Oklahoma City, OK
2010 Director’s Community Leadership Awards
Oklahoma City resident Mark Elam became an advocate for stopping the cycle of human trafficking and subsequently traveled to India, South Asia, and the Philippines to actively work with organizations that rescue girls from sex trafficking.
Since then, he has formed an international organization—Angel Eyes—to help support, house, and restore victims of human trafficking. He also works to combat the problem in the United States, serving as a member of the FBI-led Oklahoma Human Trafficking Group (OHTG) and as the founder of the Oklahomans Against Trafficking of Humans.
Currently, Mr. Elam serves as the primary administrator of OHTG and has developed an extensive network of social service providers, medical providers, shelters, and victim advocates, many of whom joined OHTG as active members. Through his work, Mr. Elam maintains a victim-centered approach that is needed to successfully rescue and rehabilitate victims of trafficking.
In an effort to increase understanding of the issue, Mr. Elam has formed two community action teams, staffed by hundreds of volunteers, that actively work toward public awareness, victim advocacy, shelter, and foster care, The teams also work with Oklahoma state legislators to improve state laws and increase funded assistance to the recovery and rehabilitation of victims.
In recognition of his work, Mr. Elam was among a very select set of national experts invited by the Bureau of Justice Affairs to participate in a focus group intended to develop a new model for the government to combat human trafficking.