As we enter the busy holiday season and begin to wrap up 2022, I want to take the opportunity to pause, reflect on the past year, and share my heartfelt gratitude with you.
I’m super grateful for everyone who makes this work just GO: our volunteer Hotline advocates, staff, professional partners, Leadership Development Program interns, Board of Directors, donors, and champions. I always come back to the humans who make this work possible, who care deeply about their large and small contributions to ending human trafficking in our communities. You make such a meaningful difference for this movement and for survivors. THANK YOU.
REST: A “Radical Act of Self-care”
For me personally, 2022 was a year of deep reflection. I had the immense privilege to have been granted a sabbatical for eight weeks this summer, and returned feeling energized and even more connected to this work, my team, and our community. Rest has been so nourishing. I’m so proud that our growing non-profit is generous and progressive with this policy; institutionalizing such a “radical act of self-care” is exactly what all organizations that care about the sustainability of their teams should be doing.
For me, this quote from Sharon Salzberg’s book, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness, summed up my time away: “When we make the courageous choice to be still… we have the chance to establish a relationship with what is.” Taking a break from the “daily grind” and the constant barrage of media, heavy news, and disconcerting events around the world — and instead, seeking to be quiet — was absolutely life-changing.
While it took a few weeks to settle into this stillness, I discovered an important path that I now am working to integrate into my daily routine. I feel that I have most certainly gained more tools and strength to continue my part in disrupting the conditions that allow exploitation to occur in our communities.
Achievements Made Possible by You
You are most certainly doing your part, too. This year, you’ve helped us make significant progress in the movement to eliminate human trafficking, in Colorado and beyond. There have been so many highlights! You’ve made these achievements (and many more) possible this year:
- By the end of 2022, we estimate that 1,000 calls and texts to Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline will have been fielded by our volunteer Hotline advocates.
- At least 6,000 people across the state will have participated in anti-trafficking training, including diverse community groups and priority professional sectors like healthcare, child welfare, and criminal justice.
- 12 aspiring human rights leaders participated in our Leadership Development Program, and 2 recent alums have joined our staff as research assistants!
- 75 people gave back as volunteers, interns, or board members.
This year, we also launched the research stage of the third iteration of the statewide Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking, which will measure our strengths and gaps as a state in responding to human trafficking. Stay tuned for its findings in 2023!
Thank you for bringing this work to life. Because of you, our collective impact — and this movement — is gaining strength.
A Growing Team…
By the end of the year, our staff will grow to 8 full-time and 3 part-time employees. I’m thrilled about these important staff additions to strengthen the capacity of the Hotline, research underway for Colorado Project 2023, and (very soon) an expanded training team to reach more Colorado communities. We also continue to contract with regional specialists who support some of our trainings in mountain and rural communities, as well as a group of survivor consultants who are providing key research leadership. Their support is critical in pursuing our mission.
This added staff power has upped our impact in so many ways. For example, one of our awesome new teammates is reviewing the 300+ agencies listed in our Resource Directory to confirm their information so that referrals to Hotline callers and texters are as accurate as possible. This allows our volunteer advocates to feel more confident about the referrals they make. It also helps us identify where gaps in survivor resources exist and where we need to pour more energy into locating more support for callers. Prioritizing this work has had a far-reaching impact across the state!
Momentum for the Anti-trafficking Movement
The issue we are working to eliminate is a complex one; it can often feel vast and overwhelming. But I want you to know that we are making real progress together. A recent big win for the anti-trafficking movement was the statewide public awareness campaign, This is Human Trafficking. Led by the Colorado Human Trafficking Council in partnership with Orange Circle Consulting, this effort has been a massive lift to reach across the state since November 2020.
The statewide leaders in anti-trafficking on the Council chose our 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline to be the featured resource in the campaign, which has generated many inquiries for support and resources. Knowledge of human trafficking leads to meaningful action!
Grateful for Community and Connection
Thank you for your partnership in making 2022 a year to remember. When I think about our supporters, staff, volunteers, and partners, I’m grateful for the connection. In a world where there is simply a lot of noise right now, this work reminds me of the shared values we have in coming together to address exploitation. This community allows me (and all of us collectively) to sit with the anger, heartbrokenness, and frustration — and incrementally move toward action together.
Take Action this Giving Season
Human trafficking is a severe form of exploitation for sex or labor—and it happens in communities everywhere. But knowing that reality doesn’t have to be the end of the story.
Here are the top 3 ways to make a difference for this key human rights issue:
- DONATE. Your gift will support anti-trafficking training, community-based research, Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline, and the development of future human rights leaders. Any amount you can give helps advance progress!
- GET TRAINED. Get your organization, agency, or community group trained to identify human trafficking and respond to survivors.
- GIVE TIME. Support survivors as a volunteer advocate for Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline. Provide callers and texters with the resources they need.