About NTSA

Our Mission

The National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance is a network of service providers committed to enhancing services and increasing access to care for survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation.


Human trafficking is the fastest-growing criminal industry in the world, with up to 300,000 people at risk of being trafficked in the US alone. This problem generates a desperate need for thousands of survivors to find a safe place where they can heal and experience high quality, trauma-informed care.


As the response to human trafficking in America continues to increase, the need for service providers to collaborate and stay connected is more important than ever. NTSA is working to ensure that every survivor has access to the care they need via three sustainable initiatives…

We equip programs with the training resources to learn and grow in  a collaborative national community.

We connect survivors from anywhere in the US with appropriate residential shelters efficiently and with dignity.

We provide accountability to ensure survivors receive quality care from healthy, trauma-informed organizations.


National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance was born out of a need to ensure every survivor has access to the best quality of care and every service provider feels connected to a support system. In 2016, twenty-two agencies from across the country gathered outside of Chicago, IL, along with a host of individuals who aspired to get involved in survivor care. Represented were survivor allies, survivors of the sex trade, and survivors of other forms of exploitation. It was an incredible gathering of dedicated individuals, each of whom had accepted the call to step into the world of darkness and evil known as human trafficking.

Soon after, it became clear that there was eagerness to formalize an alliance of service providers. In January of 2018, a founding steering committee was established that consisted of eight agencies from across the country: The WellHouse (AL), Gracehaven (OH), Engedi (WA), Rest (WA), North Star Initiative (PA), Refuge for Women (KY), Truth for Women (PA), and The Samaritan Women (MD). Then in October of 2018, National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance (NTSA) officially launched to the public. At that time, some members of the founding steering committee became NTSA board members. 

The formation of NTSA happened organically. It was developed out of a sincere desire to learn from one another so that we could each improve our services, as well as grow together as an anti-trafficking field. There was a great determination to sharpen each other so that all involved could provide the best quality care to survivors of trafficking. There was an understanding that the best way to do that is by working collaboratively – to rise by lifting others.


We value your trust & make sure your generosity counts… NTSA strives for the highest level of financial integrity. When you give, every dollar has impact.

Financial Accountability


Melissa Yao

Executive Director
Melissa is the Executive Director of the National Trafficking Sheltered Alliance. Melissa has her master’s degree in International Development from Eastern University and has worked in the anti-trafficking field for over ten years at the national level...
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Rachel Karper

Director of Programs & Operations
Rachel collaborates with leadership in the development of strategic goals and long-term operational plans, while overseeing the Alliance Referral System (ARS), Accreditation, Membership and Operations departments.

Alexis Byers

Referral Program Manager
Alexis manages the enhancement, facilitation and analysis of the Alliance Referral System (ARS) as well as the development and future launch of NTSA's referral app to assist survivors seeking long-term residential placement.

Anna Hagenbuch

Membership Program Manager
Anna acts as the main point of contact for the Membership program at NTSA, enhancing customer experience for all new and current members. She builds out what NTSA offers and cultivates new partners and opportunities for shelters across the nation.

Callie Fore

Grant Manager
Callie is responsible for researching, applying to, and tracking grants for NTSA, as well as reporting success and impact back to the grant funders that make our work possible.

Deb Vela

Accounting Operations Manager
Deb supports the growth and sustainability of NTSA through best practice bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, and general operations while also supporting NTSA’s HR needs and ensuring the highest standards of financial accountability. 



Board Chair


Board Vice Chair


Board Treasurer


Board Secretary

Who are our members?​

Check out which agencies are currently part of the Alliance network.

Are you ready to make a difference with us?


Is NTSA a Christian organization?

The NTSA is a faith-based, ecumenical Christian agency. The NTSA was originally built by a steering committee of Christian service providers, motivated by their faith to create a supportive community that can enhance the quality of care for survivors of human trafficking.

While the NTSA leadership and Board of Directors agree to the NTSA statement of faith, employment and membership are open to all individuals and organizations, no matter their faith background.

Similarly, NTSA is working to ensure that EVERY survivor has access to quality care - regardless of one's religious beliefs, race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or disability.

How is NTSA survivor-informed?

In order to ensure NTSA programs and policies are survivor-informed, most particularly related to our Referral System and Accreditation Program, we commit to having any draft policies or forms reviewed by a minimum of 10 stakeholders, with a requirement that of those stakeholders, there must be multiple survivors/lived-experience experts (LEE) included. Know that when you use our referral form or read one of the commentaries for our Essential Standards, that these have been vetted by those who have experienced trauma firsthand.

If you have any questions about how we ensure this or if you would like to offer your own feedback, please feel free to contact us.

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