Deborah Thomas is the supervising judge of the Michigan 3rd Circuit Veterans Treatment Court, serving on the bench for 25 years and an active member of Soroptimist International of Grosse Pointe's Human Trafficking Awareness Committee.

Judge Thomas promotes the concept of specialty courts in Michigan for veterans, drug abusers, and people with mental health problems.  The Veterans Treatment Court is designed to address the individual needs of each veteran assisting with housing, employment, mental and physical treatment, as well as substance abuse treatment based on the needs of the veteran.  Veterans are also assisted in obtaining collateral legal services. addressing family, traffic, and benefit issues. Judge Thomas is a proponent of establishing a Human Trafficking Survivors Treatment Court for victims of human trafficking based on the same model. 

Detective David Huffman is currently a member of the Warren Police Department Special Investigations Division. He has 18 years in law enforcement, including investigative experience in sex trafficking, crimes against persons, violent crimes, and narcotics. He is currently an instructor with the Anam Cara Group, who trains law enforcement in the identification and investigation of sex trafficking within the Metro Detroit area. The Anam Cara Group is the recipient of the 2019 Liberator Award from the SOAP Project.

  • Warren Police Department Detective
  • Special Operations Unit
  • Special Victims Division
  • Criminal Investigations Division
  • Special Investigations Division
  • Instructor: The Anam Cara Group

The Reality of Human Trafficking in Michigan - What You Need to Know!

The World of Human Trafficking - What You Need to Know!

Throughout the month of January, in recognition of National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Month, Soroptimist International of Grosse Pointe (SIGP) & Greater Macomb (SIGM) Human Trafficking Committees will provide weekly programs moderated by Kristi Kirschmann from The Joseph Project.

Kristi presents and discusses the most current information about human trafficking with community leaders combating this crime daily. Experts will discuss the reality that our communities face and provide useful insights to help end this growing industry.

SIGP encourages you to share and promote each program with your family, friends, and professional networks. The more we know, the safer our world will be for tomorrow's generations!

A special note of gratitude: 2020 was a year of cooperation and collaboration with many groups and individuals.  The Human Trafficking Committee would like to express our appreciation to each person who volunteered their time and energy to bring this informative program to you. Special recognition goes out to Kristi Kirschmann and Nate Knapper from The Joseph Project, whose time and talents were instrumental in this program's success. 

Have a safe 2021,

Laurie Jost & Karrie Blankenship

SIGP Human Trafficking Committee Chairs


Kristi Kirschmann is the COO of The Joseph Project. Kristi is passionate about bringing her experience leading major marketing and communication initiatives to the faith-based non-profit sector. She knows that marketing and communication can be leveraged powerfully to bring an organization’s vision of making an eternal impact to life. Kristi was VP, Brand Marketing Partner, at one of the world’s largest advertising agencies and led the marketing efforts for various multi-million dollar General Motors brands, including Cadillac. After taking some time off to raise her two boys, she served as the Marketing Director for EACH, a consortium of 650 churches from across Metro Detroit. She had the privilege of leading the development and implementation of the 2WordStory campaign that reached thousands of people in the region and around the world. Most recently, Kristi was the Marketing and Communication Director at Woodside Bible Church, a 14-campus multi-site church family that has over 11,000 people attending services across southeast Michigan every weekend. In her role, she also led marketing for Dream Centers of Michigan, The Lodge, and the Woodside Vision Foundation. Kristi is a Spartan at heart, having earned a BA in Communication from Michigan State University.

Nate Knapper is the Founder and CEO of The Joseph Project. As a federal law enforcement officer, he served on a Detroit-based anti-trafficking squad, where he investigated human trafficking and child exploitation matters. Nate formerly served as an Assistant Attorney General at the Michigan Department of Attorney General, where he worked as a member of the Michigan Commission on Human Trafficking. He is a member of the State Bar of California and the State Bar of Michigan. He is a graduate of Calvin College, Pepperdine Law School, and the Straus Dispute Resolution Institute.

January 4, 2021 Interview
January 11, 2021 Interview



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US National Human Trafficking Hotline link