My name is Chelsea Dillane, and I am a PhD student and human trafficking researcher at the University of Denver. I grew up in a small town in North Carolina and became interested in the anti-trafficking field when I first learned about human trafficking as a teenager. After graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a BA in Political Science and Psychology, and teaching at a bilingual Montessori school, I decided to move to Denver, Colorado to study and research human trafficking. In 2020, I graduated from the University of Denver with an MA in International Human Rights and specializations in forced labor and human trafficking, research methods, and statistics.

I am currently pursuing a PhD in Research Methods and Statistics at the University of Denver, with a degree specialization in human trafficking studies. I have been a researcher at the Human Trafficking Center (HTC) at the University of Denver since 2018, and am currently the Director of Research Projects for HTC. In 2020, I published my Master’s Thesis on the victim acquisition component of the human trafficking process, examining recruiting traffickers and their often low cost to recruit individuals in economic need.

My personal research examines human trafficking from a global, preventative lens, and aims to understand how trafficking can be prevented globally through community-level support of all individuals. I believe that addressing the root causes of human trafficking, such as economic need, inadequate educational resources, and gender inequality, can be the most effective way to combat human trafficking.

Harold and I first met in 2019 at an anti-trafficking conference hosted by the organization that I was an intern for at the time. He was the keynote speaker for the event, and upon hearing his family’s story and his goals, I knew he was a vital voice in anti-trafficking efforts and would continue to accomplish amazing things in the anti-trafficking field. We have kept in touch ever since the conference, and I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Eyes Open International, which is doing such important work in the anti-trafficking field. As an Ambassador for EOI, I aim to spread Harold’s story, help advance the objectives of the organization, and disseminate informed anti-trafficking research internationally.