Tomas J. Lares is the Founder/Executive Director of Florida Abolitionist, Inc. and the Co-founder/Chairman of the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force, Inc.
Lares has over 27 years of human services experience at the local, state and national level, managing and starting nonprofit 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.
In 2007, Lares co-founded the Orlando Rescue and Restore Coalition to network key stakeholders in the Greater Orlando region. In 2009, Lares initiated a newly formed non-profit called Florida Abolitionist, Inc. as an anti-human trafficking organization that rebuilds victims lives and prevents the crime from continuing.
In January of 2009, Lares led the first Human Trafficking Awareness march in downtown Orlando and is preparing to celebrate the 10th Annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day this January 2018 in Orlando, FL. In 2012, Lares co-founded the National Weekend of Prayer to End Slavery & Trafficking in recognition of a resolution passed by the U.S. Senate. In 2013, Lares co-founded the Greater Orlando Human Trafficking Task Force, Inc. whose mission is to provide a 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. Lares has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and has pursued graduate studies in the MSW program at the University of Central Florida.
Lares is also a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Citizen’s Academy, was nominated as a finalist for the Orlando Sentinel, ‘Central Floridian of the Year Award’, was chosen for the Orange County Bar Association 2015 ‘Liberty Bell’ award, shared a chapter with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the ‘Doing good GREAT ‘book, received a certification of appreciation in 2016 by former State Attorney Jeff Ashton State of Florida, Ninth Judicial Circuit for being an advocate for funding earmarked for human trafficking, recently joined U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, FL for a Senate Committee hearing on human trafficking in Washington D.C. and is the most referenced contributor in the Valencia College and University of Central Florida newly released text book, ‘Human Trafficking A Systemwide Public Safety and Community Approach’.