Mollie Thorsen

Mollie Thorsen headshot
U.S. Director of Advocacy, A21

Mollie Thorsen is a part of the A21 D.C. founding team as U.S. director of advocacy.

Thorsen hosts the annual D.C. Walk For Freedom, mobilizing thousands of people throughout Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of human trafficking. In addition, she leads A21’s Can You See Me? campaign, implemented in transportation hubs across the U.S.

She is co-founder and COO of The Little Burros, a manufacturing company that creates innovative garden tools. It was named a top garden tool by Popular Mechanics, Newsday, International Business Times, Sunset magazine, among others, and was awarded the Bronze in International Design Awards. In honor of her late sister Becca’s advocacy, The Little Burros donates a portion of all sales to A21 to fight human trafficking.

Thorsen holds a bachelor’s degree in art history, criticism, and conservation from Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, Virginia.

Latest Events

Guest Speaker

The Countering Human Trafficking Event

An event summary
human trafficking Event Header Graphic

 

Mollie Thorsen, A21

 

Stephanie Olson, The Set Me Free Project

 

Elisabeth Barna, American Trucking Associations


In an interconnected world, human trafficking is a global problem that touches many industries and business relationships. Traffickers rely on the transportation and hospitality sectors for moving and controlling victims and delivering them for commercial sex or forced labor, giving these sectors a critical role as the first line of defense.

On September 24, 2019, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce held the Countering Human Trafficking event to highlight how employers are leading efforts to raise education and awareness to fight human trafficking. It’s not just good business practice, but it’s the right thing to do.  

Ambassador Catherine Todd Bailey, chair of the Department of Transportation Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking, said that the private sector is empowered to lead the fight against this heinous crime based on financial resources and civic leadership. She stressed that businesses cannot do this work alone—they need to partner with governments and non-governmental organizations.

A21’s Can You See Me? campaign, consisting of billboards, posters, and videos, helps the public recognize human trafficking indicators and report suspicious scenarios. Gary L. McCarthy, bureau chief at the Arizona Department of Transportation, discussed a holistic approach, including psychological and medical resources, for human trafficking survivors.

Sinead Bovell, founder and CEO of Weekly Advice for the Young Entrepreneur (WAYE), moderated a discussion with technology experts from Thomson Reuters, IDEMIA North America, and The George Washington University. Panelists emphasized how the convergence of facial recognition software, blockchain, and artificial intelligence help law enforcement identify victims and survivors, noting, however, that the development of these technologies may be biased against racial minorities.    

Additional initiatives provided by companies in the hospitality and transportation sectors include the following:

  • UPS has teamed up with Truckers Against Trafficking to train drivers to spot signs of sex trafficking.
  • Marriott has joined forces with EPCAT-USA and Polaris to train more than 600,000 associates globally at managed and franchised hotels. The hotel chain has collaborated with on-site property associates to develop everyday tools and educational resources such as signage and posters.

Kalyn Stephens at the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Jordan Heiliczer at the Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Inc. discussed how hoteliers play an important role in coordinating with law enforcement and continuing workforce training.

Through these efforts, industries are among the driving forces in eradicating human trafficking.


Event Agenda

 

Welcoming Remarks

Glenn Spencer, Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Keynote: Empowering Industry to Combat Human Trafficking Now

Ambassador Catherine Todd Bailey, Chair, Department of Transportation, Advisory Committee on Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking and the Transportation Sector: Elevating Awareness, Recovery, and Prevention

Nicole “Nikki” Clifton, Vice President, UPS Global Public Affairs, UPS

Mollie Thorsen, U.S. Director of Advocacy, A21

Gary L. McCarthy, Bureau Chief, Enforcement and Compliance Division, Arizona Department of Transportation

Elisabeth Barna, Executive Vice President, Industry Affairs, and Senior Adviser to the President and CEO, American Trucking Associations (ATA)

Moderated by: Ed MortimerVice President, Transportation and Infrastructure, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Hotel Industry Leading With a Unified Approach

Kalyn Stephens, Vice President of Government Affairs, American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA)

Jordan Heiliczer, Senior Director, Government & Political Affairs, Asian American Hotel Owners Association, Inc. (AAHOA)

Erin Neill, Manager, Government and Public Affairs, Marriott International

Moderated by: Glenn Spencer, Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Tech for Good: Facing Up to Reality, Blockchain, and AI

Rob McGinnis, Analyst Manager, Thomson Reuters Special Services LLC

Zara Roberts Gerald, Senior Vice President and General Counsel, IDEMIA North America

Robert Pless, Ph.D., Patrick and Donna Martin Endowed Professor and Chair of Computer Science, The George Washington University

Moderated by: Sinead Bovell, M.B.A., Hons. B.B.A. Finance, Founder and CEO, Weekly Advice for the Young Entrepreneur (WAYE)

Keynote: Can We Prevent Sex Trafficking?

Stephanie Olson, CEO and President, The Set Me Free Project

Closing Remarks

Glenn Spencer, Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce