Learn the truth about human trafficking in Colorado

Human trafficking is a crime that happens everywhere. Traffickers are criminals who operate in every country, including in the United States, and in Colorado. Despite its prevalence, it is misunderstood, many people are unaware that it is happening, or they don’t really know what it is.

Human Trafficking is a crime involving the severe exploitation of another person for the purposes of compelled labor or a commercial sex act using force, fraud, or coercion, for some kind of benefit, often economic. Human trafficking consists of the denial of a person’s human right to freedom and basic dignity.

This is the legal definition, but there are a lot of questions—and misperceptions—about what that definition really means, and what that means in Colorado.

The Colorado Human Trafficking Council (the Council)  developed a campaign to increase awareness about human trafficking in Colorado and educate the public on the essential facts. The campaign sets out to combat misperceptions and give our communities and potential victims ways to learn more, report suspicious situations, or get connected to services through the campaign website, and Colorado’s Human Trafficking Hotline or text line. The caller can choose to be anonymous to protect the safety of citizens and victims. Ultimately, the goal is to ignite confidence that we can stop human trafficking in Colorado. The better we understand what it is, the better we can face the problem.

 “The research shows that people have narrow perceptions of human trafficking based on what they’ve seen on television shows, the news, and social media,” said Maria Trujillo, program manager and spokesperson for the Council. “These portrayals tend to be sensational and do not represent the real world and the various forms that human trafficking takes.”

Instead of sensationalized portrayals that perpetuate stereotypes, the campaign sheds light on the truth. Using a spectrum of narratives, the campaign depicts different types of human trafficking using facts pulled from real life experiences in order to show, in an authentic way, the different forms of human trafficking.

Some examples of human trafficking in Colorado the campaign addresses include:

  • Sex trafficking of a young woman by someone she loves and trusts
  • Labor trafficking of a man and his family by another family member
  • Labor trafficking of a young LGBTQ+ person by an employer
  • Labor trafficking of a woman and her daughters who moved here from a foreign country

Each of these narratives are representative of the types of human trafficking occurring in our state, across all communities, and in sectors including traveling sales crews, agriculture, and hospitality. They show how traffickers can be anyone. A trafficker doesn’t fit a single stereotype, and neither do their victims. Traffickers often prey on people who they think have a vulnerability, perceiving them as easier to manipulate and exploit for their personal benefit.

The hub of the campaign is the ThisIsHumanTrafficking.com website. The website gets into details about the crime of human trafficking, the different forms, how it can happen, things to look for, and how the public can safely get involved and help eradicate this often hidden crime. Learn more about human trafficking in Colorado and the campaign at ThisIsHumanTrafficking.com.

About the Council:

Established through legislation in 2014, housed under the Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice, Office for Victims Program, the Council coordinates statewide anti-human trafficking efforts for the ultimate purpose of preventing human trafficking in Colorado. Dedicated to the justice and dignity of human trafficking survivors, the 35-person council represents state and non-government agencies, lived experience experts, law enforcement, prosecutors, regional coalitions and task forces, legal services, victim service providers, academia, and faith-based organizations.

The Council is designed to:

  • Bring together leadership from community-based and statewide anti-trafficking efforts
  • Build and enhance collaboration among communities and counties within the state
  • Establish and improve comprehensive services for victims and survivors of human trafficking
  • Assist in the successful prosecution of human traffickers
  • Help prevent human trafficking in Colorado