Laila Mickelwait received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science & International Relations from the University of California Riverside and a Master of Public Diplomacy degree from the Annenberg School of Communications and the Dornsife School of International Relations at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles in conjunction with the U.S. Department of State. She has spent time working with Habitat for Humanity, the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Federation of United Nations Associations Millennium Project in Washington D.C., and the National Journalism Center. During her time with the Millennium Project she participated in research and writing for the annual “State of the Future” report addressing the 15 global challenges which was featured in TIME magazine and endorsed by UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon. Featured in 98 newspapers across the globe was the section of the report Laila updated to include the issue of human trafficking and modern slavery.
In 2006 Laila became keenly aware of the need to practically serve those suffering from poverty, disease and injustice and she founded New Reality International (www.newrealityinternational.org) a multi-national charitable organization dedicated to providing physical, emotional and spiritual healing to women and children suffering from extreme poverty, disease and injustice worldwide. NRI has a special focus on combatting child slavery in Haiti through sustainable development; providing a safe haven for the most vulnerable children; and the rescue and rehabilitation of those currently in restevek child slavery.
In addition to serving as the President of NRI, in 2011 Laila also joined the team at Exodus Cry, (www.exoduscry.com) a non-profit organization that works both domestically and internationally to combat sex trafficking. Laila serves as Exodus Cry’s Director of Abolition, and has been engaging members of parliament and legislators around the world on legal reform issues that deal with the injustice of prostitution, pornography and sex trafficking.
Laila has presented and advocated for legislative reform at anti-trafficking conferences, the United Nations, and to policymakers all over the world, including Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, Italy, Korea, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and The United States. Laila’s writing and speaking has been published in outlets such as BBC News, The Washington Post, The Guardian, Charisma Magazine and many others.