Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

John Vanek

Adjunct Professor in International Policy and Development

What is it that you are most passionate about?

I am passionate about enhancing leadership and collaboration to make our communities, and our world, a better place.

What do you enjoy most about being a professor at MIIS?

I love the passion and thoughtful engagement MIIS students bring to the classroom and the world.


Anti-trafficking programs and responses to human trafficking on a local (tactical) level, and at the national (strategy) level.

John Vanek retired from the San Jose Police Department after 25 years, in the rank of Lieutenant. From 2006-2011, as part of a U.S. Department of Justice-funded anti-trafficking program, Vanek managed the Human Trafficking Task Force, collaborating with a variety of governmental agencies and NGOs to create a multidisciplinary response to human trafficking in the South Bay Area. As one of the first law enforcement officers involved in the anti-trafficking task force program, John was fortunate to take part in a variety of new efforts as our nation and state have developed responses to modern-day slavery. His expertise was developed on the ground, confronting issues as they were encountered, both at the local (tactical) level, and at the national (strategy) level. Vanek now consults on anti-trafficking activities, leadership, and collaboration for the State of California, the U.S. Department of Justice, NGOs, and sit on a variety of advisory boards.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Since retiring in October 2011, John Vanek has been busy presenting programs related to anti-trafficking efforts and collaboration across the country.
  • John Vanek enjoys working on his own MA in Leadership Studies from Saint Mary’s College of California.


MA, Leadership Studies (Candidate), Saint Mary’s College of California (August 2013)

BA, International Relations, San Francisco State University

Recent Publications

Toward Constructive Engagement between Local Law Enforcement and Nongovernmental Organizations about Human TraffickingToward Constructive Engagement between Local Law Enforcement and Mobilization and Advocacy Nongovernmental Organizations about Human Trafficking: Recommendations for Law Enforcement Executives

Kirsten Foot, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Washington
John Vanek, Anti-Human Trafficking Consultant

Course List

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

NPTG 8549 - Wks:Human Trafficking      

This workshop will examine human trafficking as an emerging public issue, while focusing on the real-world challenges to identifying and rescuing victims, prosecuting traffickers, while also addressing the socio-economic and cultural dynamics that are leveraged by traffickers. This course will focus heavily on the multi-disciplinary, victim-centered approach promoted through international and domestic anti-human trafficking protocols and policies, including the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and the subsequent reauthorizations.

The course will include an examination of relevant existing data, types of trafficking, legal definitions, domestic and international efforts to combat trafficking, challenges faced by law enforcement, the nexus between trafficking and other transnational crime, the role of traditional NGOs and social entrepreneurs, and corporate social responsibility. Finally, we will examine potential career opportunities related to combating human trafficking and the leadership, collaboration and consensus-building skills necessary for success, whether working in the global arena or for a local agency.

Spring 2017 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop, Spring 2018 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

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