Human Trafficking Unit

Sasha Charls(left) Michelle Rucker(right)

Sasha Charls is a Deputy County Attorney with the Felony Prosecution Team. Currently, Sasha handles approximately 300 criminal cases. This includes all matters in the Page Justice Court as well as approximately 100 felony Superior Court cases. She prosecutes everything from Fishing Without a License to First Degree Murder.

Sasha is a graduate from the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law Class of 2019. In 2018, Sasha and her teammates were awarded the National Trial Competition Outstanding Achievement in Trial Advocacy Award from the Texas Young Lawyers Association and the American College of Trial Lawyers. From 2022-2023, Sasha was an Adjunct Faculty Professor at Northern Arizona University where she taught a Sociology course entitled “Crime, Law, and Society.” Additionally, Sasha teaches aspiring prosecutors about our work in A.P.A.A.C.’s Annual 1L Prosecutor Academy. In 2023, Sasha was nominated for the Arizona Prosecuting Attorney Advisory Council’s “Rising Star” Prosecutor of the Year award. She currently serves on the Arizona State Bar’s Criminal Jury Instructions Committee. When she is not in the office or raving about the law, Sasha can be found in a hot-yoga studio near you, playing board games and hunting Goodwill with her partner, or getting coffee with her friends.

Michelle Rucker is the Director of Human Trafficking Services at Northland Family Help Center and the Chair of the regional anti-trafficking coalition, the Flagstaff Initiative Against Trafficking (FIAT). Prior to this role, Michelle served as the Anti-Trafficking Program Director at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office for 8 years where she conducted training statewide and at national conferences, developed partnerships between the Arizona Attorney General’s Office and anti-trafficking organizations, and crafted policy recommendations to improve the lives of survivors and increase investment in anti-trafficking initiatives. Due to these efforts, Michelle received the Arizona Attorney General’s Office 2016 Rising Star award and subsequently, the Employee of the Year award in 2021. Following that position, she was recruited to serve as Director of Cities Empowered Against Sexual Exploitation (CEASE) Arizona where she worked closely with the City of Flagstaff on human trafficking training for law enforcement, first responders, and municipal staff. In this role, she advocated for policy opportunities to improve local response to exploitation, in addition to consulting on the revision of Flagstaff Police Department’s human trafficking undercover investigation policy and the use of the Human Exploitation and Trafficking Unit name in lieu of Vice. She has been instrumental in advocating for increased enforcement activities to recover victims, help them get out of the life safely, and hold offenders accountable.

In her role at Northland and as Chair of FIAT, Michelle is responsible for working with the community to identify and prioritize goals to better address exploitation crimes, construct a coordinated response to identified victims, provide training and technical assistance, and serve as the primary community resource on exploitation. At present, FIAT is working to build capacity for the region to respond to human trafficking crimes, which includes bringing additional resources, technology, advanced training, screening tools and protocols, and from there, supporting their implementation. A proud graduate of Northern Arizona University’s prestigious Anthropology program, Michelle has a deep appreciation for Northern Arizona and all the people, geography, and community spirit that sets Northern Arizona apart. She is currently completing her Master’s Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in gender-based violence through the University of Colorado-Denver. In January of 2024, she began a qualitative research study in partnership with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office to examine the state of the anti-trafficking movement in Arizona, which aims to identifying gaps, opportunities and priority recommendations for combatting human trafficking in Arizona.

Michelle can be reached at mrucker@northlandfamily.org.

Flagstaff Initiative Against Trafficking

The Flagstaff Initiative Against Trafficking (FIAT), founded in 2017, is the regional coalition tasked with establishing a coordinated, victim-centered response to human trafficking crimes and building capacity in Northern Arizona to effectively address sex and labor exploitation. Northland Family Help Center is the lead agency of FIAT and provides the primary expertise, operational support and strategic direction for the coalition. Northland Family Help Center is also the sole provider of shelter for victims and survivors of human trafficking in the Flagstaff area. In addition to having dedicated, gender-inclusive bed space for youth and adults who have experienced human trafficking, Northland Family Help Center provides trauma-informed, wrap-around services. These services include counseling, trauma therapy, case management, safety planning, lay legal advocacy, and connection to additional community services.

To contact Northland Family Help Center for support, shelter or services, please call: (928) 527-1900 (24/7, 365 days a year)