Monday, July 29, 2013

Meet Our Keynote Speakers: Martina E. Vandenberg

Behind the scenes at Thistle Farms and Magdalene these days, we are busy planning for our first national conference Welcome to the Circle: A Global Movement for Community Healing to be held in Nashville October 13-15. Excitement is building, especially given the calibre of speakers who have signed on to join us. We want to share our excitement by making some key introductions.

It is our great honor to introduce you to our keynote speaker for Tuesday the 15th. Attorney Martina E. Vandenberg has spent nearly two decades fighting human trafficking, forced labor, rape as a war crime, and violence against women. Martina is widely regarded as an expert on an array of human rights issues with an impressive background that includes testifying before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, the Helsinki Commission, and the House Foreign Affairs Committee to name a few. As a former Human Rights Watch researcher, she spearheaded investigations in the Russian Federation, Bosnia, Kosovo, Israel, and Ukraine. While Martina lived in the Russian Federation, she co-founded Syostri,one of Russia’s first rape crisis centers for women. She is also a Rhodes and Truman Scholar and adjunct faculty at the American University Washington College of Law.

Martina E. Vandenberg 

Impressive, right? So what can you expect at the conference?

Martina's work in recent years has concentrated on human trafficking victims in the U.S. In 2012, she established the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center, a clearing house in Washington, DC that brings attorneys together with human trafficking survivors who need legal assistance.

At Welcome to the Circle, Martina will help unravel the range and availability of legal options offered to trafficking victims in the U.S. As her work involves advocating with non-governmental organization leaders and mentoring attorneys handling pro bono trafficking cases, she can help you, and your community, better understand laws and legal resources that will empower you in your work with survivors.

For more information about Thistle Farms’ First National Conference or to register go to or contact

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