Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline is one of our state’s most important resources when it comes to helping survivors and concerned individuals. In 2022 alone, our volunteer Hotline Advocates responded to more than 1,000 calls and texts, connecting callers with our vetted list of 300+ resource providers across the state. Whether it’s food, shelter, job assistance, legal aid, or something else, we do everything we can to get individuals the support they need.
So who exactly powers the Hotline? It’s staffed around the clock by our passionate volunteer Hotline Advocates, led by our Hotline and Advocacy Manager, Katlyn Pryshlak, and managed by a team of 2 full-time and 1 part-time staff members (plus, it’s supported by hundreds of resource partners and our generous donors). It takes the dedication of many people to make this resource possible!
We sat down with Katlyn to hear more about her story and what it’s like to answer calls and texts to our Hotline. Keep reading for an inside look…
A Passion for Social Justice and Human Rights
“Ever since I was a little kid, I had a strong sense of justice. I felt very passionate about what was right and what was wrong. That has manifested into a career in the social justice space,” reflects Katlyn. “I feel most fulfilled when I am working alongside other driven individuals with the goal that all people should be able to fully access their human rights. I believe that all people deserve to have their needs met and are worthy of assistance and compassion.”
In her role as Hotline and Advocacy Manager, Katlyn leads the recruitment, training, and retention efforts for our team of volunteer Hotline Advocates and Backup Managers (senior volunteers in support roles). She also builds connections with law enforcement professionals in every Colorado county who have been trained in human trafficking in order to pass on Hotline tips.
Working together across backgrounds and professionals is central to making progress in the movement to end human trafficking; after all, this issue is one that intersects with many others. This is what led Katlyn to her role at the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking in the first place: “I have always had a passion for working alongside immigrants and refugees fighting for basic rights and safety. Learning about the intersection of immigrants coming to this country for safety, a job, or other opportunities who are then exploited and/or taken advantage of is abhorrent. For people to come to our borders seeking safety — and in some cases, find only abuse and hate — is something I cannot stand for.” She continues, “Since coming on board with LCHT in January 2022, I have learned about so many more intersections that exist in the anti-trafficking movement.”
What It’s Like to Answer a Hotline Call
“Working on Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline is all about being prepared, dynamic, and compassionate,” says Katlyn. “When the phone rings or a text comes through, you never know who is going to be on the other end and what they have experienced.”
The experience can be an emotional one for the volunteer Hotline Advocates who answer the phone. “It’s really exciting when we can connect someone with the help they need,” continues Katlyn. “However, it can be extremely challenging when the resources a caller needs are unavailable or inaccessible due to various barriers, such as geographic location.” Additionally, our volunteer Hotline Advocates often share resources or pass on a tip, but never get to know the outcome of the situation — leaving them with a feeling of uncertainty. When we do learn that someone who called the Hotline got the help they needed, it’s incredibly energizing.
Katlyn remembers a success story of 2022: “We were able to connect an immigrant caller to the legal resources they needed to exit their trafficking situation without the fear of deportation — and with the hope of securing a T-Visa (a special visa for undocumented individuals who have been trafficked). This person called several times; at first, they were too scared to seek resources and only wanted information. After about 3-4 Hotline interactions with this individual, they felt confident to leave their trafficking situation with an action plan and next steps.”
The Difference the Hotline Makes in Ending Human Trafficking
The impact of Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline is significant. “We’ve seen firsthand how a statewide human trafficking hotline is a crucial intervention for some victims and survivors,” says Katlyn. Our Hotline Resource Directory provides an updated inventory of the resources that exist across Colorado, and our team can quickly learn of any changes that may affect a survivor. Furthermore, strong relationships with organizations and law enforcement partners means that we have a system in place for processing tips — and are able to respond efficiently to threats of human trafficking. The Hotline brings us closer to seeing the end of this human rights crime.
The Amazing Volunteers Who Power the Hotline
“Our volunteer Hotline Advocates not only expand our capacity to manage Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline, but during this process they also become lifelong leaders in the anti-human trafficking movement,” says Katlyn. This issue is a difficult one, which makes the time and energy these volunteers commit that much more meaningful.
All of our volunteer Hotline Advocates live in Colorado, so they have in-depth knowledge of the resources and social/political dynamics that exist in our state. They go through extensive training and are exposed to constant learning while fielding calls and texts. Every participant has their own diverse background and motivation for being a volunteer Hotline Advocate. Individuals get involved for a variety of reasons; some want to connect with others who care about this issue, and others are involved because they or someone they know are a survivor of human trafficking.
Volunteer With Us!
We’re always looking for new volunteer Hotline Advocates to support Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline — and we’d love for you to join us! If you’re compassionate, willing to learn, and care deeply about others, you would be a great fit. No prior experience in the anti-trafficking movement or knowledge about human trafficking is needed. We’ll teach you everything you need to know (and walk you through different call scenarios) in 16 hours of training before your first shift.
Katlyn explains, “Even though volunteer Hotline Advocates field calls and texts remotely, you are never alone while you’re on shift!” We have a three-tiered support system on the Hotline that includes a volunteer Hotline Advocate, Backup Manager and Staff Backup available at all times. We’re looking for individuals who can commit for at least a year, and work 2-4 shifts per month as their schedules allow. Make a life-changing difference for survivors by volunteering with us!
If you or someone you know might be experiencing exploitation, call or text our 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline. We’re here to help you in a safe and anonymous matter.
CALL 866-455-5075 or TEXT 720-999-9724. Or, you can find resources near you in our online directory.
3 Ways to Support Colorado’s 24/7 Human Trafficking Hotline:
- VOLUNTEER. Apply to become a volunteer Hotline Advocate. The deadline to pre-apply to our next training by Feb. 17. Learn how to respond to Hotline calls & texts and connect individuals with our vetted list of resources and partner agencies throughout the state.
- JOIN OUR RESOURCE DIRECTORY. If your organization provides services to survivors of human trafficking (including case management, survivorship resources, and legal support), become a resource partner for our Hotline. We’ll send individuals seeking support your way.
- DONATE. Your donation of any amount will help sustain our Hotline. Every $10 donated can power two days of service for our Textline. BONUS: Donate monthly to make an ongoing difference for survivors of human trafficking!