Human Trafficking Blog

How to Tackle Today’s Biggest Challenges in the Anti-trafficking Movement

Spring is in the air here in Denver, and it has us feeling inspired for the new growth that lies ahead. The days are getting longer, the weather is warmer, and the air in our office is filled with a renewed sense of energy to tackle the biggest challenges that the anti-trafficking movement is currently facing.  

We asked a few of our staff members to share their views on some of the most pressing needs today as they work toward ending human trafficking. Plus, some of the people who are part of the solution — our Lab Catalyst monthly donors — shared why they are excited about these opportunities for growth.

In the spirit of this season, it’s Spring Sustainer Week (May 8-15, 2023) at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking. We’re celebrating our monthly donors, who we proudly call Lab Catalysts, and the power of monthly giving to grow our impact for survivors. Will you join our special community of changemakers? For as little as $10/month, you can bring us closer to eliminating this human rights crime for good.

Group photo of 12 Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking supporters standing outside in front of a mural

Challenge #1: Keeping Up with Demand on Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline

“The number of calls and texts to Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline has increased substantially over the past four years,” reflects Katlyn Pryshlak, Hotline and Advocacy Manager. “In fact, there has been a 113% increase in call/text volume since 2020.” 

So far in 2023, volunteer Hotline Advocates have answered over 100 calls and texts each month. By the end of the year, we will likely have received more than 1,200 calls and texts from survivors, service providers, and community members. That translates to more resources provided and more tips sent to trained professionals so that potential trafficking situations can be addressed. The more calls and texts we can respond to, the more Coloradans in crisis get their needs met, and the safer our communities become. 

“Right now, we have the largest volunteer team in the Hotline’s almost 16-year history, with 57 trained Hotline Advocates ready to pick up the phone,” reflects Katlyn. Plus, we are working with an updated Resource Directory this year thanks to an intensive vetting process conducted over the last year. This means callers will be supported with even more individualized and informed referrals. 

“We can’t sustain the current growth trajectory of the Hotline without supporters,” shares Katlyn. “More victims and survivors of trafficking are reaching out every year, and we want to make sure we are there for them now and into the future.” Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline is one of the only statewide anti-trafficking hotlines in the country. Every survivor, family member, friend, service provider, and community member deserves this kind of safe, anonymous, and localized response.

Solution: Invest in our Volunteer Hotline Advocates and Resource Directory

“I give monthly because I believe in LCHT’s values and mission, especially those regarding understanding individuals’ lived experience and human rights. I feel most connected to the Hotline and Resource Directory, because it provides such real, tangible help to those who need it. They have many resources available and are working to make a big impact in the community.”

— Camiece Kirsten, Lab Catalyst Monthly Donor

$10/month can power two days of service for LCHT’s human trafficking textline. Make your pledge of support today!

Kristina Wilburn. Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking staff member, presenting in a training

Challenge #2: The Need for Professionals to Intervene When the Signs of Human Trafficking Are Present

In the past five years alone, more than 25,000 professionals across sectors have participated in an anti-trafficking training with LCHT. Demand for this knowledge is not slowing down, so we recently hired Kristina Wilburn as our Training and Education Associate Manager. With another staff member, we have an increased capacity to reach even more organizations and individuals, especially those who are most likely to encounter survivors in the population they serve. 

“Many professionals are in a position to intervene and help human trafficking victims, but they don’t have training or simply miss it,” shares Kristina. “These moments make it difficult for survivors to trust and approach systems that could make a real difference.” She continues, “Support for our Training and Education Program allows us to reach those people who can help across the state.” 

“I’m also excited to increase language access to our training,” reflects Kristina. “We recently translated training materials into Spanish, and we’re also able to facilitate training in Spanish to reach more diverse audiences.” Boosting our Training and Education Program means that more cases of human trafficking in Colorado will be recognized and intervened.

Solution: Train Even More Individuals and Organizations Throughout Colorado 

Portrait of Devin Pitts-Rogers, Lab Catalyst Monthly Donor“I’m a Lab Catalyst monthly donor because LCHT’s mission alongside its approach is something that I believe in. I think all areas of LCHT’s work are crucial. But education is necessary, and it’s important to challenge the perception of how trafficking happens in the first place. Supporting training allows others to learn more in order to better serve survivors.”

— Devin Pitts-Rogers, Lab Catalyst Monthly Donor

$20/month can provide one human trafficking training annually to 25 community members or professionals. Help provide more life-changing training!

Group photo of 5 Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking supporters standing outside in front of a mural

Challenge #3: The End of Human Trafficking is a Massive Goal

“Seeing the end of human trafficking is an ambitious part of LCHT’s vision,” reflects Lauren Holsombeck, Program Coordinator. “Sometimes, it feels impossible.” How do we accomplish such a vast goal? One of the answers lies within training and supporting future human rights leaders. “Through the Leadership Development Program, we can train, empower, and support a new generation of human rights leaders that will bring us much closer to this goal,” says Lauren. 

Through unique seminars and projects, participants are immersed in LCHT’s day-to-day work. So much more than just academic requirements is unlocked through these 10-week internships. Fostering a sense of community and building practical skills ultimately provides a safe stepping stone into the anti-trafficking movement or intersecting fields.

“I’m excited about the diverse backgrounds of people who are coming to this program to grow,” says Lauren. “We are seeing an influx of folks from both academic and non-academic backgrounds at all stages of their personal and professional journeys.” Each cohort brings a blend of ideas, energy, and curiosity that represents our vision of a “laboratory.”

“With over 200 Leadership Development Program alumni across Colorado, the US, and the globe, the impact is far-reaching!” shares Lauren. “Support for this program allows us to help more leaders find their way into the anti-trafficking movement.” Regardless of where our 200 alumni find themselves after the program, we know that the knowledge they gained will help to ensure sustainability and succession planning in the field. LCHT’s investment in future leaders produces alumni who represent our legacy and hope for the future.

Solution: Develop Leaders as a Powerful Way to Scale the Movement

Portrait of“I believe human trafficking is one of the most critical human rights issues of our time. Being a monthly donor allows me to invest in the response with LCHT all year long. Raising awareness and supporting anti-trafficking leaders are two things I care about deeply, and I know my giving helps make that possible.”

— Craig Nason, Lab Catalyst Monthly Donor, Development and Communications Director

$50/month can provide a scholarship for a human rights leader in our Leadership Development Program. Empower the leaders of tomorrow!

Infographic with text: Will you make a monthly difference?

Make a Pledge to Change Lives This Spring Sustainer Week!

Do you care deeply about supporting survivors of human trafficking, making our communities safer, and ending this abuse for good? Consider joining our passionate group of monthly supporters this Spring Sustainer Week! We are up against some serious challenges in the fight against human trafficking, and we can’t face them without you. Help sustain the movement!