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.
On February 1, 2010, Polaris Project headquarters and Polaris Project Colorado announced their longstanding plans for the Colorado branch to transition into an independent organization, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking (LCHT). Polaris Project and LCHT strongly believe in the value of research and the need for better data on human trafficking, and LCHT has intentionally and strategically developed a niche for community-based research. As an organization that provides this type of much-needed research, LCHT is best suited to address this gap. To read the full press release, please click here.
Want to see a graphic representation of our history?
You can click on the link below to see an infographic depicting our timeline. We'll hopefully be adding more organizations and milestones to this in the future, but it should (if you're as geeky as we are) be an exciting start for reviewing an historical look at some local and national happenings in anti-human trafficking work, particularly relating to our organization and our collaborators.