CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) – A Wyoming lawyer was recently recognized by USA Today as one of the “Women of the Year”. Ashleigh Chapman is the President and CEO of the Alliance for Freedom, Restoration and Justice (AFRJ).
Ashleigh works as a human rights lawyer, and made the decision to dedicate her life to be an advocate at a young age.
“I dedicated my life to it then, I just went to my parents are said, ‘I think I need to be a lawyer, this is what I think I am on this planet to do,’ so that is sort of my catalyst moment,” said Chapman.
Ashleigh was selected as one of the 60 women recognized nationwide. She does not know who nominated her, but is honored to have been selected.
“As far as I’m concerned, it is a team award,” Chapman said. “We just have amazing humans on our team, and amazing women, especially, who have been spearheading leadership on all of these things.”
The work her and her team have done to combat human trafficking goes beyond the state of Wyoming.
“When we don’t know all of the different ways that human trafficking really does happen, especially in this country, then we are missing seeing it in our own communities.”
A member of Wyoming’s Human Trafficking Task Force, Chapman said awareness is increasing in the Cowboy State, but resources are lacking for training, identification and reintegration for victims.
Ashleigh has trained law enforcement, healthcare personnel and concerned citizens to be able to identify the signs of trafficking.
“When communities are strong, vulnerabilities are less, which decreases the likelihood of such a thing as human trafficking from happening,” Chapman said.
In addition to education and outreach, Chapman is a burgeoning entrepreneur.
The University of Wyoming’s Impact 307, an incubator for new businesses and entrepreneurs, helped develop Chapman’s business, Altus Solutions.
As a business-alternative to fundraising, the business-side uses tech and education to bring in funds for the non-profit-side.
“We could power, scale these solutions through impact investments in a business skin that would create an ROI [Return On Investment] for investors, but the profits of the company would be continually poured over into building solutions that help people who are hurting,” said Chapman.
Chapman said she hopes the concept will spark a movement in the cowboy state.
“It’s a big idea, it’s kind of a pioneering one, so I thank you, Wyoming, for having that spirit too. It has not really been done before, and we are pretty excited to see what it will look like on the other side.”
You can take a free, one hour human trafficking awareness course here.