Nita Belles is an author, speaker and leading national expert in the antihuman trafficking movement. Her journey as a tireless crusader against human trafficking began in 2006 when she witnessed the cruelty of this atrocity and was compelled to take action. Each year since 2010, Nita’s anti-trafficking work surrounding the Super Bowl has been instrumental in holding traffickers and sex-buyers accountable, and recovering victims of human trafficking. In her years of dedication to this issue ‒ from prevention to restoration ‒ she has collaborated with top law enforcement, survivors, government officials, social service providers, medical professionals, and faith communities as the key to creating comprehensive, lasting change.
National Speaker and Trainer
As a prominent trainer and motivational speaker, Nita engages audiences of all kinds, empowering them to use their expertise and sphere of influence to stop human trafficking. She frequently speaks to government officials, law enforcement, universities, businesses, civic organizations, medical communities, conferences and faith-based groups. Some past audiences have included National Association of Attorneys General, Oregon Youth Authority Parole and Probation, University of Oregon, Brigham Young University, Saddleback Church, Willow Creek Church, St. Thomas School of Law and innumerable human trafficking conferences.
Victims Advocate and Legislative Advisor
She possesses a deep understanding of both labor and sex trafficking and is sought after to assist in the recovery and restoration of victims. Nita knows that to make a lasting impact in ending human trafficking, laws must be changed, and she often advises legislators regarding laws to bring justice in this realm. She provides expert testimony as an advisor on HT laws and has influenced the passing of human trafficking legislation in several states. Nita was instrumental in the passing of Oregon’s House Bill 3143 which requires that Freedom Stickers
go out with every renewed liquor license in the state of Oregon and on Oregon SB 375 which placed poster replicas of Freedom Stickers in rest areas across the state. Freedom Stickers contain the National Human Trafficking Hotline number, offering a pathway to freedom for victims of human trafficking. They originated with IN OUR BACKYARD in 2011 and were designed in collaboration with survivors.
Author and Spokesperson
Expanding upon her first book written in 2011, Belles authored what has been acclaimed as the primer on human trafficking: In Our Backyard: Human Trafficking in America and What We Can Do to Stop It (Baker Books 2015). Nita’s work has been published in Huffington Post, Washington Post, and the Journal of Christian Nursing, among others. Often interviewed as an expert on human trafficking, her work has been featured by CNN, FOX Files, USA Today, BBC, Focus on the Family, and others. She has twice been nominated for Woman of the Year in Central Oregon and the Liberator of the Year, a national award.
Founder and President
Nita is the Founder and President of IN OUR BACKYARD, a national nonprofit organization that links arms across America in the fight against human trafficking through awareness, action, education, legislative advising and advocacy for survivors. She is passionate and dedicated to leading the organization and has never taken a salary for her anti-trafficking work.
Career and Education
After a career in business, Nita earned her master’s degree in Theology with a Concentration in Women’s Concerns. She served as a domestic violence chaplain, an associate pastor and built and sold a successful business prior to founding IN OUR BACKYARD. 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.
Cheryl Csiky has been a leader in the fight against human trafficking since 2011. She has worked from recovery to restoration and possesses expertise in many aspects of human trafficking. Cheryl’s journey was prompted in 2011 by reading a book that confronted the atrocity of human trafficking, In Our Backyard, by Nita Belles. Armed with that knowledge, her natural leadership skills compelled her to begin mobilizing other volunteers to serve, resulting in recoveries, safe housing, and outreach strategies. This work also began to stir inside Cheryl a realization about the worst experiences of her own childhood. At 10 years of age she was groomed by a peer into doing “dates” for his profit in her suburban middle-class neighborhood. Her new understanding of trafficking caused her to realize she was actually a child trafficking survivor. Cheryl courageously lives her healing journey from childhood sexual exploitation by raising awareness, mobilizing others and disrupting traffickers’ tactics and profits. Her experience now compels others to see this atrocity through a child’s lens.
Before joining IN OUR BACKYARD, Cheryl served as a Compassion and Justice Pastor for a Chicago area mega church from 2013-2018. In that role, she developed anti-trafficking awareness programs, mobilized volunteers into various positions of nonprofits, and has continuously mentored and housed survivors. Her decade of extraordinary leadership leaves a legacy of courage with boots on the ground.
- Leader for IN OUR BACKYARD’s anti-trafficking team surrounding the past five Super Bowls.
- Featured in a CNN report regarding trafficking
- Developed National Recovery efforts with law enforcement and FBI
- She has implemented collaboration with top law enforcement, government officials, nonprofit leaders, and survivors. Her vision continues to pioneer prevention efforts in this role.
- Developed a triage response for potential trafficking victims for Amita Health.
- Group leader/mentor in the Cook County Jail, the third largest jail system in the United States and developed teams to serve as needed
- Trained in Chicago City street outreach by Brenda Meyers-Powell
- Lead anti-trafficking events with attendance ranging from small groups to 25,000
- Lead global anti-trafficking teams to Thailand and Cambodia
- Spoken at numerous conferences including the Justice Conference, Chicago
- Certified to serve youths affected by Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC)
- Cheryl holds a certificate as a Facilitator of Trauma Informed Care from the Allender Center
Cheryl is the Executive Director of IN OUR BACKYARD, a national anti-trafficking nonprofit that links arms across America in the fight against human trafficking. Her passion, competency and experience provide leadership at IN OUR BACKYARD and beyond. She loves to travel the world, create story, play video games, and spend time with family at Disney World.
Kristen Campbell, Operations and Program Director of IN OUR BACKYARD has over 30 years of experience in training, human resources, and management experience.
As Executive Director for Assault Victim Services in Texas, Kristen salvaged a damaged program via public relations, volunteer recruitment, and news media. She also increased the budget by 20% within 12 months through grant writing, fund raising, and cost saving analysis.
While working as the Training Coordinator for the Girl Scouts of Rolling Hills Council in New Jersey, Kristen supervised and tracked training for over 3500 adult volunteers. She was then promoted to Director of Communications where she designed all Council communications including press releases, newsletters, fund development appeals, annual reports, camp brochures, and promotional ads. Kristen was also responsible for grant applications, donor management, and major fundraisers. She also served as the council liaison for community organizations and businesses.
After moving from New Jersey to Central Oregon, Kristen began working at Deschutes Brewery as a manager and trainer for tours and tasting room employees. She was promoted to HR as the Training Coordinator for all production, sales, marketing, and food and beverage employees. When the HR department was reorganized, Kristen also became responsible for all HR functions for the production, sales, and marketing departments.
Kristen has a BA in Sociology with emphasis in Society and Justice from the University of Washington, she is a Certified Instructor of Trainers, and facilitator for True Colors, and Taking Flight with DISC. She volunteers with Girl Scouts of Oregon Southwest Washington, Bend Ice Figure Skating Club, and served as a member of Deschutes Brewery’s Crafted for Community grant allocations team.