Tomas J. Lares
Tomas J. Lares is the Founder/Executive Director of Florida Abolitionist, Inc. and the Cofounder/Chairman of the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force, Inc.
Lares has over 25 years of human services experience at the local, state and national level, managing and starting non-profit and public advocacy initiatives. In 2004 Lares became aware of the crime of human trafficking. In 2005 he was instrumental in facilitating the first human trafficking seminar in Brevard County, FL. where over 100+ individuals and organizations attended. An outcome of this seminar was the formation of the East Coast Human Trafficking Task Force, Inc. (Formerly the Space Coast Rescue & Restore Coalition).
In 2007 Lares cofounded the Orlando Rescue and Restore Coalition to network law enforcement, civic groups, service providers, educational entities and community/faith based agencies to work together to create a safety net and make preparations as victims are identified, rescued and restored in Orlando. In 2009 Lares initiated a newly formed non-profit called, Florida Abolitionist, Inc. is an anti-human trafficking organization that networks and facilitates preventative and restorative solutions to ending modern-day slavery.
In January of 2009 Lares led the first Human Trafficking Awareness march in downtown Orlando and recently celebrated the 7th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day this January 24, 2015 at the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola in downtown Orlando, FL. In 2012 Lares also founded and is chairman of the National Weekend of Prayer to End Slavery & Trafficking and recently facilitated the 4th Annual weekend and was joined by multiple organizations representing faith and abolitionist movements.
In 2013 Lares cofounded the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force, Inc. whose mission is to provide human-rights based, victim centered community forum and mechanism to combat all aspects of human trafficking in the Greater Orlando area through collaboration and partnerships with key stakeholders. The task force has grown to include 16 subcommittees and 8 counties. Lares has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and has worked on graduate studies in the MSW program at UCF.
He is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Citizen’s Academy, was recently nominated as a finalist for the Orlando Sentinel, ‘Central Floridian of the Year Award’, has been chosen for the Orange County Bar Association 2015 ‘Liberty Bell’ award and a participant in the ‘Doing good GREAT’ project.