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John Vanek

John Vanek

Board Director

Lt. (Ret.) San Jose Police Human Trafficking Task Force​

John Vanek is a leadership, collaboration, and anti-human trafficking consultant and speaker. John works with a variety of government agencies, law enforcement agencies, non-governmental and community-based organizations, academic institutions and private sector companies. John served 25 years with the San Jose Police Department (retiring in the rank of lieutenant), holds a Master of Arts in Leadership from Saint Mary’s College of California, and is an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of International Policy & Management at the Monterey Institute of International Studies.

John focuses on promoting 21st Century Leadership principles and skills needed for an effective collaborative response to difficult issues. John is a nationally-recognized authority on the response to human trafficking, and managed the San Jose Police Department’s Human Trafficking Task Force from 2006-2011.

John has worked with the United States Department of Justice, Office of the United States Attorneys, California’s Office of the Attorney General, the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, the California District Attorneys Association,, the American Probation and Parole Association, Watch Systems, the Not For Sale Campaign, the Laboratory to Combat Human Trafficking, and other organizations. John was part of the consultant team on the newly updated Office for Victims of Crime/TTAC Human Trafficking Task Force eGuide.

During his career John’s assignments included Special Operations, Training (Firearms & Tactics), Sexual Assault Investigations, Vice, Systems Development, and the Bomb Squad.

Author of The Essential Abolitionist
What is human trafficking? Why are millions enslaved in lives of labor and sex trafficking? How do traffickers control their victims? What are the needs of trafficking victims? Why don't more victims reach out for help? What are the challenges faced by law enforcement? What can I do to help? John Vanek, nationally recognized authority on the response to human trafficking, along with sixteen expert contributors, answers these and other commonly-asked questions about one of the greatest human rights violations today: human trafficking.

The Essential Abolitionist offers context to complex topics, reviews the challenges involved in fighting human trafficking and assisting victims, and examines head-on the myths and misconceptions related to modern slavery. If you are already involved in the response to human trafficking, want to get involved, or simply seek a better understanding of this complex, global issue, The Essential Abolitionist will engage, educate, and inspire.

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