Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking – Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking https://combathumantrafficking.org Creating an informed social change movement to end human trafficking. Wed, 01 Apr 2020 14:16:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 https://combathumantrafficking.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/cropped-LCHT-Logo_Vimeo-1-32x32.jpg Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking – Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking https://combathumantrafficking.org 32 32 Update on COVID-19 and LCHT Operations https://combathumantrafficking.org/2020/03/covid-19/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2020/03/covid-19/#respond Fri, 13 Mar 2020 22:31:07 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=5830 To our supporters, partners, and friends: We are reaching out today in the midst of a challenging few days for our country and the global community in regards to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. First and foremost, we are thinking about those of you who have a direct role in public

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Message From The Executive Director
This update from LCHT’s Executive Director Amanda Finger was released on March 13, 2020 and updated on April 1, 2020. Any future changes to our operations response will be reflected in this post.

To our supporters, partners, and friends:

We are reaching out today in the midst of a challenging few days for our country and the global community in regards to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic. First and foremost, we are thinking about those of you who have a direct role in public health efforts. Thank you for being on the frontlines of prevention and care related to the coronavirus.

LCHT is committed to making responsible choices in the days and weeks ahead that will best support our resilient community. Regarding our operations and anti-trafficking efforts at LCHT, we want to share a few things:

  • Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline will continue to operate normally during this time. Because our advocates support calls and texts remotely, we are able to process tips, make referrals, and help survivors in the same way. You can Call 866-455-5075 or Text 720-999-9724.
  • In-person meetings at our offices in Denver are cancelled at this time and until further notice. Beginning on March 13th, our staff shifted to a modified remote-work schedule. Staff members are still available to connect on the phone or virtually as their work schedules allow.
  • Scheduled trainings in April are being cancelled or rescheduled at this time. The safety and well-being of attendees at all of our trainings is paramount. Our Research and Training Manager will contact all organizers who this effects to determine appropriate next steps. Virtual trainings may be available. 
  • We are adapting our Leadership Development Program to support our current interns remotely as they complete their academic requirements. We anticipate being able to lead our summer and fall cohorts as scheduled. If you have additional questions about this program, contact Ashley Hunt.

Beyond these updates, we are continuing to follow guidance issued by state and local public health officials, as well as the recommendations outlined in the CDC’s Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers. We encourage you to do the same. We each have an important role to play as we work to “flatten the curve” in Colorado and around the U.S.

Finally, we want to acknowledge the stress and anxiety moments like this can produce. We hope you will find ways to talk with loved ones, be kind to yourself, and support those in your community who are struggling. Thank you for being a partner in our anti-trafficking efforts, which will carry on! 

In solidarity,  

Amanda Finger
Executive Director

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The Intersection of Labor Exploitation and Human Trafficking https://combathumantrafficking.org/2020/01/labor-trafficking/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2020/01/labor-trafficking/#respond Wed, 29 Jan 2020 19:24:51 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=5377 Some misconceptions about human trafficking are easy to correct: No, human trafficking doesn’t happen only in foreign countries. Yes, U.S citizens can also be victims of trafficking. But there are other misunderstandings that can only be clarified through nuanced discussion and an understanding of the gray areas that exist with

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Guest Post: Colorado Legal Services
Today’s blog post takes a closer look at the nuances of labor exploitation and human trafficking. It is written by our partners at Colorado Legal Services. Colorado Legal Services provides meaningful access to high quality, civil legal services in the pursuit of justice for low-income persons and vulnerable populations.

Some misconceptions about human trafficking are easy to correct: No, human trafficking doesn’t happen only in foreign countries. Yes, U.S citizens can also be victims of trafficking. But there are other misunderstandings that can only be clarified through nuanced discussion and an understanding of the gray areas that exist with such a broadly defined crime. So what are the differences between labor exploitation, labor violations, and human trafficking?

Labor Exploitation vs. Labor Violations

Labor exploitation, the broadest term, occurs when an employer is unfairly benefitting from their employee’s work. Since fairness is subjective, different people may have different definitions of what constitutes exploitation. Labor exploitation is not a legal term—in fact, not all forms of labor exploitation are illegal. 

“Labor violations,” however, is a legal term, used when employers violate federal, state, or municipal laws related to worker treatment, workplace safety, or recordkeeping requirements. Labor violations could include paying wages below the required minimum wage, nonpayment of overtime wages, illegal deductions from workers’ pay, and the misclassification of workers for tax purposes. However, overlapping legislation excludes workers in certain industries, so not everyone is entitled to the same standards or protections. 

 Organizers for the Committee on Rights and Compensation at the University of Colorado in 2019. Paul Aiken / Boulder Daily Camera Staff Photographer

All labor violations are labor exploitation, but not all labor exploitation is a labor violation. For example, in early 2019, CU graduate workers (master’s and PhD students employed by the university, usually to teach undergrad classes) organized to increase wages and reduce student fees. They protested that many graduate workers could not live healthy and fulfilling lives with their meager salaries; much of their after-tax wages were returning to the school through tuition and student fees. These working students felt they were being taken advantage of—that their labor was being exploited. They protested these conditions by writing op-eds, staging walk outs, and circulating petitions, not by going to law enforcement or the courts. That’s because CU seemingly obeyed all federal and state laws when hiring and managing their graduate workers: no labor violations in sight. 

Force, Fraud, and Coercion: Key to Defining Human Trafficking

Simply defined, human trafficking is the exploitation of an individual for the purposes of compelling their labor by the use of force, fraud, and coercion. Human trafficking clearly falls under the exploitation umbrella, but what distinguishes it from other labor violations? 

  • Compelled labor: Labor laws assume that the worker has voluntarily consented to taking a job, and that the worker is free to leave at any time. However, in trafficking situations, this often isn’t the case. 
  • Force, fraud, and coercion: Employers/traffickers use these means to exert a high level of control over their victims, a key characteristic of any trafficking situation. Trafficking victims may experience changing work conditions, restrictions on their movement, improper debt, or the withholding of identity or travel documents, negating the consent they gave when taking the job and making it even more difficult for them to escape the situation.
  • Totality of the circumstances: While labor violations may not always be cut and dry, it is often clear which facts need to be investigated. In contrast, an assessment of human trafficking requires a more macro-level approach, to see how all of the variables combine into forced or coerced labor. 

A Hypothetical Example: Anna

These distinctions can be blurry when human trafficking and other labor violations overlap. Let’s take a hypothetical example: Anna is paid $500 a week to clean hotel rooms. According to her contract, she is assigned 12 rooms each night. On a good night, she can finish in six hours, but if she is assigned a particularly messy room or one of her coworkers needs help, it can take up to nine hours. She always clocks out at 5:30, but she must keep working until she has finished all 12 rooms. The owner praises her as a hard worker, often using it as an excuse to hug her or stroke her hair in a way that makes her uncomfortable. She puts up with it because it took her months to find a job near her home that would allow her to be home with her children during the day. 

The hypothetical example of Anna working at a hotel highlights clear labor violations. But does it fit the definition of human trafficking?

The situation doesn’t sound fair, so that checks the box for labor exploitation. As for labor violations, there are clearly some sexual harassment issues, and there are likely minimum wage and overtime violations, since Fatima is paid the same amount each week regardless of hours worked. But these facts don’t appear to raise red flags for human trafficking, because it seems she is voluntarily working, free to leave at any time without risk of harm to herself or others. 

But perhaps circumstances change over the next six months. Say Anna breaks up with her long-term partner. The owner lets her move into one of the hotel’s rooms with her children, but as soon as they are settled, he tells her the arrangement is illegal, and says he will report her to the police if she tells anyone about it. He deducts rent payments from her check, often leaving her with a sum that barely covers the cost of living. She feels she is on the clock 24/7, with the managers often stopping by to give her extra work during her off. Even if she didn’t fear the legal consequences of reporting her boss, she can’t save up for a security deposit and doesn’t know where else she and her children could live. Because she is now feeling less able to leave the job, Anna’s situation is starting to look more like human trafficking. 

Human trafficking Hotline

The distinction between labor violations and human trafficking is important because different legal remedies and social services are available under different laws. However, since both human trafficking and labor violations fall under the broader umbrella of labor exploitation, tackling that larger problem can reduce all abuses.  If you believe that you or someone you know is being exploited for sex or labor, contact Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline today.

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Ashley Hunt: A Welcome Interview https://combathumantrafficking.org/2020/01/ashley-hunt-welcome/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2020/01/ashley-hunt-welcome/#comments Thu, 16 Jan 2020 23:05:26 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=4769 Welcome to The Lab!  We’re excited to have you as our new Leadership and Engagement Manager. Tell us what drew you to this position and anti-trafficking work in general? Thank you! I am so excited to be part of this team and humbled to be doing this work alongside you

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Welcome to LCHT!
This month we’re proud to welcome Ashley Hunt to the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking as our newest staff member! Ashley is joining The Lab as a Leadership and Engagement Manager and will support our Leadership Development Program as well as the development of anti-trafficking partnerships around Colorado. We asked Ashley to share a little bit more about her background and how she ended up with LCHT. 

Welcome to The Lab!  We’re excited to have you as our new Leadership and Engagement Manager. Tell us what drew you to this position and anti-trafficking work in general?

Thank you! I am so excited to be part of this team and humbled to be doing this work alongside you all! I was drawn to this position because the role is excellently aligned to my skill sets, experience, and passions. Curriculum development and facilitation, program management, building and sustaining partnerships, mentoring emerging leaders and change makers  – what a serendipitous coalescing! It was also immediately clear to me that my values and the ways I move through the world and understand this work aligned with LCHT values. LCHT intentionally applys a social justice framework to addressing the root causes of human trafficking, honors lived experiences of survivors and folx in the movement, and grounds their strategies in participatory action research. All of these aspects drew me to the position and LCHT in general. 

Trauma-informed care and centering survivors’ experiences are absolutely critical in doing this work. We have to keep these things at the forefront in order to do this work with integrity and intention.

I have a passion and commitment to social justice and the anti-violence movement. My history in sexual assault victim advocacy and the violence prevention field has connected me to anti-trafficking for years as a parallel issue. So while there is a familiarity in navigating the scope and complexity of similar work, human trafficking will be a new and challenging area for me to focus on. This movement runs alongside other human rights and social justice movements I’ve been a part of and is work I have immense passion for. I cannot wait to learn the landscape of the anti-trafficking movement in Colorado and partner with the folx that have been working to end sex and labor trafficking state wide.

You’ve had a lot of professional experience as a victim advocate and prevention educator, both within community-based sexual assault programs and higher education settings. How do you think that your background will support your work at LCHT?

My background as a victim advocate and prevention educator helps me bring a trauma-informed lens and strong commitment to centering the experiences of survivors in the work. I also work from an anti-oppression framework with special attention to the disproportionate impact of violence on folx with marginalized identities. I hope my experience with crisis intervention and doing hotline advocacy will support LCHT’s work operating Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline. I also have a history of building partnerships with healthcare practitioners, law enforcement, service providers, and campus communities. I’ve built coalitions with these folx to do the work – very similar to how the anti-trafficking movement conceptualizes their partnerships.

In terms of my background in prevention education, I bring curriculum development and facilitation skills and the ability to navigate difficult conversations and content, often in a space where there are different values and experiences that are bringing people to the work. There are myriad skill sets I bring from my time as an advocate and violence prevention educator that will support my work at LCHT and I am so grateful for the opportunity to apply and refine these skills with you all. 

Ashley Hunt visiting Colorado outside of Estes Park with her brothers in 2017.

When we met, you also spoke a lot about survivor advocacy and trauma-informed care. What makes those such important ingredients in community-based work?

Trauma-informed care and centering survivors’ experiences are absolutely critical in doing this work. We have to keep these things at the forefront in order to do this work with integrity and intention. LCHT is grounded in the lived experiences of the folx most impacted by human trafficking – the survivors and their support systems. You all honor and create spaces for survivors to lead and inform this work, if they choose to do so. As we create and maintain these spaces, we have to continue to increase our capacity to ensure they are trauma-informed to decrease the likelihood of re-traumatization.

If our programs, language, and vision for ending human trafficking are not inclusive of survivor experiences or are not attentive to how trauma can impact survivors in myriad ways, then they won’t create lasting change. Similarly, all of us as staff and the folx that come to our Leadership Development Program and our Hotline volunteers bring in their own diverse experiences of harm or oppression or trauma. We must hold these experiences with trauma and oppression sacred, and build space for folx doing this work to feel held and supported and sustained. 

A big part of your focus at LCHT will be on our Leadership Development Program. Why do you think investing in future human rights leaders matters and what are you most excited to support in this area in the months ahead?

Investing in future human rights leaders matters because investing in a community of people who are passionate about this issue is a big way we sustain the movement. In our field, we talk a lot about self care and burnout and compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma  – and what I love about the Leadership Development Program is that we are not just building the knowledge and skills of an individual who wants to affect change, we are creating a community of care, where we can sustain one another. 

Also, there is a certain re-energizing and renewal when I work with passionate folx that want to spend their time and energy investing in and growing in the work. One of my most cherished experiences was serving as an advisor for the feminist activist student organization PAVE – Promoting Awareness, Victim Empowerment, and seeing those students grow into and claim their power in the anti-violence movement.

Mentorship has a powerful ripple effect. These emerging leaders will leave their time with LCHT and go out into the world to do great things. Whether or not they continue to work directly within anti-trafficking, they will take their trauma-informed lens, attention to root causes of human rights violations, and confidence in their ability to affect change. And then they can apply all of that to spaces and places we would not have otherwise been able to reach. 

I am most excited to support resiliency building, because this work can be incredibly challenging. It can fatigue us and re-traumatize us and wear us down – and for folx that want to do work in human rights and social justice fields, developing strategies and skills around resiliency is key. That includes setting boundaries and building a community of care that will help you contribute to positive social change for the long term. 

You’ve worked on a variety of social change issues- and now you’re about to step into anti-trafficking. What keeps you motivated in this kind of work?

I’ve always had fierce internal ambition and motivation and drive – aka my fire and passion. It has propelled me forward in this kind of work. But I’ve also experienced burnout, and it was often because I over-committed and leaned solely on that fierce ambition. I have realized that what really sustains and motivates me are the small victories. Watching folx I mentor achieve progress. Finding moments to connect with colleagues around our human-ness or cats or Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Really, my fire and passion and ambition (and wildly inappropriate amounts of coffee) are still essential, but some of those other ingredients are what really keep me sustained in this profession.

Finally… you are also new to Colorado! What’s one thing you’re hoping to do this year in your new home state?

Just one thing?! Is hiking in the mountains too cliche? (Humor me, I’m from the cornfields of the Midwest). So, absolutely hiking, but also exploring the city and uncovering new favorite book shops, coffee shops, thrift stores, and brunch places to become a regular at and really just settle in and plant my roots in Denver. 

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Who runs the world? (Hotline) Volunteers! https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/12/volunteers/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/12/volunteers/#respond Tue, 17 Dec 2019 21:49:51 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=4099 When I first joined the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) staff this June, I was asked what I found most compelling about the role and this organizations work. It was an easy question to answer. Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and

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When I first joined the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) staff this June, I was asked what I found most compelling about the role and this organizations work. It was an easy question to answer. Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is backed entirely by volunteer advocates.

Staffing a 24/7 hotline that responds to both calls and texts for the duration of a year requires coverage of 988 unique shifts totaling 13,140 annual hours of service

To truly put their hard work and dedication into perspective, it is important to acknowledge that staffing a 24/7 hotline that responds to both calls and texts for the duration of a year requires coverage of 988 unique shifts totaling 13,140 annual hours of service. This year alone, it required answering close to 600 calls and texts from survivors, service providers, and community members. To prepare for their roles as advocates they complete 50 hours of training and engage in an additional 12 hours of continuing education each year.

LCHT Program Coordinator Brittany Austin (left) with a group of volunteer advocates for Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline in 2019

Commitment to a Complex Human Rights Issue

As you read those numbers, you might be wondering about the size of our volunteer advocate team. Most wouldn’t guess that our small, but mighty team amounts only to 50 of the most phenomenal humans I know. They are courageous pioneers who have made a conscious decision to turn towards a complex human rights issue and be a part of the solution. They show up for human trafficking by taking time away from their work, studies, families and personal lives. They answer calls while grocery shopping, while driving on I-70, in the midst of celebrating family birthdays, and in the middle of the night. 

These special volunteers align with our vision to end to human trafficking in so many ways! When they aren’t on-call, many advocates extend their service in other meaningful ways including:

  • Collaborating on training curriculum
  • Participating in our Leadership Development Program
  • Working with our hotline data
  • Fundraising within their own communities
  • Supporting new advocates
  • Offering yoga to the advocate team as a means of self-care

2019 Spirit of Service Awards

This month at our annual Holiday Toast, we had the chance to honor two of our hotline advocates with the Spirit of Service Award. The Spirit of Service Award is given to individuals who have made outstanding volunteer contributions to anti-trafficking. Both of this year’s awardees are amazing leaders who have made our work stronger, particularly through their service to the hotline. 

Nhu-Minh Le

Nhu-Minh Le is a Victim Assistance Director at the Asian Pacific Development Center. She first came to the US as a refugee with her family when she was 5 years old. Nhu-Minh holds a fellowship through the Human Trafficking Leadership Academy, is a member of the Denver Immigrant and Refugee Commission, and was appointed to the Governor’s Colorado Human Trafficking Council. She has served as a volunteer advocate for Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline for several years and is joining our backup manager team in 2020. Based on our records, Nhu-Minh has actually supported the second highest number of calls of any advocate in the history of the hotline.

Jen Jachimiec

Jen Jachimiec is a pediatric nurse educator who teaches many groups of healthcare providers about child abuse and human trafficking. She has been involved with LCHT since 2016, and has served as a volunteer hotline advocate since 2017, and volunteer backup manager since earlier this year. Jen believes it is essential for healthcare providers to recognize signs of abuse and trafficking in children, since many kids who visit clinics and hospitals may be in the midst of exploitation. She was also a key partner in helping LCHT design a Colorado-specific training module for healthcare professionals. 


I asked Nhu Minh and Jen to share a little bit about their time with LCHT and their commitment to end human trafficking in Colorado:

Nhu-Minh, you have been involved with the hotline since practically it’s inception and supporting survivors through your work in the community for some time. How have you seen Colorado’s response to this issue evolve and what keeps you motivated in this work? 

NHU-MINH: During my time with the hotline, I have seen the state of Colorado begin to address the issue through meaningful collaborations between systems-based and community-based organizations in efforts to combat human trafficking in various communities. As the issue of human trafficking does not often receive the accurate representation in media and community support it deserves, my motivation drives me to continue to establish partnerships while providing community outreach and education to bring additional visibility to our fight. 

Jen, as a Pediatric Nurse Educator, you plan an essential role in educating healthcare providers about child abuse and human trafficking. What have you observed when bringing people together around this subject and how has the conversation changed over the past three years? 

JEN: I find the intersection of health care and human trafficking to be essential for survivors. Research shows that the majority of survivors utilized a health care service during their victimization. This is such an opportunity for us to reach out to survivors and try to get them the resources they need to be safe. I’ve done multiple lectures on this topic to healthcare providers, with another presentation planned at a national pediatric conference in 2020, and also serve as an informal resource for anyone who has questions. The conversation with health care providers has changed from, “You mean she got taken by someone?” to “I think I recognize a trafficking victim, but I’m not sure what to do next.” I am constantly encouraging health care workers to utilize their resources, like Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline. Not everyone will be an expert in trafficking identification, but if they know who to call, that’s the next best thing! 

You were both recently selected to step into the role of volunteer backup manager for the hotline. What is most compelling to you about serving in this supportive, supervisory role?

NHU-MINH: As a backup manager, I am looking forward to providing additional support and training in how calls are handled and information is collected through the hotline. I am eager to promote referral services and increased collaborative efforts with multiple organizations with the ability to effectively manage and provide support for callers to the statewide hotline. ~ Nhu-Minh

JEN: I am so excited for the opportunity to volunteer as a backup manager! I like knowing that I am a resource for both survivors who may call the hotline, as well as for the advocates who are volunteering their time for the hotline. I also feel like it’s a great way to continue my own education of this crime, and put my advocacy for social justice to work. I think the Hotline’s text-based support is a phenomenal addition to the Hotline’s services, and I think our hotline texting volume will eventually outweigh our call volume. I’m excited to see what the future holds for this movement in our state! ~ Jen


We are so grateful for Jen and Nhu-Minh! And to all of our amazing hotline advocates who displayed commitment to anti-trafficking in 2019. Here are a few of them that stopped by the photo booth at our Holiday Toast last week:

Volunteers for Colorado's Human Trafficking Hotline at the Holiday Toast Photo Booth

Thank you Alexi, Allyssa, Andrea, Britta, Brittany A., Brittany V, Catherine, Chad, Chadley Colleen, David, Desirree, Devyn, Emma, Marty, Gillian, Gina, Greg, Hiba, Holly, Jan, Janice, Jasmine, Jay, Jos, Josie, Julie, Kaitlin, Kate, Katrina, Kelly R., Kelly T., Kristen, Kristina, Lance, Lucy, Lyna, Nadiyah, Natalie, Nomi, Olivia, Sally, Sandra C., Sandra M, Sarah, Scott, Sharai, Yangmee, Madison, Amber, Nikki, Avril, Zarah, Staley and Jenica!

You continue to be a source of tremendous inspiration. We are amazed by your collective efforts in 2019. It will continue to be an honor to work alongside you next year! 

Author: Brittany Austin
Brittany Austin has been the Program Coordinator for the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking since June 2019. She helps oversee the Hotline and Resource Directory Program.

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Onward: Let’s Continue the Journey to End Human Trafficking https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/12/onward/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/12/onward/#respond Sun, 01 Dec 2019 21:28:26 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=3977 Human trafficking is one of the worst human rights abuses in the world – and it happens right here in Colorado. Since 2005, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking has worked to end this crime in our local communities. This month, your support of the Onward Campaign will help advance a growing

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Human trafficking is one of the worst human rights abuses in the world – and it happens right here in Colorado. Since 2005, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking has worked to end this crime in our local communities. This month, your support of the Onward Campaign will help advance a growing movement through anti-trafficking training, community-based research, a statewide hotline, and the development of future human rights leaders.

This year we were able to make enormous progress and advance anti-trafficking around the state:

  • We launched a new textline to reach more survivors with the support they need.
  • We trained nearly 6,000 people across more than 20 Colorado counties. 
  • We invested in a dozen aspiring human rights leaders
  • We released a new human trafficking research report and statewide action plan
Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking 2019 photos

But these achievements were only possible through direct support from the community. The Onward Campaign makes donating to anti-trafficking simple and secure. This month we’re raising $100,000 so that we can continue the journey to end human trafficking in 2020. We need your help to get there! Any size gift can an does make a difference:

Impact Giving Chart
More Ways To Give
The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization (EIN # 27-0662292). Check donations in support of the Onward Campaign can be sent to 1031 33rd St. Suite #237 Denver, CO 80205. If you would like to donate stock or recommend a gift through a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), please contact us directly at 303-295-0451 or info@combathumantrafficking.org.

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LCHT Position Opening: Leadership and Engagement Manager https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/11/leadership-and-engagement-manager/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/11/leadership-and-engagement-manager/#respond Tue, 05 Nov 2019 17:04:19 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=3443 About the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) LCHT’s mission is to inform social change that eliminates human exploitation; our vision is the end of human trafficking. Our program areas include training and education, leadership development, research and hotline. Since 2005, LCHT has trained more than 30,000 community members, law

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Position CLOSED: Leadership and Engagement Manager
Applications for the following full-time position are NO LONGER BEING ACCEPTED. This position was filled in December 2019. 

About the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT)

LCHT’s mission is to inform social change that eliminates human exploitation; our vision is the end of human trafficking. Our program areas include training and education, leadership development, research and hotline. Since 2005, LCHT has trained more than 30,000 community members, law enforcement, and social service providers; conducted four major research projects; and over 150 interns and community leaders have participated in our leadership development program. Through our efforts, LCHT influences and shapes the anti-human trafficking movement at the local, state, regional, and national levels. 

BASIC FUNCTION

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Leadership and Engagement Manager will have responsibility to enhance and expand our current leadership development program. This individual will also be responsible for connecting with anti-trafficking partnership leaders around the state as well as develop program strategy for LCHT’s leadership development initiatives. Approximately 40% is internal leadership development, 60% of the role is engaging with external partnerships.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

Manage the Leadership Development Program (40%) 

  • Recruit, interview, select, supervise and mentor participants for the Leadership Development Program; including weekly meetings and individual check-ins 
  • Review, update and deliver program curricula 
  • Ensure completion of all evaluations (internal and academic), maintain relationships with college and university internship coordinators
  • Coordinate and foster alumni connections and feedback loops through intentional events, programs and networks 
  • Explore framework for educational opportunities for additional audiences, including survivors and particularly what is required to provide an inviting and trauma-informed environment 

Support Anti-Trafficking Partnership Leaders (40%) 

  • Establish and maintain relationships with partnership leaders and survivors in Colorado’s anti-trafficking movement 
  • Facilitate forum/convening of Colorado’s anti-trafficking partnership leaders to discuss challenges, promising practices
  • Steward LCHT’s commitments to Action Plan Partnership recommendations 
  • Represent LCHT in coalition meetings, train/present on topic of human trafficking 

Create Long-term Strategy for Community Initiatives (20%) 

  • Partner with academic institutions and others to develop sector-specific training programs (learning objectives and outcomes), including a certification program for targeted industries
  • Identify sectors that could be interested in human trafficking trainings to enable them to become leaders in their industry, community or area of expertise.  

CANDIDATE ATTRIBUTES/SKILLS SOUGHT

  • The ideal candidate is an exceptional problem-solver, an organized, energetic leader and a team player 
  • Program management experience, including development, implementation, evaluation and continuous improvement of leadership program and sector initiatives  
  • Excellent verbal, written, presentation and interpersonal skills 
  • Knowledge or experience in various learning delivery options and technologies, i.e. classroom, online, and others to best achieve learning objectives
  • Demonstrated facilitation skills, including working with people from diverse backgrounds, working with medium to large groups, and managing difficult dialogues
  • Awareness, experience or the ability to develop a framework for educational opportunities for diverse audiences, including survivors and particularly what is required to provide an inviting and trauma-informed environment
  • Skills in providing an inclusive learning space, supportive of diverse learning styles, and knowledge of trauma-informed principles
  • Experience developing and supporting emerging leaders
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice, human rights issues; self-reflective of awareness of privilege(s) with a Feminist lens
  • Strong interpersonal skills including relationship and trust building, communication and listening, and personal engagement/networking
  • Ability to learn quickly and engage with the human trafficking movement to best identify where LCHT can make a meaningful difference toward ending human trafficking
  • Willingness to roll-up their sleeves and “do the work” 

EXPERIENCE/EDUCATION SOUGHT

  • At least 5 years in various levels of leadership; ideally with a focus on development programs and engaging with community, business and organizational leaders 
  • Bachelor’s degree required; Master’s degree preferred 

LOCATION/HOURS

Denver, CO, although travel across the state will be required.  Full time position, 40 hours/week.  Flexible work hours, including some weekend and evening hours

EXPECTED COMPENSATION

$50,000 (negotiable) + Medical (100% premium paid by LCHT), dental (75% premium paid by LCHT) insurance + paid time off 

REQUIRED APPLICATION MATERIALS

Interested applicants should submit a resume and cover letter to accounts@combathumantrafficking.org

References from three supervisors and writing samples will be requested from finalists.

The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strives to represent all of our community members. We strongly encourage applications from survivors, those with lived experiences, and members of historically oppressed communities, among them people of color, LGBTQ+, and differently abled individuals.

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Evaluate and Replicate: How Colorado Anti-Trafficking Can Advance Promising Practices https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/10/evaluate-and-replicate/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/10/evaluate-and-replicate/#respond Fri, 25 Oct 2019 21:21:38 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=3811 My name is Annie Miller, and I had the privilege of helping lead our most recent community-based research with the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking: Colorado Project 2.0. While our recent work revealed that Colorado communities have become more organized and prepared to respond to human trafficking, we know there

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Colorado Project 2.0 Blog Series
The Colorado Project 2.0 Blog series is taking a closer look at some of the findings from our most recent human trafficking research at LCHT. Today’s post from Dr. Annie Miller highlights the need for more comprehensive evaluation of current anti-trafficking efforts in order to inform future actions. You can learn more about Colorado Project 2.0 here.

My name is Annie Miller, and I had the privilege of helping lead our most recent community-based research with the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking: Colorado Project 2.0. While our recent work revealed that Colorado communities have become more organized and prepared to respond to human trafficking, we know there is so much more to do. One thing is clear: the anti-trafficking movement needs to develop a deeper commitment to evaluation in order to achieve practices that effectively eliminate human exploitation.

As we’ve been sharing about our Colorado Project 2.0 findings across the state, community members and partners often ask why collecting data is central to our findings. When we consider this question, we tend to use language about moving the needle to end human trafficking. How would we ever know if all our efforts are making a difference? What if the work we are doing just changes how traffickers respond and new vulnerabilities arise in the place of those we address? These are important questions and we can continue to answer them through effective data collection methods.

What if the work we are doing just changes how traffickers respond and new vulnerabilities arise in the place of those we address? These are important questions and we can continue to answer them through effective data collection methods

Total case filings related to Colorado’s human trafficking laws have increased in recent years. But do we really have the data collection practices in place to understand why?

How Data Can Help Answer Key Questions About Anti-Trafficking

Let’s consider an additional illustration about why measurement and evaluation are so essential to anti-trafficking. Here are a few steps suggesting one potential avenue for decreasing human trafficking in Colorado:

  1. Work to raise awareness about human trafficking to both professional and general public communities.
  2. Through raised awareness, the public will be more likely to make calls to the human trafficking hotline or report to local law enforcement.
  3. Law enforcement and professionals who work with vulnerable populations will be prepared to support individuals to leave the trafficking situation.
  4. Once individuals have exited their exploitation, they are free to press charges and participate in criminal proceedings against traffickers.
  5. The criminal justice system is prepared to try and convict human trafficking cases.
  6. More perpetrators are sentenced thus reducing the prevalence of trafficking occurring in the state.

This progression seems desirable, and you might think it’s already happening based on the increase in trafficking cases in the Colorado judicial system since 2014. In reality, though, we do not have any data or evaluative evidence to suggest that this series of steps is the how we arrived at more case filings.

Some might suggest that raising awareness will not necessarily lead to community members reporting trafficking as described in step 2. Others might argue that step 4 does not happen in reality; many survivors simply have no interest in prosecution as part of their healing process. Or perhaps not all parts of the state’s criminal justice system are really equipped to prosecute trafficking cases as stated in step 5.

There are many other possible explanations. But without effectively collecting data points at each possible step in this chain, we ultimately have no idea if it is a promising method for intervention. For all of those reasons, we argue that collecting high quality, publicly-available data is essential to the movement to end trafficking. 

Meaningful Anti-Trafficking Evaluation in Colorado Communities

During the data collection process for Colorado Project 2.0, our focus group methodology revealed that partnerships to combat trafficking in Colorado are largely not collecting data on their joint efforts. Individual organizations are simply not likely to collect data or share it with partners when they do. One initial opportunity would be for partnerships to develop a handful of metrics that they believe are meaningful to their community-based anti-trafficking efforts, and to begin to collect and share data on them.

Additionally it would be helpful to have a metric for each of the 4Ps (prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership). This data collection could be simple at the start – a community partnership could track how many community members and professionals attend local anti-trafficking trainings or events. Over time, they could move toward conducting a follow-up system where those who attended the training are asked what they remember and what they would do if they witnessed trafficking. This basic build-up of an evaluation process in multiple Colorado communities would significantly contribute towards smarter investment in promising practices over time.

The Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking looks forward to supporting local efforts to strengthen the anti-trafficking movement. Together we can end human trafficking.

Author: Annie Miller
Dr. Annie Miller is a faculty member in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Colorado Denver. She was a principal investigator on Colorado Project 2.0 and has served on the Board of Directors with the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking since 2017.
LCHT’s Action Plan 2.0 revealed that the anti-trafficking movement in Colorado needs more evaluation of promising practices.


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Getting Trained: How School Districts and Educators Can Combat Human Trafficking https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/09/educators-trafficking/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/09/educators-trafficking/#respond Wed, 18 Sep 2019 17:33:37 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=3698 It’s back to school time across the United States. In the most recent school year in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Education counted 911,536 PK-12 students enrolled in 1,900 schools across 178 school districts. Those students were supported by nearly 60,000 teachers and countless more support staff. Schools are one

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Colorado Project 2.0 Blog Series
The Colorado Project 2.0 Blog series is taking a closer look at some of the findings from our most recent human trafficking research at LCHT. Today’s post from Leah Singleton highlights the need for school districts, educators, and students to be involved in anti-trafficking efforts. You can learn more about Colorado Project 2.0 here.

It’s back to school time across the United States. In the most recent school year in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Education counted 911,536 PK-12 students enrolled in 1,900 schools across 178 school districts. Those students were supported by nearly 60,000 teachers and countless more support staff. Schools are one of the only places in a society where we have a unique touchpoint with almost every child. Because of that, teachers and education professionals are well positioned to support human trafficking prevention efforts and help child survivors. But in order for that to be a reality, school districts (as well as students themselves) will need more training and understanding of the crime. 

While no one knows exactly how many children are trafficked every year, the International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that there are around 1.2 million. This disturbing figure raises many questions. Which children are at highest risk of exploitation? Where is trafficking of children happening? And how can the education sector be involved in stopping it?

If school districts implemented mandatory human trafficking prevention trainings for students and educators, a new base of knowledge could empower Colorado communities to help end this human rights abuse.

According to the Colorado Department of Education, Colorado had 911,536 Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade students enrolled across the state during the 2018-19 school year. This included 430,299 elementary school students.

Educators Positioned to Identify and Respond

Compulsory education laws in the United States require most children to attend school through at least age 16 (with notable exceptions for kids who are homeschooling). As a result, most children spend every weekday interacting with the same set of adults for at least eight hours. Teachers in these settings get to know their students through sustained interactions and are uniquely positioned to sense if something is amiss. School counselors, psychologists, and other support staff provide another layer of interaction and specialized support for kids. For years, professional educators have played an important role in the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse and neglect. However, far too few have been trained to consider how suspected human trafficking might relate to that role.

From Rocky Mountain PBS “Sex trafficking of Children in Colorado Reaches Every Corner of the State”, October 2017

Colorado does not currently have mandated trafficking trainings for educators or students. However, some anti-trafficking nonprofits such as the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) facilitate these trainings when they’re invited into schools.  LCHT’s Colorado Project 2.0 has identified mandated human trafficking trainings in local school districts as an innovative prevention tactic. If school districts implemented mandatory human trafficking prevention trainings for students and educators, a new base of knowledge could empower Colorado communities to help end this human rights abuse.

A National Trend: Train Educators About Human Trafficking

In several states, human trafficking education is compulsory for school staff. In 2017, Virginia mandated that their Department of Education release guidelines for human trafficking trainings in schools. In Kentucky, public schools are required to display information about the National Human Trafficking Reporting Hotline. School staff also have to be educated on human trafficking in Texas. Ohio school personnel are required to take human trafficking training as part of their safety and violence prevention program. Further, the Ohio Department of Health released a protocol for school nurses who believe they may be interacting with trafficking victims. 

More than any other state, California has expanded human trafficking training within schools. The legislature passed a law in 2015 mandating that sex trafficking prevention education be included in public schools. In 2017, they extended this training to include labor trafficking prevention. Their most recent law also requires that school personnel be trained to identify signs of trafficking.

The federal government also emphasizes the role of schools in combating child trafficking. One report released by the U.S. Department of Education identifies the following responsibilities schools have to address child trafficking:

  1. Increase staff awareness and educate staff on the indicators and nature of the crime
  2. Increase parent and student awareness of the risks involved with trafficking
  3. Develop and clearly articulate district and school wide policies on and protocols for identifying a suspected victim or responding to disclosure from a suspected victim.

To address their first recommendation, resources exist to educate school staff on human trafficking. The U.S. Department of Education released a framework to help educators address trafficking in their schools in an informed and sensitive manner. Their report looks at risk factors related to child trafficking as well as behavioral indicators of sex and labor trafficking in children.

Tools For Students to Understand Human Trafficking and Exploitation

Any holistic approach to anti-trafficking in school districts should also engage students. Currently, several nonprofits host human trafficking training programs targeting youth. Some examples of education programs used in schools include:

  • iEmpathize
    • What: Empower Youth Program — seeks to encourage youth to have empathy for others and to teach them personal safety strategies
    • How: Five-module training course, 25 minutes each (options to extend)
    • Why: To empower youth to eliminate human exploitation
    • Who: Youth in school over age twelve
  • Project PAVE
    • What: Colorado nonprofit working to prevent violence and end relationship violence
    • How: Trainings facilitated by peer educators and community leaders
    • Why: To empower youth to end the cycle of violence
    • Who: Youth and families
  • The Prevention Project
    • What: Academic program that trains students on human trafficking in schools, after school programs, and youth groups
    • How: Six sessions of approximately 45 minutes for high schools, two sessions of approximately 45 minutes for middle schools 
    • Why: To equip, educate, and mobilize communities to be a force in the global movement to end human trafficking
    • Who: Teachers and students (middle and high school) 

These programs show promise in the anti-trafficking field, but challenges remain. The above organizations, and many others, focus primarily on sex trafficking. This focus excludes labor trafficking which is also common among youth. Stigma surrounding sexual education may also impede some schools from allowing such programs to be implemented. Further, some less populated areas may simply lack access to qualified trainers who can facilitate these programs.

Despite these challenges, LCHT’s Colorado Action Plan 2.0 demonstrates the importance of designing and implementing sector-specific human trafficking trainings. In doing so, Colorado education professionals and students will be empowered to prevent and respond to exploitation. 

Author: Leah Singleton
Leah Singleton is currently a senior at Florida State University studying International Affairs and Religion. She participated in the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking’s Leadership Development Program in the summer of 2019.
LCHT’s Action Plan 2.0 includes new recommendations to provide more anti-trafficking trainings to key professional sectors including education professionals.


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Housing, Homelessness, and Human Trafficking https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/08/homeless-trafficking/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/08/homeless-trafficking/#comments Thu, 22 Aug 2019 18:21:51 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=3636 In 2019, LCHT released Colorado Project 2.0, a community-based research report evaluating human trafficking in Colorado. In response to this report, a group of diverse survivors, practitioners, law enforcement professionals, and advocates developed Action Plan 2.0. This action plan provides recommendations to combat trafficking based off of Colorado Project 2.0

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Colorado Project 2.0 Blog Series
The Colorado Project 2.0 Blog series is taking a closer look at some of the findings from our most recent human trafficking research at LCHT. Today’s post from Leah Singleton highlights the connections between a lack of housing options and human trafficking. You can learn more about Colorado Project 2.0 here.

In 2019, LCHT released Colorado Project 2.0, a community-based research report evaluating human trafficking in Colorado. In response to this report, a group of diverse survivors, practitioners, law enforcement professionals, and advocates developed Action Plan 2.0. This action plan provides recommendations to combat trafficking based off of Colorado Project 2.0 data. Together, these reports illuminate a critical need for increased housing for those at risk of human trafficking, as well as for human trafficking survivors.

Between 2010 and 2018, the median price of rent in Denver rose from $805 to nearly $1,500 — an almost 82% increase.  In that same time period in Colorado, the average home price has grown by 77%, while the median annual income has only risen by 4.5%.  There are on average 50 formal evictions per day in Colorado (displacing on average 150-200 people).

As the cost of living has dramatically increased, people are being driven into precarious housing situations- and the unhoused population in Denver continues to grow.

Between 2010 and 2018, the median price of rent in Denver rose from $805 to nearly $1,500 —an almost 82% increase.  In that same time period in Colorado, the average home price has grown by 77%.

Who is Experiencing Homelessness in Colorado?

Unfortunately, Colorado’s housing crisis surpasses Denver’s city limits. A 2018 study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) illuminated a staggering amount of homelessness throughout Colorado. According to HUD, approximately 10,857 people are experiencing homelessness on any given day. People experiencing homelessness in Colorado include:

  • 990 family households
  • 1,073 veterans 
  • 2,738 persons experiencing chronic homelessness
  • 593 unaccompanied young adults between 18-24 years of age
  • 2,034 unaccompanied students (minors not with parents/custodians)

When Lack of Housing Equals Increased Vulnerability

Underneath the obvious risks of homelessness lies the increased vulnerability for human trafficking. Lack of adequate beds in Colorado shelters means that many people experiencing homelessness have no choice but to sleep on the street. Temperature extremes, like the freezing cold or scalding hot weather in Colorado, exacerbate the health risks of doing so. The life expectancy of an unhoused person varies between 42-52 years. For someone who is housed that number is 78.

Some people may feel forced to agree to a ride offered by an ill-intentioned stranger, accept a job opportunity that’s too good to be true, or even exchange sex for something necessary to survive- like a place to sleep for the night.

Further, camping bans present in Colorado cities criminalize sleeping on the street. In 2012, Denver passed one such camping ban which prohibits people from “pitching tarps and tents and even covering themselves with a blanket in public spaces.” Yet other laws in some cities forbid aggressive panhandling, public urination, or blocking the public right of way. These circumstances push individuals experiencing homelessness to make choices they may not otherwise make. Some people may feel forced to agree to a ride offered by an ill-intentioned stranger, accept a job opportunity that’s too good to be true, or even exchange sex for something necessary to survive- like a place to sleep for the night.

Several studies illustrate the high vulnerability of people experiencing homelessness to human trafficking. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that 36% of youth experiencing homelessness had “traded sex for money, a place to spend the night, food, protection, or drugs.” Further, they found that most of these youth began trading sex for money after becoming homeless. More than one in five youth experiencing homelessness were offered money for sex on their first night being homeless. By definition, trading sex for money or goods constitutes commercial sex — which, for minors in Colorado, constitutes human trafficking by state law (this mirrors the federal law).

Another study by the Covenant House, a nonprofit focusing on homelessness, found that 32% of young people experiencing homelessness had engaged in the commercial sex trade. Of these people, almost seven out of ten engaged in commercial sex while they were homeless. Further, 19% of young people experiencing homelessness choose to engage in “survival sex” — the exchange of sexual services for goods necessary for survival — solely to access housing or food.

Exploited For Labor, Not Just Sex

Beyond sex trafficking, individuals experiencing homelessness are also vulnerable to labor trafficking. The Covenant House research found that people approached 91% of youth experiencing homelessness with fraudulent job opportunities. Fraudulent employers target these individuals because they may be desperate for income to provide for food, shelter, or basic needs. They also may not have social support or access to resources to help them determine whether employment is legitimate. Many are further victims of discrimination due to their housing status. As such, they may accept job offers filled with false promises of fair pay, lodging, and safe work. By U.S. law, these fraudulent employment situations constitute labor trafficking.  

Labor trafficking among youth experiencing homelesness takes many forms. Forced drug dealing, representing 81% of labor trafficking among youth experiencing homelessneses, is by far the most prevalent. Other forms of forced labor include factory work, domestic labor, agriculture, international drug smuggling, sex-trade-related labor, and commission-based sales.

Both sex and labor trafficking, as well as homelessness, disproportionally affect individuals who indentify as LGBTQ. According to the Polaris Project, 46% of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness ran away from home due to family rejection. Because of discrimination due to their sexual orientation, they also lack social support or simply fear accessing social services. As a result, these individuals represent 40% of youth experiencing homelessness even though they only comprise 7% of the general population.

High rates of homelessness put youth who identify as LGBTQ at higher risk of trafficking: in one study of youth experiencing homelessness, LGBTQ individuals represented 39% of those being trafficked. Further, 60% of transgender youth reported sex trafficking. To prevent these trafficking cases, advocates must address the root causes of exploitation such as homelessness and discrimination. 

More inclusive programs which address key issues like housing, transition services for youth aging out of foster care, substance abuse, and mental health are critical to helping end this crime.

Combatting human trafficking means working to reduce homelessness. In the anti-trafficking field, this falls under two strategic areas known as prevention and protection. At the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, we developed new prevention and protection recommendations in the Colorado Project Action Plan 2.0. Ultimately, we believe that more inclusive programs which address key issues like housing, transition services for youth aging out of foster care, substance abuse, and mental health are critical to helping end this crime.

Author: Leah Singleton
Leah Singleton is currently a senior at Florida State University studying International Affairs and Religion. She participated in the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking’s Leadership Development Program in the summer of 2019.
LCHT’s Action Plan 2.0 includes new recommendations to address the root causes of exploitation like homelessness, inequality, and access to services.


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Around Colorado: Raising the Professional Response to Human Trafficking in Our State https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/08/around-colorado/ https://combathumantrafficking.org/2019/08/around-colorado/#respond Thu, 15 Aug 2019 19:10:24 +0000 https://combathumantrafficking.org/?p=3599 Training and education is one of the four main programming areas at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT).  As the anti-trafficking movement in Colorado has grown in capacity and collaboration, so has the reach of LCHT’s training program.  LCHT receives training requests from a diverse range of professionals and

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Colorado Project 2.0 Blog Series
The Colorado Project 2.0 Blog series is taking a closer look at some of the findings from our most recent human trafficking research at LCHT. Today’s post from our Research and Training Manager Kara Napolitano highlights the reality that more anti-trafficking trainings are necessary to drive community awareness and professional response across Colorado. You can learn more about Colorado Project 2.0 here.

Training and education is one of the four main programming areas at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT).  As the anti-trafficking movement in Colorado has grown in capacity and collaboration, so has the reach of LCHT’s training program.  LCHT receives training requests from a diverse range of professionals and community members including first responders, service providers, and community groups. Beginning in 2017 LCHT began to put a greater focus on training the child welfare and healthcare sectors in Colorado.  Those efforts continue through today. Both sectors represent vital touch points with individuals experiencing exploitation. 

A Growing Demand For Human Trafficking Trainings in Colorado

LCHT’s Colorado Project 2.0 (CP2.0) revealed a still unsaturated need for training on human trafficking in the state. That need was voiced by survivors, professionals, and anti-trafficking task force leaders in rural, urban, and frontier regions. Participants told researchers that their communities at large didn’t understand the problem or their work, didn’t recognize the need to address root causes in order to address human trafficking, and that multiple professional sectors – including healthcare providers, law enforcement and educators – were largely lacking human trafficking training all together.  

Multiple professional sectors – including healthcare providers, law enforcement and educators – were largely lacking human trafficking training all together.  

In order to fill the needs expressed by participants in CP2.0, LCHT took to the road this summer and facilitated human trafficking trainings around the state. As of early August, LCHT has trained over 2,500 people this year across 23 counties in Colorado. Audiences have included 729 healthcare professionals, 375 victim service providers, 294 community group members, and 288 child welfare professionals. 

In each part of Colorado we visit, we are struck by the thirst to learn more.  In rural and frontier communities, the lack of anti-trafficking training resources has resulted in large turnouts and diverse audiences.  Law enforcement officers who haven’t been trained in human trafficking are engaging with us at public health department trainings. Concerned community members and service providers are showing up at hospital trainings to learn how to better recognize human trafficking and more compassionately respond to survivors in their communities.  And at each new training LCHT is able to grow our partners and build trust among existing networks of response.

Human Trafficking Presentation
As of early August, LCHT has trained over 2,500 people this year across 23 counties in Colorado.

More Trained Professionals Means More Anti-Trafficking Resources

This year alone LCHT has added more than 50 resources to the Colorado Human Trafficking Hotline Resource Directory as providers are learning more about how the experiences of trafficking are showing up in their unique communities.  Additionally, trainers like me are learning more about how those experiences look and feel for survivors and providers across the state: who is providing services, what’s working, and who is or isn’t pursuing justice through the criminal justice system. This allows LCHT to add nuance and lived experience to our trainings, customizing them in a way that brings people into the movement as they recognize the intersections in their own work.

When survivors can put language to their experience and ask for help from service providers who understand both the problem and the barriers to access, true social change is fostered.

Demand for trainings is growing, too. At each training I facilitate, I make contact with another group that wants training. There is a snowball effect as we are able to return to communities and train new groups. We see momentum for social change as survivors, community members, and professionals begin to understand the importance of shared language around exploitation and trust across partnerships.  When survivors can put language to their experience and ask for help from service providers who understand both the problem and the barriers to access, true social change is fostered. And, when law enforcement and other systems like immigration and child welfare have trust within those communities, justice can be pursued in a way that is respectful of a survivor’s lived experience.

LCHT’s Action Plan 2.0 revealed that more anti-trafficking trainings are necessary to drive community awareness and professional response across Colorado.

The Colorado Action Plan 2.0 recommendations were developed by a diverse group of survivors, practitioners, law enforcement professionals, and advocates from across Colorado after reviewing Colorado Project 2.0 data. This Action Plan is comprised of statewide recommendations in each of the 4 Ps:

  • Prevention
  • Protection
  • Prosecution
  • Partnership

The Prevention ‘P’ has two trainings-focused recommendations that LCHT has already begun work in. Our hope is that other organizations doing anti-trafficking work will be able to use our data and Action Plan recommendations to strategize and focus their anti-trafficking efforts and ultitmately fill the gaps identified by participants.

Author: Kara Napolitano
Kara Napolitano is the Research and Training Manager with the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking. She holds a Master’s of Arts degree in International Development with concentrations in International Human Rights Law and Refugee Protection from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. Kara has worked with LCHT for four years, and currently oversees all training initiatives throughout Colorado.


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