Succession Planning Within Human Trafficking Task Forces

Multidisciplinary teams, like the ECM human trafficking task forces, can struggle with turnover, both of organizations and individuals, making succession planning a challenge. The IACP hosted a 60-minute panel discussion with former and current members of the Alabama Anti-Human Trafficking Alliance and the Eastern District of Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force (St. Louis). They shared how to prepare for the unexpected including task force members departing, new organizations joining, and ensuring there are policies and practices in place for avoiding gaps in knowledge or assistance for victims and survivors when task force members leave. Panelists highlight strategies to create consistency in victim services and response, even when turnover happens, assuring task forces are sustainable.

This webinar is part of the OVC funded IACP’s Enhanced Collaborative Model Human Trafficking Task Force Training Catalog.

After this webinar, participants will be better able to:
• Understand issues of sustainability and turnover within human trafficking task forces;
• Examine how two other task forces have addressed these issues; and
• Develop and implement their own task force succession plans.

• Chris Lim, Director of Research and Policy, Institute for Shelter Care (former Task Force Coordinator for Alabama Anti-Human Trafficking Alliance)
• Katie Beth McCarthy, Task Force Coordinator, Alabama Anti-Human Trafficking Alliance
• Anna Foster, Human Trafficking Task Force Coordinator, Eastern District of Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force
• Detective Sergeant Brian Shanika, Commander, Eastern District of Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force-Deputy Commander of Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
• Emily Rathjen, Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program Manager, International Institute of St. Louis
• Sabrina Fernandez, Program Manager, International Association of Chiefs of Police (Moderator)

For more information, contact IACP’s Anti-Human Trafficking Team at

This webinar and materials are produced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police under Cooperative Agreement #2020-VT-BX-K002, awarded by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this webinar are those of the contributors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Anna Foster

Human Trafficking Task Force Coordinator

Eastern District of Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force

Anna Foster (she/her), MSW, is a graduate of the Brown School of Social Work where she specialized in international social and economic development, human rights policy, and social work practice with immigrants and refugees. Anna has served as the Task Force Coordinator for the Eastern District of Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force since January 2022. In her two years with the Task Force, Anna has implemented updated protocols for the multidisciplinary team, emphasizing using a trauma-informed, victim-centered, and human rights-based approach to providing services to potential and identified victims of trafficking. Anna has trained over 600 medical personnel, first responders, service providers, law enforcement, and community members on human trafficking, highlighting the basic definitions and dynamics, common indicators, and how they have seen human trafficking impact their communities.

Chris Lim

Director of Research and Policy

Institute for Shelter Care

Chris Lim has more than 10 years of experience in the anti-human trafficking field working in law enforcement, academia, and with non-profit organizations. He has trained service providers and investigators on both sex and labor trafficking. Chris has conducted undercover and security operations, taught and researched human trafficking at the University of Alabama, and regularly speaks at conferences. Chris is the author of a book and is published in several academic journals and textbooks. His work has brought him to the Philippines, Cambodia, Jordan, Kenya, Malaysia, Taiwan, Jamaica, Thailand, and throughout the United States. He has a Master’s in Business Administration and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Public Policy at Liberty University. Chris served as the Coordinator for the Alabama Human Trafficking Task Force appointed by the Alabama Attorney General. He currently serves as the Director of Research and Policy for the Institute for Shelter Care.

Katie Beth McCarthy

Task Force Coordinator

Alabama Anti-Human Trafficking Alliance

Katie Beth McCarthy, JD, is the Coordinator for the Alabama Anti-Human Trafficking Alliance, a project of the Office of the Attorney General of Alabama. Katie Beth holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, and a Master of Science in Counseling, and a Doctor of Jurisprudence. She has worked in the victim services field for almost 20 years, serving victims of crime in multiple roles and capacities. As a former therapist for child abuse victims, a certified Victim Services Officer, and a Training Coordinator for Multidisciplinary teams across the state of Alabama, Katie Beth has also led three different agencies as an Executive Director: the Chester County Children’s Advocacy Center, the Alabama Network of Children’s Advocacy Centers, and One Place Family Justice Center in Montgomery, AL. She is certified in trauma-focused – cognitive behavioral therapy, as well as certified in community crisis response team by NOVA. Katie Beth has led numerous trainings in the Southeast – Vicarious Trauma & Building Resiliency, Guardian Ad Litem Training, Stewards of Children, and training on Alabama’s rape statutes, to name a few. She was named a Patriotic Employer in 2023 by the Secretary of Defense and was given the Angels in Adoption Congressional Award in 2007. Her family was named Family of the Year in the River Region by WSFA & the Family Guidance Center in 2020. Katie Beth and her husband Patrick live on Lake Jordan in Wetumpka, Alabama, with their four adopted kids.

Det. Sgt. Brian Shanika

Commander, Eastern District of Missouri Human Trafficking Task Force

Deputy Commander, Missouri Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force

Detective Sergeant Brian Shanika is a 29-year veteran of law enforcement with demonstrated experience in all aspects of the police function from patrol to administrative investigations/strategies. Sergeant Shanika has been a field training instructor, a criminal investigator, patrol supervisor, and finally a Detective Sergeant who most recently spent six years investigating employee misconduct under the Chief of Police, in the Bureau of Professional Standards. Detective Sergeant Shanika took over supervision of the Special Investigations Unit in April 2021, and commands the Eastern District of Missouri Human Trafficking Taskforce, covering 49 counties on the eastern side of the state. Detective Sergeant Shanika is the Deputy Commander of the Missouri Internet Crimes against Children Taskforce.

Emily Rathjen

Anti-Trafficking in Persons Program Manager

International Institute of St. Louis

Sabrina Fernandez

Program Manager, IACP

Sabrina Fernandez is the Anti-Human Trafficking Program Manager at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), overseeing multiple human trafficking training and technical assistance (TTA) initiatives for law enforcement, prosecutors, and multidisciplinary anti-human trafficking task forces across the U.S. For over 12 years, she has enhanced law enforcement’s response to human trafficking and collaborated directly with the field to build anti-trafficking programming and resources. 

Sabrina has been with the IACP since 2010, addressing policy and operational challenges facing law enforcement and developing tools and resources to assist law enforcement in investigating and prosecuting criminal activity, preventing and responding to victimization, and increasing community safety. Prior to the IACP, Sabrina worked at the University of Tennessee Law Enforcement Innovation Center and Tennessee Regional Community Policing Institute, the University of Tennessee's Social Work Office of Research and Public Service, and the Baltimore Office of Homeless Services, after spending four years at the beginning of her career as a social worker and social policy advocate. 
Sabrina’s 17-year law enforcement TTA portfolio includes: human trafficking, juvenile justice and child protection, school safety, school/justice collaborations, cybercrime, crime analysis, gang investigations, patrol and tactical operations, crime prevention, and crime-scene investigation. 

Sabrina has a Master of Arts in Public Policy from The Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, English and French from Drury University. She can be reached at 


Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available  |  59 minutes
Open to view video.  |   Closed captions available  |  59 minutes