Lessons Learned from the Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking
Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking as Nonprofit Research Partner
The Colorado Project as Illustrative Process Case Study
Aims and Scopes of the Colorado Project
Colorado Project Research Questions, Methodology, and Methods
Methodology: Community-Based Participatory Research
The 2013 Colorado Project
The 2019 Colorado Project
The Colorado Project 2023
Implications and Impact of the Colorado Project
Colorado Project Outputs: Advancing and Sustaining Partnerships
Beyond One-Way Dissemination: Partnership Toolkit, Trainings and Convenings
- Encourage the intentional and equitable inclusion of underrepresented and/or unrecognized stakeholders in partnerships.
- Create a collaborative document that provides promising practices for Colorado partnerships.
- Cultivate relationships between Colorado partnerships to increase each community’s capacity to end human trafficking.
- Deliver sector-specific training to a diverse range of Colorado communities.
- Design comprehensive training.
Discussion and Next Steps
Lessons Learned on the Path to Colorado Project 2023
The Colorado Project 2023 Innovations
Adding Network Analysis
Colorado Root Causes: Laying foundation for Colorado Project 2028
Sustaining the Colorado Statewide Movement: Ongoing Partnership Engagements
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
While the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking protects their intellectual property investments by not openly publishing instruments utilized in collecting the Colorado Project data, we welcome the opportunity to connect with you if you would like additional details about the contents of those instruments.
Some participants and all of the respondents were granted confidentiality and/or anonymity.
Please note that LCHT views their anti-trafficking work as part of social movement. There are many conversations across anti-trafficking coalitions and partners who suggest that this work does not constitute a social movement.
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|Colorado Project Research||Methods||Participants (Sample Frame Selection)|
|The Colorado Project 2013|
|Key questions designed to understand the complex nature of community response to human trafficking:||Survey. Survey questions were developed from an extensive international review of academic, governmental, and nongovernmental (NGO) agency literature to identify initiatives and activities reflective of prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership (the 4 Ps). With the guidance of the Colorado Project National Advisory Board (comprised of leading U.S. researchers and practitioners in the anti-trafficking field), the survey was designed to encompass a comprehensive set of promising practices focused upon the nature of the 4P response .||The study employed a convenience sampling strategy by collecting information on various anti-human|
trafficking agencies as well as other organizations, not specific to human trafficking efforts, which may
provide services or come into contact with survivors of human trafficking.
Several strategies were adopted to identify as many agencies and organizations across the state involved in anti-human trafficking efforts as possible, including:
›› Use of membership lists of 42 Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)/Office of Victims of Crime (OVC) Task Forces
›› Use of Rescue and Restore Coalitions membership listings
›› Use of National Human Trafficking Hotline referrals for each state
›› Searching for anti-human trafficking organizations on
social media pages such as Twitter and Facebook
132 organizations responded to the survey
|Focus Groups. Focus group interviews with community participants from mental health services, legal services, immigration lawyers, immigrant rights organizations, advocacy organizations, those working with populations experiencing homelessness and interpersonal violence, and law enforcement agencies complemented the survey data. Participants were asked to describe the issue of human trafficking, the types of cases within their community, how cases are handled in the community, and specific factors they believed contribute to human trafficking.||The population of existing task forces (partnerships or collaborations) seeking to end human trafficking who are active in the state of Colorado was the starting point for determining the focus groups.|
10 Focus Groups were conducted—half in communities with task forces and half in oversample regions
|The Colorado Project 2019|
|Key questions designed to understand the nature of Colorado’s community responses to human trafficking:||Survey. The length of the 2013 survey was edited for shorter length, efficiency of items and updated language, retaining the structure of sections organized by promising practices within the realms of prevention, protection, prosecution and partnership.||Similar to 2013, the sample examines stakeholders from Colorado.|
Purposive and convenience sampling strategies to identify as many agencies and organizations across Colorado involved in anti-human trafficking efforts as possible. Staff leveraged existing partnerships to further disseminate the survey to underrepresented parts of the state, building off of participant lists from Colorado Project 2013. The sample frame gave an extensive opportunity to examine perspectives coming from groups, organizations, and individuals across the state.
In all relevant settings, the team advertised Colorado Project 2019 in order to increase participation. As the team identified the population of individuals working in anti-trafficking efforts in Colorado as the sample, 33% of potential respondents participated for a total of 183 surveys.
|Focus Groups: Colorado Project 2019 further studied partnership to investigate changes in Colorado’s anti-trafficking movement and actions taken on behalf of partnerships and task forces. Focus groups inquired about how each partnership worked together, communicated, collected data, shared promising practices, and managed conflict. Improvements in focus group methodology enabled the researchers to delve deeper into the ways in which coalitions work together comprehensively.||The population of existing task forces (partnerships or collaborations) seeking to end human trafficking who are active in the state of Colorado was the starting point for determining the focus groups. Twenty-four communities were identified for focus groups within the 24 target communities. |
Twenty-nine focus groups were completed (some partnerships had grown so large that researchers broke them into smaller groups to encourage participation from all members) with four of those focus groups taking place in communities where partnerships did not form in order to ensure our sample of focus groups accountable systemic bias and to ensure longitudinal representation of the original focus group locations.
|Organizational Interviews: A third type of protocol was implemented to more effectively interpret the rise of partnerships working against trafficking and to more fully answer how partners and organizations work comprehensively and collaboratively to end trafficking. |
Organizational interviews were intended to capture the interactions, shared goals, conflict, trust, and successes of partnerships. These interviews also yielded data that distinguished between individual providers or community members completing surveys and organizations that work in the anti-trafficking field.
|Two degrees of snowball sample design were utilized so new participants could also recommend other participants.|
Three organizations from each of the 24 communities completed an organizational interview. Participants were recruited to ensure representation in the areas of prevention, protection and prosecution, resulting in 69 organizational interviews.
|The Colorado Project 2023|
|Key questions designed to understand the nature of Colorado’s community responses to human trafficking:||General Survey. The general survey retains many of the items from the prior iterations of the project, and was further reduced.|
A second survey adopts an additional networked (directional data) tool for survey data collection. Structuring the data collection in this way provides leverage on understanding reputation effects, similarities and differences in the structures of networks across communities, and centrality of organizations in these efforts.
|Participants: Sample Frame Selection|
As in 2013 and 2019, the sample examines stakeholders from Colorado. Purposive and convenience sampling strategies helped to identify as many agencies and organizations across Colorado involved in anti-human trafficking efforts as possible.
|Focus Groups. Focus group questions were reduced and additional questions aimed at understanding trust, equity and effectiveness||The same sampling techniques were replicated for this iteration.|
Twenty-nine focus groups completed as of January 2023.
|Informational Interviews. Organizational interview questions were reduced and refined to accommodate questions regarding trust, equity and effectiveness.||Two degrees of snowball sample design were utilized so new participants could also recommend other participants; 65 organizational interviews conducted as of January 2023.|
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Miller, A.; Laser, J.; Alejano-Steele, A.; Napolitano, K.; George, N.; Connot, N.; Finger, A. Lessons Learned from the Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking. Societies 2023, 13, 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13030051
Miller A, Laser J, Alejano-Steele A, Napolitano K, George N, Connot N, Finger A. Lessons Learned from the Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking. Societies. 2023; 13(3):51. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13030051Chicago/Turabian Style
Miller, Annie, Julie Laser, Annjanette Alejano-Steele, Kara Napolitano, Nevita George, Natcha Connot, and Amanda Finger. 2023. "Lessons Learned from the Colorado Project to Comprehensively Combat Human Trafficking" Societies 13, no. 3: 51. https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13030051