Samantha Vardaman

Samantha Vardaman is the lead on policy issues for Shared Hope International coordinating advocacy efforts to further the protection of sex trafficking victims. After directing a rule of law program in Moldova for three years in which human trafficking issues figured prominently, Samantha joined Shared Hope International in July 2005 to direct the Trafficking Markets project, resulting in the research report and documentary titled DEMAND, which compares sex trafficking markets in four countries: Jamaica, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United States. In 2006, she began directing a three-year research project in ten U.S. locations into the sex trafficking of American and lawful permanent resident minors in the United States funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. The project led to published assessments of the identification and delivery of services to victims of child sex trafficking in each of the 10 locations, as well as training resources for first responders new to the issue. Four more locations were assessed in 2009 and 2010. The research was compiled into the National Report on Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking: America's Prostituted Children, released in July 2009 at a Congressional briefing to highlight the issue of child sex trafficking in America and admitted into the Congressional Record as evidence of the scope of the problem of child sex trafficking in the U.S. In 2011, Samantha designed and led the Protected Innocence Legislative Framework and Initiative, establishing minimum standards for the protection and response to child sex trafficking at the state level, leading to the December 2011 release of the first annual Protected Innocence Challenge Report Cards grading each state's framework of laws in order to provide the blueprint for comprehensive legislative action for each state. At the same time, Samantha oversees the implementation of restoration programs at Shared Hope International, which includes technical assistance and best practices dissemination for service and shelter providers, as well as grant funding to service providers in the U.S., Fiji, Jamaica, India and Nepal. [+]