Trauma, Trafficking and Public Speaking with Russell Strand

Nancy Hardcastle and Russell Strand for

Nancy Hardcastle and Russell Strand for

Russell Strand is easily one of the best public speakers I've ever seen. And he's not simply an expert in the field of human trafficking; he has also played a significant role in creating and educating law enforcement and service providers about better ways to respond to victims. He provides some fascinating insight on effective presentations, trauma and consent, but **TRIGGER WARNING** we do discuss specific examples of sexual assault, rape and child abuse in this interview.

Russell begins by explaining why he sometimes jumps on top of a table while he’s giving a presentation (no joke!), and his perspective on what it takes to be a truly effective public speaker.

Then we move on to a discussion of the complexities of sex trafficking and related issues, including:

  • the role that trauma plays in the lives of victims.  Russell explains why the general public often has difficulty understanding the behavior of a person being trafficked, and why they are often seen as a criminal rather than a victim.

  • rape culture, and how various aspects of our culture, such as certain music and movies, as well as pornography, have the effect of desensitizing us to dangerous and violent behavior.  

  • consent, how it’s defined and how the criminal justice system addresses this issue. We talk about why this is another complex issue, especially in long term child abuse and human trafficking cases.

Returning to the topic of public speaking, Russell talks about creating and delivering presentations as an “an art form”.  He also describes how he connects with and reads his audience and then responds accordingly.

Russell concludes with a strong call to action, encouraging us to find new ways of approaching these issues to bring about true change, and the importance of being transparent in the process.

If you’d like to know more about Russell’s work or get in touch with him for a presentation or otherwise, he can be reached at:



  • on Facebook at @strandsquared