Catalyst: someone who precipitates or causes an event to happen.   

At this year’s 12th Annual Polaris Star Awards Ceremony, Mikala Klein, One More Child’s Director of Anti-Trafficking Mobile Teams, was recognized with a Catalyst Award for her tireless leadership in anti-trafficking.  

The Polaris Star Awards Ceremony was hosted by Central Florida Human Trafficking Task Force. Klein serves as a board member on the task force, and many of its members wholeheartedly nominated Klein for her efforts advocating for human trafficking survivors.  

Tomas Lares, Founder and President of United Abolitionists and Co-founder and Chair of the Tri-county Alliance on Human Trafficking presented Klein with her award.  

“Mikala is a natural leader that causes change and action fueled by her passion to end human trafficking,” said Lares, when asked why Klein was honored with the award.  


Klein spent her entire professional life initiating and implementing anti-trafficking programs. However, her passion for preventing human trafficking and advocating for the vulnerable began in high school when she met a survivor during her sophomore year.   

“At the time, the survivor wasn’t aware that she was a victim of exploitation,” said Klein. “I walked through that journey with her as a friend, and that is what drew me to [anti-trafficking initiatives]. I realized she had very little support system once she got in so deep.”  

As an undergrad, Klein worked to provide services to women in illicit massage parlors and as a mental health worker for teenagers in a safe home. She then spent four years embedded with law enforcement, responding to calls regarding individuals who were actively involved in exploitation. Her work included offering direct care and support for survivors during case investigation and post-prosecution.   

Recent Work

Today Klein continues her work as the director of One More Child’s Anti-Trafficking Mobile Teams. The mobile teams under her guidance are four-person teams working to provide direct care to survivors. Each team typically includes an advocate, clinician, a peer mentor (lived-experience expert), and a team coordinator. By offering easy access to free, entry-level services for human trafficking survivors, Klein and her team are not only leading the way in preventative services, but also in promoting healing and ongoing support to survivors on their unique journeys to recovery.  

In addition to her work at One More Child, Klein’s ongoing efforts in the fight against human trafficking include training the Altamonte Police Department, collaborating with preventative organizations such as Samaritan Village, Paving the Way, the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation and United Abolitionists, and as a board member on the Central Florida Human Trafficking Task Force.  

What You Can Do to Help Now

Human trafficking is reported in all 50 states and across the world. You can be a catalyst in your own community. The biggest challenge anti-trafficking advocates like Mikala Klein face in the fight against human trafficking is misinformation. Sign up to host an Anti-Trafficking Event at your church and start a movement of awareness about human trafficking where you live today. 

Host an Anti-Trafficking Event


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