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Valerie Schmitt

Advisory Services Manager
Advisory Services

Valerie Schmitt, MSW is a Manager in Polaris's Advisory Services team. In this role she provides trainings and consultations to government and non-governmental organizations. Valerie’s expertise includes social service coordination and systems improvement for programs serving trafficking survivors, with an emphasis on child welfare, LGBTQ survivor services, and cross-cultural engagement.

In her role at Polaris, Valerie has conducted trainings and developed learning materials for child welfare systems, runaway and homeless youth providers, healthcare leaders, and law enforcement. Valerie is also responsible for the development of resources and tools on various human trafficking topics for Polaris and the National Human Trafficking Resource Center. Trained in adult learning theory and trauma-informed care, Valerie works with partner agencies and external stakeholders to evaluate service processes, improve outcomes for survivors of trafficking, and increase employee competency in engaging with individuals who have been trafficked.

Prior to joining Polaris, Valerie coordinated a human trafficking assistance program in Indiana, where she led community outreach and engagement efforts in addition to direct services for survivors of trafficking.  Valerie has extensive experience working cross culturally, through the development of a refugee women’s empowerment program and serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the People’s Republic of China. Valerie earned a Master's in Social Work degree from Indiana University, with a concentration in organizational leadership and macro practice, and holds a B.A. in Psychology from Taylor University.

Blog Posts by Valerie Schmitt

Healthcare Providers Play a Crucial Role in Victim Identification

Healthcare Providers Play a Crucial Role in Victim Identification

Valerie Schmitt |November 03, 2016

Healthcare providers are in a unique position to identify victims and provide them with support, but one study found that less than 5% of emergency department personnel were trained how to recognize signs of human trafficking.

How your community can stop the trafficking of homeless LGBTQ youth

Valerie Schmitt |May 06, 2016

A lack of safe housing is a leading risk factor for sex trafficking. LGBTQ youth can be at an increased risk because they may face unique circumstances that lead to homelessness.