Katherine Chon is the founding director of the Office on Trafficking in Persons (OTIP) and senior advisor on human trafficking at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). OTIP is part of the HHS Administration for Children and Families, responsible for developing strategies and implementing programs to prevent trafficking, increase victim identification and access to services, and strengthen the health and well-being of survivors. OTIP also collaborates with government and nongovernment partners to raise public awareness, identify research priorities, and inform policy recommendations to strengthen the Nation’s public health response to human trafficking.
As director, Katherine leads the office and determines certification and eligibility for survivors of human trafficking who may be eligible for refugee benefits and services. She is the federal executive officer of the National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the U.S. As senior advisor, Katherine serves on multiple committees under the Senior Policy Operating Group of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. She serves on other related federal inter-agency working groups on violence against women, child exploitation, and Native American affairs.
Prior to her government service in 2012, Katherine was the co-founder and President of Polaris, establishing the global organization’s innovative programs to assist survivors of human trafficking, expand anti-trafficking policies, and fundamentally change the way local communities respond to modern slavery.
Katherine received a Master of Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Brown University, and a certificate in Executive Nonprofit Leadership from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Carolyn Hightower is OTIP’s Deputy Director, where she supports trafficking victim services programs, training and technical assistance efforts, and public awareness activities. She has devoted much of her career to crime victims' issues and services and has extensive experience in policy development, program planning and implementation, and management and supervision. From 1984 to 2007, she served at the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime as Principal Deputy Director. She was assigned responsibility for coordinating the delivery of victim services during the Oklahoma City bombing, assisting with the victim response to the East Africa Embassy Bombing, and developing the guidelines for the Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Fund including the compensation assistance for victims of terrorism.
For nearly a decade, she lived and worked abroad with her family in Chile, Colombia, and Mexico. She served as a Contracting Officer in Bogota, Colombia, and as a Rule of Law Program Analyst in Mexico City, Mexico.
Carolyn received a Master of Public Administration with a concentration in Judicial Administration from the University of Southern California.