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Leanne McCallum

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University of Denver

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When she first came to the Korbel School of International Studies, Leanne McCallum (MA ‘17) already knew that her passion for the fight against human trafficking would shape her career. That made DU a natural choice, thanks to the University’s connection with the Human Trafficking Center. For McCallum, the decision was about finding opportunities to broaden her perspective, seeking out the diverse voices that could inform where she would steer her future. 

She didn’t have to wait long to find her path. Just after graduation, McCallum received an offer to join an organization working toward the goals that inspired her studies—the Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force, which centers victims in its fight against human trafficking and fosters connections between law enforcement and service providers. Being right in the mix is just how McCallum has always preferred to operate, a trait she says she cultivated during her time at Korbel.

“One of the top reasons I chose Korbel was to be involved with the Human Trafficking Center,” she says. “Getting involved in groups outside of the classroom was a priority to me when I was choosing my graduate program.”

Now, her work places her in the middle of the human trafficking fight. McCallum has become a vital connection between the vast array of organizations and individuals advocating for victims of human trafficking, while also working to spread awareness of the issue. In particular, she focuses on educating the community about labor trafficking, bringing her insight and expertise into conversation with advocates and practitioners to better equip those on the front lines in their work to end forced labor.

McCallum says that her experience at Korbel was instrumental in pursuing the work she’s passionate about, providing her the flexibility to focus on human trafficking even while taking classes with broader scope. It’s no accident that her work takes her directly into the community—McCallum participated often in Korbel simulations and exercises, the CIA Analyst Simulation in particular. But she also acknowledges that she went beyond her studies to support her future. “I learned as much from the Office of Career and Professional Development at Korbel as I did from my professors,” Leanne says. “I attended nearly every workshop they offered, and I'm certain that the skills I honed at those events contributed to my success attaining a job in my field immediately after graduation.”