Karen Countryman-Roswurm | Teacher

Karen Countryman-Roswurm is a member of the Kansas Leadership Center Teach Team. She is the founder and executive director of the Center for Combating Human Trafficking (CCHT) and Institute for Transformative Emancipation (ITE), and a tenured Associate Professor in the School of Social Work at Wichita State University (WSU). Karen has more than 25 years of professional practice expertise in movements working to not only end abuse, homelessness, exploitation, trafficking, and the adaptive “ism’s” these issues are often rooted in; but most importantly, promoting holistic healing and prosperity.

A Native Blackfoot (Siksika) woman who remains grounded in her own life experiences of overcoming streets and systems (e.g. child welfare/foster care, criminal/legal judicial systems, etc.), Karen is a transformational leader committed to contemplative, emancipatory practices. Using her various first-hand vantage points, Karen offers pathways to holistic prosperity for individuals, groups, and communities facing abuse, exploitation, and trafficking. Acting as a street outreach worker, program coordinator, therapist, community response organizer, human rights advocate, researcher, educator, capacity builder, and public policy developer, she has walked alongside thousands domestically and internationally. Specifically, Karen has served as a forerunner in the runaway, homeless, and anti-exploitation movements by advancing prevention, intervention, and prosperity-promoting strategies through her Lotus Emancipation ModelTM. She has more than twenty publications and has facilitated thousands of keynotes, workshops, and critical conversations around the globe. Largely known for her advocacy to reduce the criminalization of young people who are runaway/homeless and/or who have survived commercial sexual exploitation, dearest to Karen’s heart are opportunities that reflect her commitment to journey alongside survivors as they step into their true identities.

Karen has served as a subject matter expert at the White House National Convening on Trafficking and Child Welfare and is an Indigenous (Native American) Survivor-Leader Fellow for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance Centers, Human Trafficking Leadership Academy (HTLA). She is the elected Chair of Team Justice, Sedgwick County Juvenile Corrections Advisory Board, and often serves as an expert witness. Karen is the recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Kansan of the Year and the Kansas African American Museum, Martin Luther King Jr. Award.