RISE Award

In the past decade, monumental changes have been made in the efforts against human trafficking. We have created the RISE Award in order to recognize outstanding leaders who have made these changes possible. Every year, we select three individuals- one executive, one survivor, & one service provider- who stand out for their character & commitment to the anti-trafficking field. Inspired by our core belief that we rise by lifting others, the RISE Award serves as a way to celebrate exceptional changemakers & elevate the far-reaching impact of survivor care.

Meet the 2022 RISE Award Recipients...

Fmr. Ambassador John Cotton Richmond

Previously, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed Ambassador Richmond and he served as the U.S. Ambassador to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons from 2018 to 2021. Serving in the nation’s highest-ranking position dedicated to human trafficking, he led U.S. foreign policy related to modern slavery and coordinated the U.S. government’s response to the crime.

Ambassador Richmond also served for over a decade as a federal prosecutor with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, where he prosecuted numerous survivor-centered labor and sex trafficking cases. He also lived in India for three years pioneering International Justice Mission’s slavery work. Richmond currently serves as a Partner at Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, where he focuses on the intersection between business and human rights.

Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher

Dr. Hatcher has worked as a civilian member of law enforcement for 15 years (currently on medical leave). In 2021, she became Co-founder of ALIVE (Alliance of Leadership & Innovation for Victims of Exploitation), a Houston-based organization with a national platform. In addition, she is a U.S. Representative of SPACE International (Survivors of Prostitution Calling for Enlightenment), a survivor organization representing 10 countries.

Dr. Hatcher is an expert on combating demand, sitting on numerous boards and facilitating trainings on trafficking & prostitution for various law enforcement groups including the F.B.I. and U.S. Department of Homeland Security. She has traveled the country speaking at various events and conferences, shedding light on the prevalent issue of trafficking and telling her own story as a survivor of sex trafficking & domestic violence.

Hal Cato

Hal serves as Thistle Farms’ fearless CEO from 2015-2022. Whether leading a board meeting, weighing in on product development, sharing resources with startup programs, or driving the mission in any number of other ways, he always keeps his eyes on the end goal: healing and employing survivors.

Hal is uniquely qualified to address both the mission and the business of Thistle Farms given his extensive experience in the nonprofit and private sector, which includes founding Hands on Nashville, The Youth Opportunity Center, The Bright Horizons Foundation for Children, Zeumo, as well as serving as CEO of Oasis Center from 2001–2011.

We are so excited to honor Fmr. Ambassador, John Cotton Richmond; survivor leader, Rev. Dr. Marian Hatcher; and Thistle Farms CEO, Mr. Hal Cato with NTSA's first annual RISE Award for their exemplary leadership & work to elevate this field!