Today I’m happy to share a very hopeful update: Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline Resource Directory is now available online! Here at The Lab, we strive to increase access to essential resources, honor the autonomy of survivors, and strategically collaborate with partners providing services across the state. We know this new webpage alongside call and text options will support those efforts and strengthen our statewide anti-trafficking response.
Access to Resources Reflects a Coordinated Anti-Trafficking Response
Since 2013, Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline has received 2,359 calls from survivors, service providers, and community members. We are able to connect each of these callers to next steps because we have the phenomenal support of community organizations and individual partners who are working to address exploitation across the state of Colorado.
Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline is powered by our statewide resource directory, which includes over 300 agencies and individuals that provide a variety of support services to survivors. It includes legal providers, healthcare workers, case managers, shelters, mental health providers, and many others who are committed to standing in solidarity with survivors. The directory has been built over time and is constantly evolving, which is a sign of an increasingly sophisticated and coordinated anti-trafficking response across Colorado.
Immediate and Long-Term Services For Survivors
The diversity of options housed within the directory meets survivors at various points in their trajectory and provides resources for long-term survivorship. It is a common misconception that every individual reaching out to a hotline is in crisis and in need of immediate stabilization services. While we do connect survivors to resources such as shelter, legal support and case management to meet immediate needs in those moments of crisis, we also hear from many survivors when they are years out of their experience of exploitation. The resource directory supports their desire for connection to long term survivorship resources such as educational programming, mentorship, higher education, and survivor leadership opportunities.
Access to a robust and constantly growing directory of resources that can be filtered by need and geography supports a survivor’s agency in a critical moment.
The geographic diversity of the resource directory also improves our ability to respond to survivors’ needs around the state. We currently have resources identified, vetted, and trained in 46 Colorado counties. But our goal is to have the entire state represented soon so that every caller has options on where to turn no matter where they are. It is common for survivors who are exiting trafficking in one location in Colorado to have the desire to seek shelter or support elsewhere in the state. Access to a robust and constantly growing directory of resources that can be filtered by need and geography supports a survivor’s agency in a critical moment.
One Hotline, Three Points of Access
Hotlines naturally break down barriers to services by being available 24/7 and allowing for a certain level of anonymity. But there remain a variety of challenges for individuals seeking support, including the imbalance present when we hold the information callers or texters seek. Making help available through an online search further reduces these barriers and offers survivors the autonomy to connect with the resources they identify as a priority, and to do so on their own terms.
I recently heard one of our volunteer hotline advocates describe the resource directory as a system of bridges, and that her role in a survivor’s journey was one of walking alongside them as opposed to drawing the map. She beautifully captured the agency each caller has over their future and the step they choose to take next. Our responsibility is to ensure they have access to the various pathways and support systems that have been engineered to carry them forward. Beginning today, that access is reinforced through our Online Resource Directory.
More Reasons to Stay at Hope
On Friday, Amanda announced Stay at Hope, LCHT’s special call to sustain anti-trafficking efforts in Colorado this month. One thing I want to say clearly is that a strong response to human trafficking is certainly hopeful! This includes a new Online Resource Directory which will compliment the hopeful work our advocates are already doing with calls and texts. So we are thrilled to be putting this information where it belongs: in the hands of survivors themselves.
As Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline enters a new phase of connecting more survivors with providers who will meet their needs, I am steeped in gratitude. Today I’d like to especially thank every one of the referral partners* who exist within the directory, as they are the backbone of our state’s hotline. Thank you for the ways in which you strive to honor survivors each and every day. Your collective impact and your steadfast efforts to respond to human trafficking gives us reason to stay at hope!
Brittany Austin is the Hotline and Advocacy Manager with the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking in Denver, Colorado. She manages Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline and the resource directory which includes agencies across Colorado that provide support services to survivors of exploitation. *If you or your organization provide support services to survivors, we hope you’ll consider becoming a critical resource for Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline by submitting your application here. If you are already one of our trusted referral partners and would like to be featured online, please contact Brittany directly.
This May, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking is leading Stay at Hope, a special call to sustain anti-trafficking efforts in Colorado. To get involved visit combathumantrafficking.org/hope or text HOPE to 71777