Who We Are…About GRIT

The Greater Rockies Immersive Training on Exploitation and Trafficking (GRIT) is brought to you by Uprising, a Wyoming-based anti-trafficking nonprofit. By fusing together the latest research, trends, and field expertise coupled with innovative immersion training, GRIT aims to cultivate sustainable change in how criminal justice systems throughout the Rocky Mountain region react to, investigate, and prosecute exploitation-based crimes. GRIT accomplishes this by using a multidisciplinary approach that targets offenders while providing holistic support for the victims of these crimes.

Uprising isn’t just an organization, it is a movement.

We believe that exploitation of even one person is too much and we are working tirelessly to shine a light on how this is happening, even in Wyoming.

By strategically collaborating with other individuals, groups, and organizations, we can create more awareness surrounding human trafficking and exploitation, expand prevention and intervention efforts, and effectively reduce vulnerabilities that lead to exploitation. Together, we can take steps to ensure our communities are the safest possible. Learn more about Uprising’s mission and programs by visiting Uprisingwyo.org.

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Keep and eye out for 2023 registration details!

2022 Schedule

The Greater Rockies Immersive Training

2023 Schedule tba

7:30-8:30am
Registration and Check-In

8:30-8:45am
Welcome 

8:45-9:30am
Keynote from Elesondra DeRomano

9:30-11:15am
Session 1

11:15am-12:30pm
Lunch (Provided)

12:30-2:15pm
Session 2

2:30-4:15pm
Session 3

4:30-5:30pm
Survivor Panel featuring Alexandra Ford, Megan Lundstrom, Jessa Crisp, and Elesondra DeRomano

5:30-6:30pm
Happy Hour

8:00-9:45am
Session 4

10:00-11:45am
Session 5

11:45am-1:00pm
Lunch (Provided)

1:00-2:45pm
Session 6

3:00-4:30pm
Session 7

4:30-5:00pm
Mock Operation Briefing

6:00-10:00pm
Concert / Social Networking

9:00am-12:00pm
Mock Operation/Recovery Response

12:00-1:00pm
Lunch (Provided) 

1:00-4:00pm
Mock Operation/Recovery Response

4:00-4:45pm
Operation Debrief

4:45-5:00pm
Closing Remarks/Door Prize Drawings

2023 Venue

Ramkota Hotel & Conference Center
800 N Poplar St
Casper, WY 82601

Special room rate will be availble closer to the conference dates. Check back here for that announcement.

2022 Past SESSION DESCRIPTIONS

The Greater Rockies Immersive Training

2023 Sessions TBA

Understanding Victimology

Speaker:
Megan Lundstrom

Description:
The session will instruct attendees about the psychological coercion experienced by victims of trafficking. The presenter will discuss Stages of Change and control dynamics implemented by traffickers, as well as harmful practices such as criminalizing victims, and how to provide a supportive space that empowers survivors to learn self-advocacy skills on their journey to freedom.

Addressing the Real Culprit 

Speaker:
Angie Henderson

Description:
This session will address the overall ecosystem that contributes to the commercial sex trade, including all parties involved in sex trafficking: the victim, the sex buyer, and the trafficker. Dr. Henderson will present the results of five years’ of research with nearly 100 victims, survivors, and sex buyers from across the United States. Results from these investigations are presented with proven intervention & recovery strategies, paying particular attention to the needs of victims and survivors as well as the driving forces for both sex buyers and traffickers responsible for perpetuating harm. Participants will apply the session knowledge to three real-world trafficker-victim relationships, culminating in ways that each participant can utilize the information in their own jurisdictions, cities or states.

Engaging Survivors Through a Complex Trauma Lens

Speaker:
Jessa Crisp

Description:
The trauma that trafficking perpetrates onto its victims is complex and broad. Presented by a survivor of both sex and labor trafficking who is a mental health professional, this session is built around understanding the complex trauma victims of trafficking experience and the neuropsychological ways it may intersect within your spheres of influence. Participants will leave this session with a greater understanding surrounding the ways the complex trauma impacts victims of trafficking and tangible ways to respond to their unique needs in a trauma-informed way.

Proactive and Trauma-Informed Investigations

Speaker:
Joseph Scaramucci

Description:
This is designed to give multi-disciplinary team members an understanding of the interpersonal impact of trauma related to human trafficking, with a particular focus on how to develop a victim-centered and offender-focused investigation while ensuring the victims’ needs are met and reducing the need for victim cooperation during investigations and prosecutions of offenders. Topics discussed will be how trauma can affect investigations and how to approach these investigations with a victim-centered mindset and cross-discipline collaboration. In addition, the presenter will discuss how to conduct investigations with minimal resources.

Legal Considerations and Trial Prep: How to build a human trafficking case with minimal focus on victim involvement

Speaker:
David Weiss

Description:
This presentation will discuss how to conduct victim-centered, evidence-based investigations and prosecutions into human trafficking by covering all steps of the prosecution from initial tip through jury selection, discovery, and trial preparation, with a specific focus on how to prosecute cases without victim cooperation. The presentation will be guided by two case studies of successful prosecutions, discussing the origins of the cases, how a thorough and diligent investigation was key to obtaining necessary evidence and sustaining charges without victim testimony. Participants will learn the critical importance of multi-disciplinary collaboration and cross-discipline coordination to ensure a victim-centered approach, how to work together to cultivate a safe environment for a victim to work with law enforcement and how to advocate on behalf of the victim as a team.

Sparking Lasting Community Change

Speaker:
Alexandra Ford

Description:
In order to build a strategic and collaborative community response to human trafficking, agencies and individuals must identify the gaps and barriers to their response at a local and state level before designing and implementing solutions. In this session, participants will work with one another to analyze their current community practices, response protocols, resources available, and potential barriers to victim identification before discussing how to create a shift in cultural norms and professional practices to create safer communities. Through a facilitated discussion with the presenter, participants will discover promising practices, map customized solutions, and determine tangible action steps that empower each community member to find their lane and become an everyday hero.

Newton’s Law: Secondary Traumatic Stress

Speaker:
Melissa Kaiser

Description:
Law enforcement, service providers, and medical responders experience sustained exposure to child maltreatment, sexual assaults, and human trafficking. The resulting effects can be devastating and include substance abuse, increased rates of suicide, marital distress, depression and anxiety, and decreased physical wellness. The state of North Dakota, in collaboration with partner organizations, is developing a comprehensive strategy to address secondary traumatic stress (STS). This includes promoting policy change, developing supportive practices, and a system to provide access to specialized trauma providers. This session will primarily focus on learning more about our personal secondary trauma and gaining tools to assess personal STS to improve our wellbeing.

FAQs

Full refunds are available until April 1, 2022. Refund requests after this date will be considered on a case by case basis. 

**To request a refund, you must email GRIT@uprisingwyo.org and provide the attendee’s name, the purchaser’s name, the ticket order number and an address to send the check. If your billing address has changed since the time of purchase, please provide your updated address. Refunds will be issued by check within 30 days of request.

The GRIT Conference provides top-notch instruction from nationally-renowned experts who have spent months collaborating to develop an innovative training that integrates best practices for each discipline with a coordinated, trauma-informed team approach to victim-centered justice. Rather than choose from a traditional list of breakout sessions according to their topic, attendees will be assigned to multi-disciplinary teams throughout the event to learn, apply, and problem solve together as they move through each instructor’s class. Instructors will provide expertise and engagement opportunities in critical areas of a victim-centered response. 

Attendees will also have the opportunity to put the skills they have learned into practice with a hands-on exercise involving a mock investigative operation. 

The GRIT Conference is intentionally designed as a multi-disciplinary training where attendees from varying professions will learn how to effectively communicate, coordinate, and collaborate together to accomplish more favorable outcomes in cases of exploitation and trafficking.

This training was developed for professionals who work with victims/survivors and potential victims of sex and labor trafficking, such as prosecutors, judges, law enforcement, probation officers, detention staff, social services, child protective services, healthcare providers, victim advocates, advocacy groups, CAC staff, task force members, educators, and mental health practitioners. If your profession is not listed here and you would like to inquire regarding your eligibility to attend, please contact GRIT@uprisingwyo.org prior to registration.

A group rate will be available in 2023 for agencies registering three (3) or more individuals at the same time before March 1, 2023. Agencies may register up to five (5) attendees at this discounted rate through the link provided above. If your agency would like to register more than five attendees at the discounted rate, please contact GRIT@uprisingwyo.org for an invoice and further instructions.

The GRIT Conference is designed as a fully immersive, hands-on experience. All attendees are expected to join us for the duration of the event in order to receive the most value out of their registration. While we understand evolving priorities and unforeseen schedule conflicts, partial registration will not be offered at GRIT 2023.

Given the nature of the immersive and hands-on experience, The GRIT Conference will not be offered virtually.

We are striving to have CEU credits already approved and available for attendance.  Last year the following CEU’s were available:

WY, ID, MT, SD, ND, CO, NE POST were approved, WY, ID, MT CLE general credits were approved, and NASW social work credits were approved. 

If you are in a profession or a state where CEU credits have some very specific requirements for approval then please reach out to GRIT@uprisingwyo.org and we will work with you as best we can to make that a possibility.

GRIT 2023 will take place in Casper, Wyoming right off Interstate 25 in the central part of the State. Weather in early May can be unpredictable and all travelers should allow plenty of time if coming from out of the area.

Casper has an international airport that is serviced by direct flights on United Express to and from Denver International Airport. The largest nearby airport with more flight availability is Billings-Logan International Airport which is approximately a 4-hour drive or Denver International Airport which is approximately a 4-hour drive. Other nearby regional airports with limited flight availability are located in Gillette, and Sheridan, Wyoming respectively.

Nope! Welcome to Wyoming where casual/business casual attire is acceptable and the weather is unpredictable. The majority of the experience will take place indoors, however a portion of the experience may have attendees outside periodically (with potential for rain, snow, wind, or shine) so please check the weather in advance and come prepared. Layers are recommended.

Lunch will be provided on site daily, along with light refreshments and coffee in the morning and afternoon.

If you have a food allergy, please be sure to indicate that during your registration or any time prior to the event and we will work with the venue to address these restrictions. Although we will strive to have as many options available as possible, you may also indicate whether you are vegetarian or require a gluten-free diet and we will do our best to accommodate those requests.

Yes! Event staff will have multiple networking opportunities available. More information will be released closer to the event.

You, your new friends, and  The GRIT Conference staff and presenters will have the chance to connect during multiple, attendance-optional events during the conference in 2023. More details to come.

Yes, WiFi will be available throughout the venue and a password will be provided in your conference program.

The GRIT Conference is working alongside the staff at our training venue, The Ramkota to ensure that our conference attendees remain healthy and safe. With the hotel’s help, we will ensure sanitation procedures and precautionary measures are in place throughout the venue. Safety measures including mask requirements and social distancing will be dictated by the City of Casper and the State of Wyoming. GRIT 2023 will not be administering COVID-19 temperature checks, testing or mask mandates, unless otherwise specified by the local and state governments for the duration of the 2023. By completing the registration, all attendees assume the risks related to attending a public event and agree to not hold Uprising, event staff, and/or affiliates liable for illness or injury incurred as a result of attendance or travel to the event.

CDC Guidelines on COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html 

As we get closer to the GRIT 2023 dates, we will provide regular updates to registered attendees on any changes in our precautionary measures.

In the unlikely event we must cancel GRIT 2023 due to COVID-19, attendees will be given the option to request a full refund or transfer their registration to GRIT 2024. If an attendee becomes ill due to COVID-19, they may refer to the refund policy provided above.

2022 PAST Presenters

2023 PRESENTERS TBA

Joe Scaramucci

Joseph Scaramucci

Detective Scaramucci began his career in law enforcement in 2004, and was promoted to Detective in 2008 with the McLennan County Sheriff’s Office, investigating Crimes Against Persons.  Since initiating investigations in Human Trafficking in 2014, Detective Scaramucci has participated in John Suppression events, arresting over 460 sex buyers. Since 2015 he has conducted sting operations resulting in the arrest of approximately 145 individuals for Human Trafficking and related offenses, which lead to the identification of approximately 259 trafficking victims.

Dr. Angie Henderson

Dr. Angie Henderson is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Northern Colorado (UNCO) in Greeley, Colorado, and the co-founder and Lead Data Analyst at The Avery Center for Research & Services. With extensive expertise in commercial sexual exploitation, Dr. Henderson has published over 25 peer-reviewed journal articles, 4 book chapters, and two books. Her research on bottoms – the second-in-command in a sex trafficking operation – will be published later in 2021 in The Journal of Human Trafficking. She has also delivered over 50 professional presentations at academic conferences. In 2019, she was invited to present at the United Nations’ Commission on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria. She and partner Megan Lundstrom were featured in Elle magazine in August, 2021.

Megan Lundstrom

  • Megan Lundstrom is the Co-Founder and Director of Research at The Avery Center.

She has consulted for the Department of Homeland Security and Polaris Project.  She has created and delivered training and educational presentations in the academic community as well as a variety of organizations including the Commercial Sexual Exploitation Institute at Villanova University Law School.  Ms. Lundstrom’s research on cultic theory was internationally published through United Nations University and presented at the International Cultic Studies Association annual conference.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and a Master’s degree in Sociology from the University of Northern Colorado.

Jessa Crisp

Jessa Crisp

Jessa Crisp uses her childhood experience of severe abuse and trafficking to illustrate both the stark realities of trafficking and the truth that healing transformation is possible. 

After her escape and recovery process, Jessa went to school and holds an M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling as a step towards her dream of obtaining a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. 

In addition to making some of the best lattes in Colorado, Jessa is the co-founder and CEO of BridgeHope, an anti-trafficking non-profit within the Denver metro area and was recently appointed by the Governor of Colorado onto the Colorado Human Trafficking Council. Jessa inspires others through speaking engagements around the world, gives hope through mentoring other survivors of human trafficking, and provides high-quality training and consultation services to both NGOs and government agencies.

David Weiss

David Weiss

David is the Deputy Chief of the Human Trafficking Unit at the Kings County District Attorney’s Office and is also the law enforcement lead for the Department of Justice-funded Enhanced Collaborative Model, Brooklyn Human Trafficking Task Force. He has been investigating and prosecuting Human Trafficking cases since 2014. After starting his career in 2006, he previously handled cases involving all types of violent crime. In 2015, David led a multi-agency investigation and prosecution which resulted in the takedown and closure of two hotels and the arrests of the owners of for permitting prostitution at the hotels in Brooklyn and Queens. In 2017, David was cross-designated as a Special Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York to bring federal sex trafficking charges in a case involving the trafficking of several underage girls. David regularly presents on Human Trafficking investigations and prosecutions throughout NY State, around the United States and for international law enforcement officials through the US Department of State International Visitor’s Program, focusing on evidence-based prosecutions, prosecuting without a victim, and prosecuting in a true victim-centered manner.

Alexandra Ford

Alexandra Ford

Alexandra Ford started her anti-trafficking work at 11 years old. 10 years later, she was trafficked herself. After escaping her trafficker, Alexandra dedicated herself to learning everything she could about trauma, its effects, and aftereffects by focusing her studies on criminology, victimology, psychology and justice services. After working in the aftermath of trauma, both her own and others’, Alexandra recognized the power of prevention. By combining her natural gift for the gab with more than a decade of post-secondary education, Alexandra empowers community heros by starting conversations around difficult-to-talk-about subjects.

Melissa Kaiser

Melissa Kaiser is an independent consultant in the anti-human trafficking field. She was the first Human Trafficking Navigator hired for Eastern North Dakota, contracted with the North Dakota Human Trafficking Task Force. Melissa was employed with the Bureau of Criminal Investigations as a Victim/Witness Specialist, and assisted in creating the integrated victim services and law enforcement program in ND. Melissa graduated with a bachelor’s degree in social work from Minnesota State University Moorhead. She is a member of the North Dakota Human Trafficking Task Force and is the vice-chair of the Labor Trafficking Subcommittee.

Ele DeRomano

El is the Founder and Executive Director of S.T.A.R.S. (Standing Together Against Real Slavery) where she works tirelessly with at-risk women and girls from backgrounds of exploitation, domestic violence, rape, and drug abuse. Through her commitment to transparency coupled with an extraordinary lived experience, El creates an atmosphere of hope for women and children who are forgotten or abandoned by society. El’s own exposure to exploitation began with her parents. She was placed in the foster care system where she was introduced to the world of abuse at the age of four, later graduating to a world of drugs, jail, and prostitution by the time she was eleven. El’s insurmountable perseverance and dedication is an essential part of S.T.A.R.S. where she has created one-of-a-kind programs such as the Girls Crisis Prevention/Intervention Program and Outreach Program for Survivors of Prostitution, fostering love and trust to a sector of our society that is often lost and forgotten. In addition to her outreach, prevention, and advocacy work, El is a respected speaker and anti-trafficking consultant, carrying her message of hope and heart for justice into coalitions, task forces, conferences, and classrooms nationwide.

2023 Sponsor

GRIT 2023 has unique opportunities for you, your agency or business to share your resources with our regional audience. For more information about event sponsorship at any level, brand recognition (such as promotion at the annual Networking Happy Hour or other social events), and an easy way to connect with attendees, contact our conference coordinator. We would love to talk with you further about these options and how we may be able to customize any of the options provided below.

We also have another unique way to support our mission. Requests for scholarships from under-resourced professionals are fulfilled whenever possible through generous donations from individuals and businesses. All donations contributed towards registration scholarships are utilized for conference tickets only. We would be thrilled to have your partnership in supporting the attendance of any Wyoming professional.

If you or your organization would like to sponsor scholarships for GRIT attendance, you may do so with a donation of any amount here:

Donate

Please note that all donors will receive recognition in our program, but may also choose to remain anonymous. 

Gannett Peak

SPONSOR

$7500

  • Advertisement on our conference website and Facebook page

  • Full page name and/or logo in the conference program

  • Name and/or logo projected during the morning welcome, lunch program, and wrap-up session

  • Free vendor table

  • 10-15 Minute Time Slot to Address Attendees of the Conference

  • 12 tickets free admission to Keynote opening of the training and networking event

Register Now

Grand Teton

SPONSOR

$5000

  • Advertisement on our conference website and Facebook page

  • Full page name and/or logo in the conference program

  • Name and/or logo projected during the morning welcome, lunch program, and wrap-up session

  • Free vendor table

  • 12 tickets free admission to Keynote opening of the training and networking event

Register Now

Wind River

SPONSOR

$2500

  • Advertisement on our conference website and Facebook page

  • Half page name and/or logo in the conference program

  • Name and/or logo projected during the morning welcome, lunch program, and wrap-up session

  • Free vendor table

  • 9 tickets free admission to Keynote opening of the training and networking event

Register Now

Cloud Peak

SPONSOR

$1000

  • Advertisement on our conference website and Facebook page

  • Name and/or logo in the conference program

  • Name and/or logo projected during the morning welcome, lunch program, and wrap-up session

  • 6 tickets free admission to Keynote opening of the training and networking event

Register Now

Mt. Moran

SPONSOR

$500

  • Advertisement on our conference website and Facebook page

  • Name and/or logo in the conference program

  • Name and/or logo projected during the morning welcome, lunch program, and wrap-up session

  • 3 tickets free admission to Keynote opening of the training and networking event

Register Now

2023 Presenters

GRIT is a unique, immersive, hands-on training experience. Selected presenters collaborate in the months leading up to the event to design and develop a training curriculum that is cohesive and non-duplicative. Presenters typically spend 5-10 hours throughout the year meeting with each other and preparing their individual presentations. During the event, attendees are divided into multidisciplinary groups that migrate together from class to class throughout the event. Each instructor is responsible for teaching their own approved curriculum in full for each multidisciplinary cohort (up to six times total). Presenters also take part in coaching participants through a mock-case study.

If you are interested in being a presenter at GRIT, please contact Terri Markham below.