Looking back while moving forward

From LCHT: We're excited to embark on its seventh summer Leadership Development Program with ten fantastic individuals! This summer, participants will be working on several exciting projects, including data collection and analysis for the Colorado Project, event planning for fundraising and organizational events, public relations for the Colorado Project, among others. As we look ahead to what is sure to be an amazing summer, we also take time to reflect as former intern Dawn Carmin shares what the Leadership Development Program meant to her.

Dawn Carmin
US Agency for International Development
Former Intern, Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking

My time at LCHT has been such an asset to me personally and professionally. It's rare to find an organization that provides as much thoughtful consideration, space for discussion, and guidance in leadership development for individuals engaged in complex issues like human trafficking.

Working with LCHT helped prepare me for international development work in post-conflict East Timor and in my work with the US Agency for International Development (USAID)

-- positions that require an ability to analyze complex situations, be emotionally intelligent and responsive, and to explore creative activities that focus assistance in ways that will make the most sense and impact.

Through LCHT's intensive technical trainings on the issue of human trafficking, weekly thematic intern meetings and research projects, I was able to foster an understanding of the complexities of human trafficking and ways in which the anti-human trafficking movement is trying to address them. I have called on my technical skills as an FSO in contributing to the Agency's new Combating -Trafficking in Persons (C-TIP) strategy and curriculum for the employee orientation on the issue. I've also been able to support the USAID mission to Ukraine and the Government of Ukraine in its anti-trafficking programming which is carried out by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

In addition to fostering a solid technical capacity, my time with LCHT's Leadership Development Program provided me with responsibility and leadership opportunities. I was given the chance to educate community groups, professionals and students about human trafficking. I was given the opportunity to lead discussions on social and economic barriers that leave individuals at risk as well as ways that people can help support the C-TIP movement. I also helped interview new interns and got to participate in some management activities of the program from which I learned so much.

Of all the leadership opportunities at LCHT, my favorite was being a mentor to a high school student engaged in a trafficking awareness project for her peer group. In this role, I was called on to support her C-TIP education, but also to help her realize her project and to be a role model for her classmates.

As an intern, graduate research assistant and participant in the Leadership Program Development I found mentors, teachers and friends who have continued to help me grow and who have created an environment where individuals feel empowered to
make meaningful changes to social, economic and cultural barriers that place individuals at risk for trafficking.

I still consider myself a part of the LCHT community and appreciate being able to call upon my former colleagues at LCHT.

The ways in which Amanda, AJ and the LCHT team lead the organization reflects an extremely deep dedication to finding creative and sustainable solutions to difficult development and human rights challenges, as well as fostering leadership in individuals poised to affect change in the world.


To Relay Marathon

AnnJanette Alejano-Steele, Ph. D.
Research Director, The Colorado Project
LCHT Co-Founder and Board Chairperson
Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking

Music cue: Chariots of Fire
(honestly, when else would I find this truly apropos AND dorky at the same time?) 

To listen to this blog’s music selection is to elicit images of youth running with abandon along a beach.


I pose to you an entirely different image to accompany this hopeful, inspiring and dramatic tune. Mostly because we’re not a group of Olympic athletes. Nor do we have expansive beaches of this sort in land-locked Colorado.

What we do have is a team of people passionate about human trafficking and drawing attention to the work of the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking. As one of the Charity Partners, we have four relay marathon teams, three kids and two marathoners all running for a shared reason. We’re educators, law enforcement, computer science folks, physicians, designers, engineers, social justice advocates, development folks, researchers, carpenters, parents, students…kids.

And why would this dedicated team decide to run together for this Colfax Marathon?

I think they should speak for themselves.

"Running on LCHT's team matters because..."

…this is a reflection of the way in which we do our work: team, team, TEAM!
…we need to draw attention to this human rights issue, and this is my part.
…we can’t do this work alone.

"LCHT rocks because..."

…they are the only organization dedicated to ending human trafficking through investigation and reason, and not blind passion or hyperbole.
…they get out there and do it - they're on the ground looking for real solutions to the actual problems confronting trafficking victims and the people working to help them.

"I am dedicating my run to..."

…all the Moms in my life, who took care of and take care of their children by making their worlds, both small and big, safe places in which to grow and thrive.
…my mom, I love and miss you.
…to people who may not feel seen or heard, but who REALLY matter.

"Training for this marathon has involved..."

…buffing up on my LCHT facts to spread the word!
…slow and steady prep, like the tortoise.
…a great deal of procrastination, but also a few magnificent days, and a few opportunities for exploration.
…almost no physical activity but a large portion of hope and enthusiasm.
…stressing out about running in high altitude!
…confronting my own fears, and pushing past them.

"The adrenaline from my runner's high makes me..."

…feel like I can keep running forever.
…feel grounded, energized and creative.
…feel like I can take on anything.
…feel like there is possibility.

"I care about LCHT's efforts because..."

…[their] analytical approach has helped me look human trafficking right in the eye. Now I want to stare it down!
…they think critically and thoughtfully in everything they do.
…someone has to do it, and I’m glad it’s them!
…they are doing the right thing and doing right by the communities they work with.
…they work on an important issue, that can easily be sensationalized, with patience, grace, and compassion.
…they make spaces for people, ideas, and communities to grow.

On the behalf of this co-founder, I’m grateful for the passion and energies of our runners for the Colfax Marathon. I’m also grateful for those of you staffing our tent in the Charity Village in City Park, and for the countless numbers of those helping to raise awareness and funds to sustain us. Running or not, please join us along the marathon route wherever you can, to cheer us all on!

And to my co-runners: see you in the last hundred yards near the finish line!