Director of Strategic Initiatives
Bekah Charleston is the Director of Strategic Initiatives at The Jensen Project where she manages projects, partnerships, and strategic initiatives that help fuel the end of sexual violence against women by identifying best practices and leveraging resources to raise the bar at a local and national level.
Through her role, Bekah has the honor of working alongside grantees to support and scale projects focused on research, housing, education, and economic empowerment. Prior to her work with The Jensen Project, Bekah served as the executive director of a Texas-based non-profit that provided emergency housing, advocacy, and customized care to sexually exploited individuals and their families. During her tenure, she managed daily operations, programming, and community outreach initiatives, along with the training and development of staff.
Throughout her career, Bekah has collaborated with a variety of national stakeholders including Demand Abolition, the National Criminal Justice Training Center, and the Department of Justice to develop and implement resources and training. She has been an active member of the Fort Worth and Dallas Human Trafficking Task Forces for several years and has been recognized for her critical work in the anti-trafficking field.
Bekah’s dedication to the empowerment of Survivors comes from her own lived experience. After surviving a decade of abuse and exploitation, Bekah forged a new path of healing and hope in 2013 when she founded Bekah Speaks Out to provide customized training and consultancy services to law enforcement, service providers, and community leaders alike. Through this platform, Bekah has continued to provide guidance and coaching for program development, strategic planning, and economic empowerment initiatives for survivors of trafficking.
A nationally respected speaker and contributor, her story has been featured in communities across the United States and at the national level by numerous media outlets including Deadline Crimes, Daystar, Dallas Morning News, and the New York Post. She was a 2019 speaker at TEDx, delivering a talk entitled “Tragedy to Triumph” that focused on the importance of resilience. In the same year, she boldly filed a federal lawsuit against the state of Nevada arguing that laws protecting legalized prostitution were in contradiction with established laws against human trafficking. More recently, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is utilizing Bekah’s experience of trafficking and imprisonment to advocate for the Trafficking Survivors Relief Act which will provide Survivors who were previously criminalized the opportunity to vacate or expunge federal convictions resulting from their victimization.
Following her dreams, Bekah proudly earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Texas Wesleyan University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2016, followed by a master’s in criminology from The University of Texas at Arlington in 2018. She is passionate about creating sustainable changes in public policy, perceptions about victimization, and the dignified portrayals of Survivors. Above all, she is the proud mother of an incredible little boy who she is raising to change the world one day at a time.