Anna I. Rodriguez, Founder
Anna I Rodriguez served as a victim advocate with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and an outreach coordinator for the Immokalee Shelter for Abuse Women in Collier County, Florida. During her 10 years serving CCSO, first as a volunteer and then as a Victim Advocate, In Immokalee, she created a “Home Visitation” program to follow up on cases served by her. Implementing this program resulted in open lines of communication with all sectors of the community. She earned the respect and cooperation of the Hispanics, Haitians, African Americans and Caucasians alike.
Her first experience with a Human Trafficking case was in 1999; U.S. vs. Tecum. It developed from a “home visitation” following up on a domestic violence incident. She noticed the presence of a young female who turned out to be a victim of human trafficking. Anna identified “red flags” that made her suspicious and eventually she helped get the victim out. Today the Tecum case has become a major case study by agencies including USDOJ, FSU, Croft Institute for International and New York Times. Anna was also able to identify and work with the FBI and USDOJ on a domestic servitude and sex trafficking case known as the “ Blackjack “ case, in which she also assisted ICE.
In recognition of Anna’s work and dedication, she was invited as part of the Tecum case team, along with the Federal Prosecutors and the victim, by Former Attorney General John Ashcroft, to be recognized and witness the signing of the “T VISA” in Washington DC. She has also received numerous letters of commendation from Collier County Sheriff’s Office and other law enforcement agencies. Because of the Tecum, Domestic Servitude, Blackjack and other slavery cases, she also received a Special Recognition from the FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC for her work and assistance. On July 16th, 2004 in Tampa, Anna was publicly recognized by President George W. Bush during his speech at the US Department of Justice national Human Trafficking Conference for her dedication to rescue human trafficking victims. She was also recognized by US Congressman Mario Diaz Balart with the American Flag from the US Capitol and a Certificate of Recognition. Anna has been featured in the Florida Chief magazine for her valuable work. Anna received the 2009 Women of Peace Award and was on the top 10 finalist for the 2009 Florida Women Hall of Fame.
Anna’s work has been recognized by author David Batstone in his book "Not for Sale", as well as a human trafficking documentary produced by Robert Macarrelli. Anna has also been recognized by Producer Michael Cory Davis on Cargo: Innocence Lost, Marynoll Production on Lives for Sale, The Florida Channel on Crossroads: Slavery in Florida, CBS Evening News and CBS Early Show, Univision, Telemundo, Wink TV News, Fox News, CNN, Atlanta Journal, Miami Times, Terra Communications, Naples Daily News and News Press.
Anna has received numerous recognitions and awards for her passion and dedication to identify, rescue and restore victims lives. Anna travels around the nation speaking and training law enforcement, community organizations and faith based organizations about human trafficking.
In 2011, Anna was inducted into the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame for her continued dedication to the issue of human trafficking.
2013 Tampa Bay Lighting Community Hero Award
2012 Makers recognition
2011 Inducted into the Florida Women's Hall of Fame
2010 Youth for Human Rights Commendation
2010 Certificate of Professionalism of Giselle Rodriguez - Pinellas County Sheriff's Office
2009 EPCAT Guatemala Certificate of Recognition
2009 Congreso de La Nacion - Argentina Diputada Cordoba
2009 Escuela nacional de Paz - Uruguay
2009 WMNF Peace Award Nominee
2009 Youth for Human Rights Commendation
2009 Dominican Republic Foreign Affairs Ministry Certificate of Recognition
2008 Women of Peace Award
2008 Florida Women Hall of Fame Top Ten Finalist
2008 Human Rights Award by Church Women United Inc.
2008 NACSW Distinguished Service Award
2008 Youth for Human Rights Walk-a-thon Commendation
2008 Humanitarian Award from The Hispanic Advisory Council in Brevard County
2008 Florida Weekly News Crusaders Recognition
2008 Dominican Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Organizations of the Americas Recognition
2008 Letter of Recognition from Senator Mel Martinez
2008 Florida Salvation Army Recognition
2007 FMCRC Golden Eagle Award
2007 London International Awards for Human Trafficking Public Service Announcement
2006 Presented with Capitol American Flag and Certificate of Recognition by Congressman Mario Diaz Balart
2006 Naples Daily News Report/ The Advocate
2005 SW Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce International Businesswomen Honoree
2005 Hispanic Men and Women Distinction Award
2005 Certificate of Recognition from Brevard County Domestic Violence Task Force
2004 United States Attorney's Office Southern District Certificate of Appreciation
2004 Florida Department of Law Enforcement Letter of Appreciation
2004 A Toda Marcha Certificate of Recognition
2004 Letter of Support from Collier County Sheriff's Office, Don Hunter Sheriff
2004 Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Letter of Recognition
2004 Recognition for Human Trafficking Services to Victims by President of United States George W. Bush
2004 Recognition during Human Trafficking speech by Attorney General John Ashcroft
2004 Letter of Recognition by Florida United States Attorney Paul Perez
2002 Letter of Recognition from FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III
2002 Public Recognition during signing of T Visa by Attorney John Ashcroft
2001 Letter of Commendation Collier County Sheriff's Office reference Tecum Case