AZFS Newtork banner ad with CTA to Subscribe

Loading Events

« All Events

Human Trafficking and the Travel Industry: Identify, Respond, Prevent

September 16, 2020 @ 11:00 am 12:00 pm MST

The GBTA Arizona Chapter welcomes all members and guests to join us on September 16th for a complimentary webinar.  Opening remarks given by Cindy McCain and respected panelists will discuss their perspective, current landscape of the issue, their work, the impacts of COVID-19, as well the connection of travel and human trafficking. moderated by Claire Sechler Merkel.

This meaningful webinar will include:

  • The role of the travel industry in combatting commercial sexual exploitation
  • Identification, Response and Prevention within the travel industry
  • Intersection of domestic and international travel in commercial sexual exploitation

This presentation has been approved for 1 GTP Credit

Cindy McCain – Opening Remarks


Cindy Hensley McCain has dedicated her life to improving the lives of those less fortunate both in the United States and around the world. Mrs. McCain serves as the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the McCain Institute, the Institute’s Human Trafficking Advisory Council and is the co-chair of the Arizona Human Trafficking Council.  Through her work with the McCain Institute, several partnerships have been formed with anti-trafficking organizations working on solving this problem in her home state of Arizona, nationally and around the world.

Claire Sechler Merkel, Senior Director, McCain Institute – Moderator


Claire Sechler Merkel is the Senior Director, Arizona Programs for the McCain Institute for International Leadership at Arizona State University. She served as director of friends and family and chief of staff to Mrs. Cindy McCain during the 2008 Presidential Election campaign, and worked for McCain for President 2000. Previously, she served as legislative assistant and special assistant to U.S. Senator John McCain and campaign coordinator for John McCain’s first U.S. Senate Campaign. Sechler Merkel was associate director in the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs for President George H.W. Bush, senior intergovernmental officer at the U.S. Department of Labor and regional director for Eastern and Central Europe at the International Republican Institute.

Sechler Merkel served as PAC director for Congressman Jim Kolbe, associate director of surrogates, Bush/Quayle ’92, coordinator of volunteers at the 1988 Republican National Convention and director of volunteers for the public liaison for the 1989 Presidential Inaugural. She founded Sechler Merkel International to provide strategic advice to companies and foundations and focused on projects in the United States, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Russia. Prior to joining the McCain Institute for International Leadership, she lived for two years in Malmo, Sweden with her husband and children. Sechler Merkel holds a degree in public policy, with distinction, from Stanford University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She now resides in Phoenix with her husband, David, and their two children.

Commander James Gallagher

Commander Jim Gallagher, Ed.D. is both a police officer and teacher, serving as a leader and scholar-practitioner deeply invested in contributing to the ongoing advancement of the profession of policing through the integration of evidence based practices and research to assist with strategic decision making, deployment and investigative strategies and service delivery to the community.

Jim is a Cop’s kid from a Cop family. His father, Jim Sr., had a total of 48 years of dedicated law enforcement service with the NYPD, Drug Enforcement Administration and the US Army Military Police and his family has or continues to serve in the NYPD, New York State Court Officers, Suffolk County (NY) Police Department and the Federal Air Marshals Service.  Jim is a 24-year veteran of Phoenix Police Department with assignments in Patrol, Gang Investigations, Undercover Vice and Narcotics, Tactical Support, Fugitive Apprehension, Crime Analysis & Research and Records Management and has held command assignments in Strategic Information, Patrol and Narcotics.  He is a graduate of the 245th Session of the FBI National Academy and serves as the Section 1 Representative to the Executive Board of the FBI National Academy Associates, an international law enforcement leadership network of over 17,000 members.

Jim has a BA in Political Science from Arizona State University, an M.Admin – Leadership from Northern Arizona University and an Ed.D in Organizational Leadership Studies from Northeastern University (MA).  He is a faculty associate in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice in the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions at Arizona State University teaching policing and criminal justice classes at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  As part of his commitment to joining scholarship and practice through use inspired research, he serves as the Associate Director for Research Innovation for the Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research in the School of Social Work, has a number of research articles published in peer reviewed journals and conducts ongoing research in several topics related to policing to include human and sex trafficking, police storytelling, sensemaking, leadership, culture and communication.

Debbie Johnson, Director of Arizona Office of Tourism


Debbie has spent over two decades working in the tourism industry in Arizona. She was appointed by Governor Doug Ducey as Director of the Arizona Office of Tourism in August 2015 to oversee the state’s tourism marketing strategy.  Prior to that, she served as President & CEO of the Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association and Valley Hotel & Resort Association.  

She serves on numerous local, state, and national boards and committees dedicated to the industry. She has been honored as Arizona’s Tourism Champion of the Year, the Phoenix Visitor Industry Champion and was inducted into the Arizona Tourism Hall of Fame in 2011. 

Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, Director ASU Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research

Dr. Roe-Sepowitz is an associate professor at Arizona State University (ASU) and is the Director of the ASU Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research (STIR). Dr. Roe-Sepowitz actively conducts research regarding sex and labor trafficking with specific focus on intervention studies for exiting, exploration of the sex traffickers regarding technique and characteristics, and evaluating deterrence activities for sex buyers. Dr. Roe-Sepowitz is an appointed member of the City of Phoenix Human Trafficking Task Force and the Arizona Governor’s Human Trafficking Council.

**Please Note:  Once you register for this webinar, you will receive a separate email, on September 15th, with the link for this virtual meeting

Information from the AZBTA website.