International student combats human trafficking in Colorado

SIA student Qing Sun, far right, worked with other members of the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, pictured here, to reduce and end human trafficking in Colorado and around the world.

School of International Affairs student Qing Sun may be from China, but she spent her summer in Denver, Colorado, where she worked on an important issue that impacts people all over the world: human trafficking.

Sun worked at Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, part of the Posner Center for International Development, which implements a wide-array of data-driven analysis to reduce and eliminate human trafficking and supports Colorado’s human trafficking hotline.

“After graduation, I’d like to work with nonprofits in areas like human rights and human trafficking, so this was a really great opportunity for me,” Sun said. “I learned a lot about this field and human trafficking in Colorado and the United States, which I think will be of great benefit to me after graduation.”

In her role as a community engagement intern, Sun worked closely with organizations around Colorado to plan, schedule, and implement trainings on recognizing and preventing human trafficking. Some of the topics Sun helped cover for nonprofit and private organizations across the state include the causes and impact of human trafficking, the techniques used by human traffickers to avoid detection, how to help and empower survivors of human trafficking, and how places not commonly thought about when combatting human trafficking—including areas like Denver, Colorado—figure into the human trafficking trade.

“There are many documented cases of human trafficking in and around Denver, as they have two major highways—I-25 and I-70—that unfortunately serve as two major corridors for human traffickers,” Sun said. “That’s why the laboratory’s work to educate the community, as well as their work to form a Colorado Action Plan within the ‘prevention, protection, prosecution, and partnership’ framework, is so important.”

In addition to her work helping train community leaders to recognize, prevent, and help end human trafficking in Colorado, Sun also conducted research and literature reviews to ensure that the laboratory’s materials were offering the most accurate information and resources to the public to help end the scourge of human trafficking.

In addition, she attended regular meetings of the laboratory’s board of directors and the Colorado Human Trafficking Council, giving Sun an inside look at how organizations are working to address this important issue.

“I really learned and grew a lot and learned more about what I want to do after graduation,” Sun said. “I was able to work with people and interns from different backgrounds and walks of life, and we were able to communicate and learn from each other.”