At Polaris Project our staff members have the opportunity to make a daily impact towards ending human trafficking. Whether providing services to a victim of human trafficking, training a law enforcement officer to recognize potential red flags, or answering a call on the national human trafficking hotline, our staff members are working in a wide variety of areas to directly combat this issue.
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Here are some glimpses into a day in the life of Polaris Project staff, representing some of our programmatic and operational departments.
There is never a dull moment in the Client Services offices. Our time is balanced between a multitude of activities to provide direct support services to our clients, such as conducting case management, attending therapy appointments with clients, and contacting outside agencies to access additional services for our clients. We also engage in strategic planning to strengthen our programming, prepare for trainings, attend team meetings, and sort donations. On any given day, anywhere between 1-10 clients come to our drop-in center for case management appointments, therapy appointments, client support group, job training activities, to access our computers, or to spend time in a safe and positive environment. It is inspiring to watch the survivors we are serving move past the physical and emotional violence and trauma they have experienced and start pursuing their goals and dreams.
Life on the policy advocacy team of Polaris Project changes from day to day. In the morning you may start by simply checking emails, and by the end of the day, you have talked with staff from other departments at Polaris Project, exchanged ideas with victim advocates from around the country, reviewed and commented on legislation, directly met with legislators, talked to reporters, and pitched in on the design of a training for law enforcement. There is never a doubt that those in the policy department are doing a number of different activities – because policy advocacy includes so much more than just analyzing and reading legislation – though there is some of that too!
National Training and Technical Assistance
Every day is different for the Training and Technical Assistance Team, ranging from writing training curriculum for a variety of audiences to conducting all day intensive trainings for community leaders. Some days, we may be working on coalition and task force building in a given community or drafting new materials that educate professionals and practitioners on emerging human trafficking networks. We spend a lot of time connecting with other parts of Polaris Project to ensure that we have the most up-to-date information filtering through all of our programs and trainings. Because there is such a high demand for trainings on human trafficking, we are often fielding diverse requests from various parts of the country to provide training on a long list of topics.
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
A typical day in the NHTRC is as atypical as one can imagine, as is a ‘typical’ night. We work around the clock to field calls that stretch across a variety of categories from tips and crisis calls to requests for training and resources, and general information inquiries. The NHTRC is an incredibly fast-paced work environment with over 1,000 calls coming in every month. Fielding calls also implies a large amount of follow-up which could include reporting tips to law enforcement, providing referrals to local service providers, or providing resources and materials to callers via email. Since the NHTRC's success relies heavily on our local partners and the growth of the anti-trafficking infrastructure across the country, we devote a lot of time to building and maintaining relationships and engaging in capacity building. We also work regularly to revise our internal hotline protocols, to generate statistical reports to share with the field, and to respond to diverse training and technical assistance requests from a national audience. Responding to hotline calls and resource requests offers a unique perspective of the anti-trafficking field and allows us to experience firsthand the obstacles facing this movement as well as the rewards that come with empowering callers to take action, receive assistance, and participate in the fight against human trafficking.
Public Outreach and Communications
The Public Outreach and Communications department is constantly faced with new and exciting challenges. Whether it’s working closely with journalists to help get the word out about the issue of human trafficking, writing a new piece for Polaris Project's North Star blog, or interacting with our online social networks, we strive to be a vehicle for social change. One day we may be working on an online campaign to raise awareness about human trafficking occurring in fake massage businesses and another day we're communicating with our social networks about emerging reports of sex traffickers operating at truck stops. We field a number of general inquiries from students and community members who constantly offer new ideas, and we often find ourselves involved in event planning to galvanize the public and bring the community together around this issue.
Operations and Information Technology
Polaris Project strives to use innovative technology and workflow processes to stay on the cutting edge and make our efforts as efficient as possible. As an organization that responds to an incredibly complicated issue, we are constantly evolving in how we do our work to make sure that our efforts are agile enough to combat the crime effectively. The work of our Operations and Information Technology department not only improves our programmatic and administrative efficiency, but it also ensures that every dollar invested in Polaris Project achieves its greatest social impact. We are currently designing new features for our web site, building new performance measurement tools for all of Polaris Project's programs to use and we are constantly improving our cloud-based technology infrastructure.