The ALIVE story was birthed through the divinely ordained meeting of two strangers living 2000 miles apart… Houston, Texas and Los Angeles, California. Both had a vision circulating within their spheres of influence how to truly fight sex trafficking in the Black community. The end game is to eradicate sex trafficking, by taking a critical look while addressing obstacles that have impacted sex trafficking in the Black community for decades. We aim to accomplish this by courageously addressing cultural barriers.
Melinda and Ken’s, individual pain, connected to become a powerful joint purpose. Melinda was introduced to sex trafficking when her older sister was pulled into the life and exploited. This long journey was one that Melinda and her family endured, ultimately leaving a sad mark. It was during Melinda’s fight to love and understand the gravity of her sister’s plight that she learned of the darkness that is commercial sexual exploitation. Years later, Melinda found herself prepared with the heart to be an advocate for victims like her sister. As she entered the world of advocating for victims and survivors as a trained mentoring volunteer, she soon grew into operations and executive leadership roles which culminated with taking her deeper into what it truly means to be an ally, someone who can make a tangible and measurable difference in lives that had been ravaged by the evil of sexual exploitation in all its forms.
In 2016, Melinda and her Executive Director, both well-respected and revered human trafficking allies in Houston, left their leadership positions at a Houston-based anti-sex trafficking organization and set out to establish The Landing, the only human trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation drop in center in Houston, Texas. This endeavor led Melinda into a unique opportunity for her to understand the devastating truth of how underrepresented and underserved Black victims and survivors of prostitution and sex trafficking are, not only in Houston, but the country. It was a no brainer that she had to take action. Melinda knew she could not take on the mission of being a voice and shedding light on this issue alone. Through prayer, meditation, spiritual guidance and strategic planning, she set out to Los Angeles to learn from the progressive efforts made in the region regarding mobilizing the Black community in assuring Black victims and survivors are appropriately represented with adequate prevention, awareness/education, victim services. During Melinda’s time in Los Angeles she met and worked with ALIVE’s current Co-founder Ken Henry, who at the time was Chair of the Compton California Human Trafficking Task Force. This encounter resulted in a friendship that led to a professional relationship giving birth to ALIVE.
Ken Henry is a certified Life Coach and Sociologist who was first introduced to the dark world of sex trafficking while working in the foster care industry in Southern California. Foster children have been one of America’s most vulnerable populations as it relates to sex trafficking. Ken spent years working to prevent foster and former-foster children from becoming victims. His latter years of working with at-risk families and witnessing the ravaging affects on individuals and families, further ignited his fire to end sex trafficking. Ken’s career and well-respected reputation lead him to be a graduate of the first class of the “National Human Trafficking Leadership Academy” with the United States Government.
As Ken’s generous acumen advanced in the fight against human trafficking, he realized the imbalance in the number of Black sex trafficking victims and representation of leadership and services targeted towards them. He took this matter to heart and joined forces with a group of minority community leaders to establish the Compton Human Trafficking Task Force to focus much of its effort in the Black community. He would later become Chair of the task force. While Ken is no longer Chairperson, he remains on the steering committee, helping guide the efforts of the task force.
When Ken and Melinda discovered their mutual dedication and resolve to assure Black victims and survivors receive adequate and appropriate services that are culturally competent and trauma informed, they knew it was time to go profoundly deeper into measurable solution. This decision led to the creation of ALIVE – Alliance of Leadership & Innovation for Victims of Exploitation, a 501(c)3. ALIVE is committed to bringing about sustainable change in helping to end sex trafficking and all forms of sexual violence and exploitation in the Black community.
Policy Expert | Expert Survivor Consultant to ALIVE
Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher
With great esteem and immeasurable gratitude, ALIVE receives sound expertise and encouraging direction from Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher positioning ALIVE to be a first response to the take action to bring about effective change in the human sex trafficking and exploitation in the Black community in the United States.
Marian proudly represents, SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution Calling for Enlightenment) as a U.S. Representative. SPACE is a survivor led organization representing 10 countries. She has worked as a civilian member of law enforcement for 15 years and is a national expert on combating the demand, sitting on numerous boards and facilitating trainings on trafficking and prostitution for various law enforcement groups including the F.B.I. and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
She has traveled the country and abroad, speaking at various events and conferences, shedding light on the prevalent issue of trafficking and telling her own story as a survivor of sex trafficking and domestic violence.
On December 22, 2017, Dr. Hatcher was granted Executive Clemency by Governor Bruce Rauner for drug and prostitution offenses related to her exploitation and was honored on Congressional Record for Black History Month on February 28, 2018 by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois.
Marian’s story of survival and policy leadership have been featured in numerous documentaries including Oprah Winfrey Network’s “Prostitution: Leaving the Life”; Sheryl WuDunn and Nicholas Kristof’s “A Path Appears”; Mary Mazzio’s “I am Jane Doe”; The Guardian’s “The Trap: The Deadly Sex Trafficking Cycle in American Prisons” and most recently, “From Liberty to Captivity.”
Dr. Hatcher received the 2016 Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for Volunteer Service from President Barack Obama. In 2014 Marian was awarded Shared Hope International’s “Path Breaker Award”, presented to dedicated policy makers tackling the demand that drives domestic minor sex trafficking.
We are grateful to be working with such a fine example of solution as Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher helping to shape ALIVE into the leading organization addressing prevention of human sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the Black community.
“History has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can
take on a life of its own.“
– Michelle Obama
Who We Are
Why We Exist
Boldness | Faith | Truth
We fearlessly seek to stand in faith for what is true and right.
Social Equity | Diversity | Inclusiveness
We aim to create a culture of fairness, justice and equality that is accessible to all people and respect that we all belong to a Creator who has designed us for love and inclusion.
Transparency | Dignity | Integrity
We commit to connecting with humanity by being honest and clear, cherishing each other’s credos and cultivating relationship wholeness.
CO-FOUNDER + EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Melinda is a visionary, critical thinker, philanthropist and lover of humanity. Her extensive knowledge of sex trafficking through her work and relationships she’s built throughout her years of mentoring and advocating for sex trafficking survivors, and the invaluable knowledge she learned from survivor leaders, has positioned Melinda as a seasoned survivor ally.
CO-FOUNDER + DIR. OF OPERATIONS
As chair of the Compton Human Trafficking Task Force, Ken is a dedicated trafficking advocate, educating members of the Black community through awareness and prevention. His work with victims of human trafficking and mentoring combined with his knowledge of brain science has made it possible for him to make tremendous strides with human trafficking survivors.