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Alezandra Russell      

Mother Teresa Award Winner, Anti-Trafficking Expert & Human Rights Activist

Alezandra Russell is an award winning Latina activist, author and Founder of Urban Light, a non-profit organization dedicated to actively empowering the lives of boys affected by human trafficking.

Russell was spurred to found Urban Light after a 2009 visit to Thailand where she witnessed firsthand the trafficking, violence, and exploitation of young boys in Chiang Mai. Upon returning home from her two-week trip, Russell sold her engagement and wedding rings to raise capital to launch the first non-profit of its kind in Thailand and much of the world.

To date, Urban Light has provided services to over 9,000 vulnerable young men and boys through an array of health, educational and emergency services via its Urban Light Youth Center in Chiang Mai. By providing desperately needed services that directly address the needs of young men and boys, Urban Light is empowering at-risk young males to live a life outside the grasp of exploitation and trafficking.

Despite the visibility Russell and her team have brought to the trials faced by young men who are victims of trafficking, Urban Light remains one of the only organizations in Thailand working specifically on behalf of boys who are so often overlooked, forgotten, and ignored in the global discussion of trafficking and exploitation.

Russell, who was forced to flee Thailand in June 2018 as a result of her work, continues to advocate from across the globe for the safety of trafficking survivors, migrants, refugees and marginalized populations.

Speech Topics


  • What about boys? Shifting the global anti-trafficking dialogue to also include boys & men. (English & Spanish)
  • Human Trafficking & Dating Apps: How to protect yourself & your loved ones. (English & Spanish)
  • How to avoid being catfished: A very real game played by traffickers and groomers. (English & Spanish)
  • How parents can protect their children from online groomers & predators. (English & Spanish)
  • White-saviorism within the anti-trafficking movement: how this does more harm than good.


  • Unlearning harmful Latinx cultural norms. (English & Spanish)
  • Ser niño: Redefining masculinity amongst Latinx men. (English & Spanish)
  • Let's chat: Ending the 'chancla culture' within the Latinx community (English & Spanish)
  • The power of building community amongst 1st gen Latinx students on campus. (English & Spanish)
  • "Antes de que": Challenging the cultural norms we grew up with as Latinx kids. (English & Spanish)
  • Let's chat: Colorism and gender inclusivity within the Latinx community. Vamos! (English & Spanish)
  • The Myth of the 'model minority'. Unpacking the unrealistic expectations placed on Latinx students. (English & Spanish)


  • Solidarity checklist: A comprehensive guide on how to be a better ally.
  • Latinx allyship: What does that look like?
  • What does performative allyship look like and how we can be better allies towards social justice.
  • Unpacking colorism within the Latinx community.


  • How it took fleeing Thailand & losing everything to finally find myself.
  • Tap into your inner activist. (English & Spanish)
  • When selling your engagement ring is the only option: How Alezandra started a non-profit across the world in Thailand.
  • How I found out what life was asking of me while standing in a red light district

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