“If we can amplify the efforts that are already in place, and amplify the amazing efforts that the state of Colorado is doing and that our partners are doing, then we can continue to do this work on a bigger scale and reach more people and more survivors.”
Meet Lauren Holsombeck, Program Coordinator at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking. Lauren’s passion and varied skill set have made her an invaluable part of our efforts to amplify anti-trafficking efforts, in Colorado and beyond.
Lauren continues, “As a big music person, when I hear amplify, I think of louder, further reaching, and lots of power! We need to plug into the community, give the right people the microphone, and share the reality of this issue far and wide.”
We sat down with Lauren to learn more about her passion for human rights and commitment to ending human trafficking in Colorado. Watch an interview with Lauren below, and keep reading to see what she has to say!
Where did your passion for social justice and human rights come from?
“Growing up in Alabama, I was taught about the civil rights movement from a young age. I grew up visiting incredible historic sites where people like Rosa Parks and MLK actively fought for equality. However, the civil rights movement was always talked about as a thing of the past. I remember being in middle school and wondering, if we had really reached this ideal of =social equality and peace that MLK talked about, why was there still so much hate, prejudice, and unfairness around me? As I grew older, I wanted the answers.
“Fast forward a few years, after graduating from Auburn University, I moved to Atlanta and was fully immersed in the energy of the city. I found that this city was not just a place where the civil rights movement was a thing of the past, but instead, it was alive and moving through community activists. I finally connected the dots that this longing I always had deep within me was my call to work within human rights.< It was a lightbulb moment that I could take all these experiences as a child, along with that desire for change, and use my skills to develop a career advancing human rights.”
Lauren’s work with nonprofits in Atlanta led her to a long-term shelter for trafficking survivors. ”I remember speaking with a social worker from one of those organizations, and her explaining what human trafficking is and what challenges survivors face afterward. I had no idea at the time that this was planting seeds for what would come down the road years later.”
Inspired, Lauren began a Masters in Social Work program at the University of Denver, which included coursework on human trafficking and an in-class presentation from LCHT… which led to her internship!
Why have you decided to give your time and attention to the issue of human trafficking?
“The reason I went to get my Masters in Social Work was to be able to gain the tools and knowledge to find solutions and make changes. After working for years in nonprofits, I found myself frustrated that there were so many band-aids without any long-term solutions. So I found myself at the intersection of prevention, systemic change, and human rights. The more I learned about trafficking, the more I realized how many systems and issues are all interconnected.
“Within this movement, I found space to work on all of these overlapping issues that I care deeply about. If we reduce trafficking, we hope to also reduce homelessness, violence, and more. But I always come back to this issue at the root of it all: human rights abuse. And I want to spend my life working to ensure justice and equity for everyone.
“My work at LCHT has really created a beautiful full-circle moment. I started as an intern working on the Hotline, and now as Program Coordinator, I get to work with both our Leadership Development Program participants and the Hotline. Being able to lead and work with folks who care so deeply about the world and others constantly fills up my cup and motivates me on those hard days.”
What’s one thing you wish everyone knew about human trafficking—and one action you wish they would take?
“I wish people would understand how and where human trafficking happens. Due to misinformation and lack of awareness, people have this idea that human trafficking is only happening abroad or that it isn’t that common. In reality, this issue is around us every day and most people never know.
“I wish people would know how simple it is to make such a large impact in this movement. You don’t need to quit your job to devote your life to the anti-human trafficking movement. Whether it be becoming more mindful of your purchases or volunteering with a local organization, small daily actions can lead to big changes over time.”
Lauren encourages everyone to start a conversation about human trafficking with the people around them—family, friends, or coworkers. Those small talks can snowball into amazing opportunities to create change, often in ways that we never expected.
We feel so fortunate to have someone like Lauren on our team at LCHT. Her passion and authentic care for others are a constant source of motivation.
Amplify the Movement to End Human Trafficking!
This holiday season, you have the power to amplify anti-trafficking efforts in Colorado. Make a donation today to join changemakers like Lauren in supporting survivors and making our communities safer. Your gift will drive change in 2024 through anti-trafficking training, community-based research, the strengthening of Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline, and the development of future human rights leaders. Help advance human rights!