Published on February 2nd, 2013 | by Ryan Estes
Summary: I've had the pleasure to work with Meg and LCHT on several of their projects. I jump at every chance I can to learn about what they are doing. Denver is fortunate to have a thriving NGO community; LCHT is representative of the very best!
Meagan A. Morris from LCHT joined us!
- Get to know her here and we’ll post the full podcast next week.
DBP Power Stats!
The seed for Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT) was planted in February 2005, when a volunteer chapter of Polaris Project, an anti-trafficking organization based in Washington, D.C., was launched in the Rocky Mountain West. The impetus for opening a chapter in the West came directly from Colorado citizens, who wanted to know what they could do to combat human trafficking in their communities. Around the same time that Colorado recognized there was a problem, the Federal government committed to helping find a solution, awarding over $500,000 in federal funding to victim services and law enforcement trainings on human trafficking throughout the U.S. It was a turning point for the anti-trafficking movement, and the seed that was LCHT began to take root.
Operating as Polaris Project Colorado (PPC), the organization quickly established itself as a leader in the western anti-human trafficking movement and, in October 2006, evolved from a chapter to a locally-staffed Polaris Project. In the years that followed, the organization developed a niche within existing anti-trafficking efforts, training “first-responders” who encounter victims and survivors of trafficking, building the capacity of organizations that serve victims and work to combat human trafficking, and filling information gaps through community-based research and community-awareness events.
LCHT is committed to evidence-based research efforts grounded upon objective, verifiable, reliable and replicable data. We strive to honor history while opening the field to innovation and foster respectful, intentional collaboration and participation among academics, activists, community service providers, law enforcement, survivors and volunteers. We do so while holding true to our values of non-discrimination, interdisciplinary approaches and feminism.
Our research approach must involve critical analysis. For that reason, you might hear us talking about…
… differences between victims/survivors based on race, class, gender, and myriad other fluid and intersecting identities.
… the fact that experiences of sugar cane harvesters can vary from person to person.
… questions surrounding what’s considered “normative” sexual behavior for adults in 2010.
… questions surrounding the power women have in the production of pornography.
… critical discussions on the differences between human trafficking today and legalized/institutionalized slavery in the U.S.
Human trafficking is not a new phenomenon. Activists have worked throughout history to eradicate slavery and exploitation, and no one organization or individual stands alone in this movement. The problem is complex and constantly changing, and everyone must play a role in creating a solution as organic and adaptive as the issue itself. For that reason, we view this process as an iterative one—it will take multiple strategies, a wealth of creativity, innovation, and the determination to push forward in the face of adversity.
Ours is not a laboratory of beakers and burners, but rather a laboratory for the exchange of thoughts, ideas and research. While our approach to combating trafficking is strategic, our experiments are occasionally messy and…hopelessly human. But as inevitable as missteps and setbacks are in this work, we believe real social change is just around the corner.