To celebrate International Women’s Month, the Collaborative wanted to highlight some of the women who have greatly impacted the fight against human trafficking.
Katherine Chon co-founded Polaris (formerly Polaris Project) in 2002. Polaris is one of the leading organizations combating sex and labor trafficking and is the largest known U.S. data set on actual human trafficking experiences. Through the U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline thousands of victims and survivors have been assisted. The organization has helped hold traffickers and companies accountable. She worked at the organization for nine years, serving as its president for almost four years. Chon is currently the Director at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Trafficking in Persons.
Secretary Janet Napolitano
In 2010, Secretary Janet Napolitano launched the Department of Homeland Security’s “Blue Campaign”. The Blue Campaign is a national public awareness campaign intended to assisted service providers, law enforcement agencies, and the public to better understand human trafficking indicators and how to respond to this crime.
During her career, Napolitano served as the Governor of the State of Arizona where she was the first woman to chair the National Governors Association. As chairman, Napolitano was instrumental in creating the Public Safety Task Force.
U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith
U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith founded Shared Hope International in 1998 after witnessing the exploitation of women and children in India. Shared Hope International is another leading organization in fighting against human trafficking. In 2007, the organization created U.S. training resources on child sex trafficking which provided a baseline understanding for anti-trafficking task force members and first responders. Kids Are NOT For Sale was a 2009 awareness campaign across the U.S. to give survivors a voice and remember those who lost their lives survivors to sex trafficking. Shared Hope International launched their First Annual Protected Innocence Challenge Report Cards in December 2011. Still used today, the report cards are designed to hold states accountable for state human trafficking laws.
State Senator Teresa Fedor
State Senator Teresa Fedor has noted the importance of combating human trafficking and supporting survivors throughout her career. She has sponsored and co-sponsored several bills related to human trafficking. Fedor sponsored the Enact Expanding Human Trafficking Justice Act which, designed to allow survivors of human trafficking to be eligible to apply for criminal record expungement for offenses of solicitation, prostitution, and loitering. She also co-sponsored a bill designating January 11th as Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
Fedor, alongside additional Ohio government officials, has hosted several annual human trafficking awareness summits where survivors, advocates, law enforcement, social service providers, and the public can come together to learn more about the crime, how it happens, those impacted, and shortcomings of our current system.
Sister Toby Lardie
Collaborative to End Human Trafficking was founded in 2007. Sister Toby, alongside a small group of women, recognized human trafficking as a prevalent crime in Northeast Ohio. Her dedication to awareness and advocacy allowed the organization to connect local professionals and community members to establish a response to human trafficking in Northeast Ohio. Sister Toby’s hard work has helped shape the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking, and she currently serves on the Board of Directors and a member of the Collaborative Steering Committee.