Melissa Martinez is currently a clinical social worker assigned to the Human Trafficking Response Unit (“HTRU”) at the New York County District Attorney’s Office. Melissa began her career in the Office in 2008 as a victim advocate providing support and case management to victims of all crimes including domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and kidnapping. In 2010, she began working directly with commercially sexually exploited and trafficked individuals. Inspired by this work she returned to school to a obtain her MSW. In 2014, District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. formed HTRU and assigned Melissa as the first-ever HTRU social worker. In this role, Melissa has pioneered the integration of social work and victim advocacy into the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. She has lectured on the topic of human trafficking and victim-centered prosecutions and has provided trainings to prosecutors, police, schools, service providers, and child protective services.
Melissa earned her BA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and her MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.