience, to serve at End Slavery Tennessee and The Village Chapel.
A twenty-year resident of Nashville, Marcus assists his wife Jenn with their social media and content marketing business, Mixtus Media (when he’s not chasing their four-year-old son Isaac around).
Chris Cohen’s goals are to be a strong, confident, courageous, loving man who walks with Christ every day, which motivates his service with End Slavery Tennessee. He’s from South Bend Indiana where he was bred to bleed green; he says he is the biggest Notre Dame fan in Tennessee! Chris moved here when he was 6, graduated from Hillsboro high school, then went to College at Western Kentucky University. When he graduated from WKU in 2006, he moved back down to Tennessee and now lives in Hendersonville.
Chris works for Liberty Mutual Group and loves helping people. He first learned about human trafficking locally at a benefit concert a few years ago and God has been leading him to further his involvement with End Slavery Tennessee ever since.
Bucky Elliott is an Army brat, husband, dad, and full-time digital media producer who serves as an End Slavery TN community educator and group leader for Franklin/Spring Hill. He has led teams in raising awareness about human trafficking in Williamson and Maury counties since May 2010 through literature and poster distribution, movie screenings, public awareness presentations, and other events. In cooperation with the Spring Hill police department, his team has also provided training for citizens and law enforcement officers.
Scott Hardesty is an End Slavery Community Educator, Volunteer Group Leader Liaison, and has been leading the Nashville Volunteer Group since 2010. He received his bachelor’s degree from Trevecca Nazarene University and MDIV from Vanderbilt University. Scott joined End Slavery TN because of their holistic approach to ending slavery in our state and hopes that the model we are creating can be replicated in other cities, states, and countries to end modern day slavery.
Born in Nashville, Carolyn has lived the majority of her life in Mt. Juliet. She has two children and has been married to her best friend for 11 years. She works as a medical assistant/nursing supervisor in a neurology practice.
She serves at Global Vision Bible Church where she is one of four youth leaders. This is where she first heard of ESTN and how prominent human trafficking is, not just internationally or nationwide, but in Tennessee. After learning the statistics there was no doubt that God was calling her to help in any way possible. Her hope is that through raising awareness about human trafficking in our communities and educating our youth and parents about the tactics used by traffickers that we can help prevent more victims from falling into the trap of this terrible reality.
Dana’s passion as a nurse is to educate medical professionals about Human Trafficking. She recognizes that these healthcare workers have a high chance of encountering victims and that it is therefore vital for them to know the red flags that enable them to recognize victims and get appropriate help. Dana is a Community Educator for ESTN as well as the Murfreesboro volunteer group leader.
Dana is currently employed as the Executive Director of the Rutherford County Health Department. She’s worked in public health and community education for more than 15 years. She has bachelor’s degrees in Nursing and Public Health from Western Kentucky University as well as a Public Health Leadership certificate from University of TN. Dana lives in Murfreesboro with her husband Steven.
Gwen Smith is leader of the Franklin, TN group. One of her heart’s desires is to see young women and young men caught in the web of human trafficking come to know their value as persons created in the image of God. She knows that raising awareness in her community about commercially exploited children and encouraging others to get involved is vital to the work of ESTN.
Gwen resides in Franklin, TN with her husband of 39 years. She is a retired schoolteacher and has 3 married children and 3 grandchildren.
Seth Watson grew up as a missionary kid living in Kiev Ukraine, and Tbilisi Georgia. He moved back to the States to attend University at Tennessee Tech. He is now a junior majoring in Political Science and minoring in Criminal Justice. He learned about ESTN last spring through a documentary showing which the Cookeville ESTN group organized. After getting a glimpse of the appalling reality of human trafficking he has become increasingly motivated to find out how he can help. He hopes to help others obtain the freedom that all people deserve.
Teresa Yoder is leader of West Central ESTN Group. She has a passion and desire to see survivors be restored into new lives with brand new beginnings. She also feels it is very important to create awareness in each community to avoid seeing young vulnerable people lured into such tragic situations.
Teresa is a homeschooling mother of 5, two which have graduated. Teresa and her 2 daughters run their own small soap and body care business. She also manages their small homestead with her husband of 19 years in rural Tennessee.