Human Trafficking Blog

The Spirit of Service: Celebrating Cindy Goldman

Each year, our team at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking highlights an individual or two from our community who made an outstanding difference in Colorado’s anti-trafficking movement. Those selected for the Spirit of Service Award have gone above and beyond as volunteers to support LCHT’s mission and help stop exploitation in our state. We are thrilled to recognize Cindy Goldman as our 2023 Spirit of Service Award recipient!

This award comes at a meaningful time—International Volunteer Day is around the corner on December 5, and we recently launched our Amplify campaign to highlight everyone’s ability to drive change in anti-trafficking efforts. But the recipient of this year’s award has set a standard in giving back for many years, and we’re so proud to recognize her contributions this month.

Cindy’s leadership, action, and commitment to human rights over the last nine years is second to none, and in 2023 she truly captures “the spirit of service.” We are excited to introduce you to Cindy Goldman today!

Cindy Goldman greeting guests at an LCHT event

Cindy Goldman greets guests at LCHT’s 2019 Holiday Toast celebration

Cindy first got connected with the issue of human trafficking and LCHT nearly a decade ago when she was searching for a Board or volunteer opportunity. She was connected to AJ (our Co-founder and Research Director) by facilitators of a leadership experience they’d both participated in. At the time, Cindy was interested in women’s issues but didn’t know much about human trafficking other than it was a horrible crime. After speaking with AJ and then Amanda, Cindy was compelled to get more involved.

She joined our Board of Directors in December 2014, eager to learn and help in any way she could. Cindy became our Vice Chair in 2017 and Board Chair in 2019. She also stepped up to chair our first Fundraising Committee, despite having no prior experience in fundraising. Cindy is responsible for a lot of the growth and impact our programs have seen over the past nine years. She completes her Board service with us next month, but the legacy of her investment in LCHT and anti-trafficking will continue for years to come. Thank you for the difference you have made, Cindy! 

Keep reading to hear from Cindy about what she’s learned during her time at LCHT and what service means to her. 

Cindy Goldman and her husband and LCHT staff

Cindy Goldman and her husband Jon, together with LCHT’s co-founders Annjanette Alejano-Steele and Amanda Finger

Over the past decade with LCHT, what are a few things that matter the most to you?

“As we grew in staff (we started at 1 and are now at 9+), we improved how we managed our programs to reach even more people, and that has been the case with every program area. We’re on track to have the most Hotline calls received in a year, and we will have trained the most people this year on anti-trafficking. The Colorado Project 2023 Report and Action Plan was released this year. Finally, the Leadership Development Program continues to serve as a way for many to learn more about trafficking and how to become leaders in this movement; we even have two graduates from the program as very engaged Board members.

LCHT is well-positioned to continue to grow and has the structure in place to do so successfully.  This work takes everyone—Board members, staff, and volunteers—working together with a common goal. It has been an honor to be part of this work.”

What have you learned through your volunteer service?

“Coming from a corporate background, I quickly learned that nonprofit culture is a much slower pace. LCHT is a very collaborative environment, and collaboration takes time. I’ve learned to have more patience for taking time for decision-making. 

More importantly, I’ve learned about human trafficking and its causes. I’ve learned a great deal about the vulnerable communities who are most likely to be trafficked, and the multitude of root causes of human trafficking. This knowledge of how human trafficking is interconnected with many vulnerable communities has caused my heart to open even more to provide support to these communities with the human trafficking lens.”

Quote from Cindy Goldman

What does giving back and the “Spirit of Service” mean to you?

“Giving back means that one is helping move a cause or issue forward, and I hope I have done that. This year, there have been many volunteers who have truly helped LCHT move the anti-human trafficking cause forward, especially through The Colorado Project 2023. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with LCHT for the last nine years to help make a difference. I appreciate the recognition, but seeing the results of the hard work by staff, Board members, Hotline Advocates, survivor consultants, and volunteers is the real reward of giving back.”

What is your hope for Colorado’s anti-trafficking movement?

“It’s hard to point to one thing, as this is an extremely complex and complicated issue. Overall, I wish more people knew human trafficking is happening everywhere and appreciate that it is so intertwined with many other societal challenges. Can we partner with those who work in the housing insecurity space to help their cause while also helping those victims of trafficking who are on the streets and therefore more vulnerable?Same with LGBTQIA+, Indigenous, and Latino communities (and many others). Can we make more of an impact on human trafficking by also making significant progress for these vulnerable populations? I think there are some real possibilities to be explored through these partnerships.”

Ways to help end human trafficking

Why should others get involved with this cause?

“There is still so much more to do, and LCHT has a proven track record of providing effective ways to combat human trafficking. We are growing, and that means we could always use more help, whether it be through a financial contribution or volunteering. There will always be more training we can do and more human rights leaders to nurture. We truly need more Hotline Advocates to volunteer and help respond to those who call our Hotline (the next training will be held in February 2024). And now that we have The Colorado Project 2023 completed, we need help getting the word out about the learnings, as well as implementing the Action Plan based on the research. LCHT is the only Colorado-based anti-trafficking organization that is grounded in research, which is a compelling reason for others to join LCHT in its efforts.”