About Our Founder
In 2006, Nita Belles, IN OUR BACKYARD (IOB) Founder and Executive Director, was exposed to the realities of human trafficking in America in 2006 and realized that there was no option to “stand on the sidelines” of this atrocity. As a recognized national leader and expert in the anti-trafficking movement, Belles works tirelessly to link arms across America in the fight against human trafficking. After self-publishing her first book in 2011, Belles authored what has been acclaimed as the primer on human trafficking in 2015: In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It. Because of her expertise, she is often called upon to advise on human trafficking legislation. Belles casts the vision for IOB and leads the organization’s programs to raise awareness of human trafficking, take action, educate the public, advocate for and empower survivors. After a career in business, Nita earned her Master’s Degree in Theology with a Concentration in Women’s Concerns. Nita has been happily married to her husband Dan for more than 30 years. In her spare time Nita enjoys riding her bike and spending time with her family.
Highlights of Nita’s work in combating human trafficking:
- Executive Director of IN OUR BACKYARD
- Central Oregon’s Regional Director of Oregonians Against Trafficking Humans (OATH)
- Author of In Our Backyard
- Victim rescue to restoration
- Works with law enforcement in anti-human trafficking efforts surrounding the Super Bowl
- Works with legislators in passing Oregon’s anti-trafficking laws
- Experience testifying before state legislatures to help strengthen the argument for tougher trafficking laws
- Develops and delivers targeted custom training to community and faith based groups, medical staff, law enforcement, prosecuting attorneys, parole & probation, universities, etc.
- Guides individuals or organizations who are beginning on the journey of anti-trafficking
Through her personal experience, studies and work, Nita has developed deep compassion for victims and broad understanding of women’s issues in particular. As she networks with other national and international abolitionist organizations, she brings a determination to link arms with other abolitionists in order to end modern-day slavery.
She has an enthusiasm for life and is known as a powerful motivator who will impact any group. Nita is available to present to groups everywhere to heighten awareness, answer questions and help stop human trafficking/modern-day slavery.
Nita Belles’ book, In Our Backyard, has raised awareness for thousands, and as a result, USA Today, CNN, Fox Files and others have interviewed her to further the cause. Her work also includes anti-trafficking efforts surrounding Super Bowl and legislative efforts.