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Human Trafficking Center

Who We Are

The same key that unlocks knowledge unlocks freedom. 

Mission: Seek Knowledge

The HTC’s goal is to use academic rigor, sound methodology, and reliable data to promote understanding of human trafficking and its causes, conditions, and cures. We build cooperation and community between academic institutions and the public and private sector to accomplish these goals.

Vision: Secure Freedom.

Our vision is a world where freedom is secured through long-term policy solutions that are founded on comprehensive research and that respect the dignity and autonomy of survivors.


Who we are

For up-to-date information, look at our blog, Facebook page, or Twitter profile.
Also, browse our 2016-2017 Annual Report


The HTC is a nonprofit research and advocacy organization committed to using academic rigor and transparency, sound methodology, and reliable data to understand forced labor and human trafficking. Our aim is to provide research that improves inter-organizational cooperation and accountability, influences anti-trafficking policy, and raises public awareness about the problem. We also partner with academics, students, legislators, NGOs, and international organizations to provide the public balanced information about human trafficking. The HTC is housed within the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver and is comprised of M.A. candidates and faculty.


The HTC has established the “3 C’s” (Causes, Conditions, and Cures) in response to the U.N. Palermo Protocol’s “3 P’s” (Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution). We encourage and facilitate Cooperation (our “4th C”) among academic institutions and organizations creating and carrying out policy and working in the field. The HTC’s advocacy activities include analysis of policy proposals to provide policymakers with a deeper understanding of human trafficking issues as they craft laws to combat human trafficking and aid victims and survivors.


While HTC works with many different organizations to offer rigorous research and professional writing, it does not ascribe to any particular political, social, or religious view other than the desire to end human trafficking, forced labour, and modern slavery.



The HTC was founded in 2002 to apply sound research and reliable methodology to the field of human trafficking research and advocacy. Professor Claude d’Estrée, the HTC Founder and Director, began working on issues of human trafficking in 1999 in his role as Supervisor of Asset Forfeiture at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. In 2002, Professor d’Estrée  joined the faculty of the Sturm College of Law at the University of Denver and created the Task Force on Human Trafficking and Modern Slavery. The Task Force encouraged students, faculty, and staff from various academic disciplines to support research and advocacy related to human trafficking and modern slavery.


After Professor d’Estrée joined the faculty at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, the Task Force became the Human Trafficking Clinic in 2008. The Clinic conducted research and provided a two-year, graduate level training program in forced labor and human trafficking. In July 2013, Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, Dean of the Korbel School, approved the institutional change from clinic to center. The Human Trafficking Center continues to provide the only two-year graduate level training program in forced labour, human trafficking, and international labour migration issues in the U.S.