Apply to the Human Trafficking Leadership Academy

Recruitment for Class 7 of the Human Trafficking Leadership Academy (HTLA) is now closed. Information on our next class and recruitment cycle will be available in Fall 2021.

Starting in May 2021 through September 2021, fellows will use new leadership skills to work with their class in developing recommendations that will inform new research, policies, and programs that improve awareness, understanding, and assistance to survivors of human trafficking and those who are at risk of experiencing human trafficking.

Class 7 Project Question: How can federally-funded human trafficking service providers address institutional inequities and barriers to accessing services for survivors of human trafficking? How can these networks improve their response to human trafficking for communities of color?

What is the Human Trafficking Leadership Academy?

The HTLA provides leadership training to survivor leaders and allied professionals. HTLA fellows join a class that meets regularly (either in person or virtually) over the course of 5 months. The fellowship brings together survivors and allied professionals to build their leadership skills, knowledge, and professional network while collaborating to enhance programming and services that will support survivors of human trafficking and those at risk of experiencing trafficking.

Fellows will:

  • Participate in three virtual 5-hour seminars once per month for 5 months
  • Collaborate virtually between each seminar (approximately 2–4 hours per week) to develop and provide recommendations to federal stakeholders
  • Think deeply about their leadership journey, challenges, and successes
  • Learn from other fellows, subject matter experts, and community leaders
  • Apply new tools and resources to build their leadership skills
  • Expand their professional networks
  • Present the team’s recommendations to federal stakeholders in a virtual presentation

The Office on Trafficking in Persons and the Office on Women’s Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established the HTLA in response to recommendations for survivor leadership from stakeholders with lived experience including the United States Advisory Council on Human Trafficking, established by the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015.  


For HTLA Class 7, NHTTAC will prioritize the inclusion of voices and perspectives of people of color in the recruitment process. NHTTAC seeks to include survivors of both labor and sex trafficking as well as individuals of all genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, and U.S. citizens and noncitizens authorized to work in the United States. 

Program Dates

Seminar 1

May 25–27, 2021, virtual session (one 5-hour session per day)

Seminar 2

June 15–17, 2021, virtual session (one 5-hour session per day)

Seminar 3

July 13–15, 2021, virtual session (one 5-hour session per day)

Seminar 4

August 17–19, 2021, virtual session (one 5-hour session per day)

Seminar 5

September 23–24, 2021, virtual session (one 5-hour session per day)

HTLA 7 Presentation/Graduation Ceremony

Thursday, September 24, 2021, from 3-5 pm (eastern)

Virtual Fellowship

OTIP is committed to the safety and well-being of those participating in the HTLA. Given the current uncertainty about travel restrictions and holding large gatherings, the HTLA Class 7 fellowship will be held virtually.

Please note: Virtual seminars will require access to a computer (laptop or desktop) with internet access, Zoom conferencing software, Google Drive, or Microsoft Office.  


Six positions are prioritized specifically for survivors of human trafficking who do not receive federal or state funding for their work; these individuals are eligible for a monthly stipend of $1,000. The remaining unpaid positions will be dedicated to leaders who combat human trafficking and allied professionals who serve communities of color.

HTLA Class 7: Application Submission and Review Timeline


March 12–April 9, 2021

NHTTAC accepts nominations for potential participants. NHTTAC will contact nominees within 3 business days to request an application.


March 12–April 16, 2021

NHTTAC accepts applications for potential participants.


April 1, 2021, from 1-2 p.m. (eastern)

NHTTAC to hold an Informational Webinar/Live Q&A Session to Discuss the HTLA experience

Tier 1 Review

April 16–17, 2021

NHTTAC reviews all applications to ensure applications are complete and eligibility criteria are met.

Tier 2 Review

April 7–21, 2021

Applications are reviewed by a panel of peers (HTLA alumni).

Tier 3 Review

April 23–May 6, 2021

NHTTAC and OTIP conduct virtual interviews. Applicants who reach Tier 3 will be contacted to schedule an interview by April 22. Interviews will be scheduled from April 23–May 6, 2021.


Applicants who are accepted for this class will be notified by May 10, 2021. Applicants who are not selected will be notified by May 14, 2021. 

HTLA Class 7 Begins

May 25–27, 2021

Seminar 1 begins virtually. Fellows are required to participate in each seminar.

Questions? Review Frequently Asked Questions or email for more information.

Eligibility Criteria

Participation in this fellowship will require flexibility, self-care, mindfulness, introspection, openness, and a willingness to embrace challenges. Fellows should have a desire to develop their leadership skills, build their professional network, and work with a diverse team with various lived experiences and professional expertise to develop recommendations for the Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) and other agencies who work within communities of color. Because this fellowship requires remote capability, OTIP will work to ensure that a safe space and on-call support is provided during each session.

Applicants must have:  

  • Eligibility to work in the United States (U.S. citizens and noncitizens who are authorized to work in the United States are encouraged to apply)
  • A minimum of 3–4 years of professional and/or lived experience in a career that enables them to contribute to the project question 
  • At least 3–5 years since trafficking lived experience if the individual identifies as a survivor or identifies as having lived experience with human trafficking  
  • The ability to self-identify potential challenges and triggers that may occur when working as a fellow and develop and maintain effective self-care strategies 
  • The ability to contribute and collaborate in a group setting, both in person and virtually
  • Access to technology to participate virtually and complete intercession assignments: computer (laptop or desktop) with internet access, Zoom conferencing software, and Google Drive or Microsoft Office

Applicants cannot:  

  • Be currently involved in any active criminal or civil cases 
  • Be a former Human Trafficking Leadership Academy participant
  • Miss any seminars without an excused absence (medical or family)

Questions? Review Frequently Asked Questions or send an email to for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Fellows must attend all seminars. Fellows should expect to work 2–4 hours per week between seminars.

This a competitive program and class size is limited to 12 participants. Applicants are encouraged to reapply in the future if they meet the eligibility requirements. 

No, you are not required to disclose this information. Each fellow is welcome to share anything they would like about their personal and professional experience. Additionally, we ask that other fellows do not disclose another participant's personal experiences.

The information you put in your bio will be seen by other fellows as part of the onboarding process.

Yes, you may apply if you have expertise that can support the development of recommendations within a group setting.

A limited number of fellowships are prioritized for survivors of human trafficking who do not receive federal or state funding for their work. These individuals are eligible for a monthly stipend of $1,000. 

Lodging and airfare are paid for in advance by the National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Center (NHTTAC). Fellows are reimbursed for meals and ground travel.

HTLA organizers are closely monitoring public health guidance on travel restrictions, holding large gatherings, and other conditions to determine whether future HTLA classes will include in-person or virtual attendance options.

Please note: Virtual seminars require access to a computer with internet access, the ability to download Zoom conferencing software, and the ability to access Google Drive or Microsoft Office.

Find information on previous classes, including their recommendations, on our Human Trafficking Leadership Academy page. 

Email to join the NHTTAC mailing list for email updates on the HTLA and other fellowship and scholarship opportunities.

OTIP is a federal program office within the Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families. OTIP's mission is to combat human trafficking by supporting and leading systems that prevent trafficking through public awareness and protect victims through identification and assistance, helping them rebuild their lives and become self-sufficient.

NHTTAC is a service of OTIP funded to deliver training and technical assistance to inform and enhance the public health response to human trafficking.

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