For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Lauren Holsombeck and I’m the Program Coordinator with the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking. While I’m new to this staff role, I’ve actually spent the last year with LCHT working on Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline as an intern. There is so much work that goes into running a hotline for individuals experiencing exploitation. But today I want to tell you about the immense gratitude I have for our volunteer advocate team, and how you can join us.
When I started my internship with LCHT in 2020, I discovered how the hotline is such a critical piece of the puzzle to end human trafficking in Colorado. With each survivor we connect to a resource, we chip away at the injustice caused by this human rights abuse. Operating a program that does that with integrity requires people who are passionate about making a difference. And when I learned that Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline is primarily operated by dozens of volunteer advocates, I was in awe. Now that I work full time in this role, I have that same appreciation every day.
It’s impossible to describe everything our volunteer advocate team does to foster hope for survivors in Colorado. To better understand their commitment, I completed the 30 hour advocate training during my internship. As an observer and participant, this group’s dedication blew me away. These folks took time away from family, jobs, and school to learn about human trafficking in our state and how to provide trauma-informed crisis support to those experiencing it. And they did it all during a time of great uncertainty with a global pandemic. Here’s how two of our veteran advocates describe their volunteer service:
“Serving as a hotline advocate has allowed me to directly contribute to ensuring there is a safe line of communication for survivors of human trafficking to seek assistance, support, and resources. It is incredibly rewarding to know that I am a part of an organization that actively works to tackle human trafficking by seamlessly connecting survivors to resources across the entire state of Colorado. Being a hotline advocate has opened my eyes to the complex ways that human trafficking impacts the people in our local communities and can often go overlooked”.– Nadiyah Suleiman, advocate since 2019
“Over the past two years, I have learned about how trauma affects people and how a word or sound can be triggering and put the survivors back in that situation. I have a better understanding of PTSD. I have learned to listen better and be empathetic and sensitive when I am having a conversation with someone who has been affected by traumatic events. I have come to know the strength and courage of survivors despite the setbacks they have faced and even for someone to reach out to the hotline it takes a lot of courage and strength.”Jay Subramaniam, advocate since 2019
The opportunity to support our amazing advocates is a huge reason why I joined LCHT as a full time staff member. Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline simply wouldn’t be around without these generous volunteers showing up every day to handle calls and texts with grace, compassion, and strength. And right now, we need more people who can give time to this critical service and help sustain the anti-trafficking movement.
Next month, we are offering another training for new volunteer advocates on August 7th, 8th, and 14th! Attendance is required each day from 9am to 5pm, and we will be facilitating the entire training virtually to accommodate people all across Colorado. If you’ve been asking yourself how you can have an impact on this issue, this opportunity is for you! Sign up here and feel free to contact me with any questions. Together we can end human trafficking.