Dr. Kirsten Foot earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego, and is a Professor of Communication at the University of Washington with affiliate or adjunct faculty appointments in UW’s Information School, Jackson School of International Studies, and Center for Human Rights.  With expertise in inter-organizational relations and multimethod research, Dr. Foot is committed to publicly-oriented, practice-informed, collaborative scholarship.  She has published four books, and over 50 journal articles and book chapters, including open access articles on counter-trafficking efforts published by the Law Enforcement Executive Forum, the Journal of Human Trafficking, and the InterSector Project.  Her latest book, Collaborating Against Human Trafficking: Cross-Sector Challenges and Practices, received the 2016 Sue DeWine Distinguished Book Award from the Applied Communication Division of the National Communication Association.  Her current research interests include counter-trafficking coalitions in Global South nations, practice-based theories of collaboration, organizing processes, and the evolving relationship between technologies and society.  Dr. Foot advises anti-trafficking coalitions, offers consultations on multisector collaboration, and curates a collection of resources for cross-sector collaboration.  For more info, check out her faculty page, find her on LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @KirstenFoot.

Rachel Thomas, M.Ed., graduated from UCLA with a Masters in Education and is a personal survivor of human trafficking. She has extensive experience teaching, training, curriculum writing, public speaking and mentoring. As Executive Director of Sowers Education Group, she has educated and inspired a wide range of audiences including teens, social service providers, churches, teachers, college students, and law enforcement. Sowers’ intervention curriculum Ending The Game is being used by over 170 facilitators in 8 states and helps survivors break the bonds of attachment to traffickers and the trafficking lifestyle. Since 2012, Ms. Thomas has reached over 36,000 live audience members and millions more through numerous media outlets including The T.D. Jakes Show, The New York Times Upfront Magazine and ABC’s Newsmakers. Ms. Thomas was also honored by Congressman Ed Royce of California’s 39th district and Los Angeles Supervisor Don Knabe for her leadership and trafficking prevention efforts.



Susan Abrams, J.D., is the Policy Director at Children’s Law Center of California.  A graduate of Harvard Law School, Ms. Abrams began her legal career in 2005 implementing an Equal Justice Works Fellowship aimed at reducing the rate of dependent youth entering the juvenile justice system.  Following her fellowship, she represented children in all aspects of their dependency court proceedings in Los Angeles Superior Court.  In April 2011, Ms. Abrams transitioned from the courtroom to focus on macro level policy work.  She develops and strategizes public policy priorities and legislative advocacy efforts at the local and state levels to benefit children in the foster care system.  She has assisted in the successful passage of significant legislation, including Senate Bill 1322 (2015), which made the crimes of solicitation and loitering with intent to commit prostitution inapplicable to minors.  Ms. Abrams has served as leadership on the California Child Welfare Council’s Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (“CSEC”) Action Team and is a member of the Los Angeles County CSEC Steering Committee.  Her scholarly work includes:

arunkumaracharya_profileArun Kumar Acharya, Ph.D., is a Professor and Researcher at la Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Monterrey, Mexico for the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales (Institute of Social Investigations), where he is currently focusing on the perspectives and implications of internal and international migration with regard to human trafficking.  For the last five years, he has been the Coordinator for the UANL Doctorate Program and Human Resources Training.  Dr. Acharya has published four books and several journal articles on human trafficking and migration.  He is part of the editorial advisory board of the French Journal Revista de Cercetare si Interventie Sociala and the Mexican Journal Trayectorias: Revista de Ciencias Sociales.  His scholarly work includes:

Kelle Barrick, Ph.D., is a Research Criminologist in the Center for Justice, Safety, and Resilience at RTI International, a nonprofit research institute dedicated to improving the human condition.  Dr. Barrick has been awarded numerous federal and private grants, including two current projects focused on human trafficking.  One is funded by the National Institute of Justice and seeks to estimate the prevalence of labor trafficking among migrant farmworkers in North Carolina and to explore the severity and types of victimization they endure.  The other is from the State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons and supports the implementation of training among law enforcement and prosecutors to combat trafficking in Tanzania.  Dr. Barrick has presented internationally at Criminology conferences and has participated in expert working groups on trafficking research hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the United Kingdom Home Office, and the National Institute of Justice.  She has published numerous articles on human trafficking, sexual violence, and other issues surrounding crime and the criminal justice system.  Her scholarly work includes:

Vanessa Bouché, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University.  Dr. Bouché has been a co-PI on several federally-funded projects on human trafficking from the US Department of Justice (DOJ) and USAID.  She has developed datasets of human trafficking prosecutions in the US at both the state and federal levels, and is the PI behind, an open-access, searchable database of federal human trafficking cases in the US.  Dr. Bouché has conducted public opinion research on human trafficking in the US, Moldova, and Albania, and has also designed and deployed trauma-informed surveys with survivors of human trafficking in the US and Honduras.  Her research employs rigorous and diverse methodologies to inform empirically-based policy solutions to combat human trafficking, and she is passionate about connecting people and data to advance freedom around the globe. Dr. Bouché’s research has been published in Journal of Politics, Journal of Public Policy, Politics & Gender, and Women & Criminal Justice. She has also published several reports with government agencies and NGOs.​  Her scholarly work includes:

makinichisolm-straker_profileMakini Chisolm-Straker, MPH, M.D., is an Assistant Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and emergency medicine physician at Mount Sinai Brooklyn.  Dr. Chisolm-Straker serves on the US Department of Health and Human Services’ Technical Working Group for the SOAR initiative, sits on the Advisory Board of ECPAT-USA, and is a co-founder and the Secretary and Treasurer of the Board of Directors for HEAL.  She has worked clinically, administratively and as a consultant all over the world, and volunteers at the Libertas Center for Human Rights in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York, providing medical affidavits for those seeking asylum in the United States.  Her scholarly work includes:

austinchoi-fitzpatrick_profileAustin Choi-Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., is a political sociologist at the University of San Diego, where he is on the faculty at the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.  His new book What Slaveholders Think (Columbia University Press, 2017) explores the ways contemporary slaveholders think and talk about exploitation and emancipation.  Surprisingly, slaveholders often insist that they had their victim’s best interest at heart.  Choi-Fitzpatrick’s rare access to a stigmatized population provides insights into how people feel when they get stuck on the wrong side of history.  Prior to academia, Choi-Fitzpatrick worked at Free the Slaves, an anti-slavery advocacy group.  His work on slavery and trafficking can be found in the Journal of Human Rights, Social Movement Studies, Prism, Tikkun, and in an edited volume with the University of Pennsylvania Press.  His scholarly work includes:

Thérèse Couture, M.S., is a data analyst with Polaris, a D.C.-based global organization helping to lead the fight to eradicate modern slavery and restore freedom to survivors. As part of Polaris’ Data Analysis Program, she analyzes data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline and the BeFree Textline operated by Polaris. She also works to identify external data sources and synthesize these with hotline data in order to build up increasingly accurate and detailed pictures of human trafficking trends and networks across North America. This data serves to help identify where and how traffickers operate in order to keep them from harming more people, and in order to help survivors connect with the services they need.  She authored the reports: Knocking at Your Door: Labor Trafficking on Sales Crews and More Than Drinks for Sale: Sex Trafficking in U.S. Cantinas and Bars.

Jamie Gates, MDiv, Ph.D., is a cultural anthropologist and the Director of Point Loma Nazarene University’s Center for Justice and Reconciliation.  He co-chairs the Research and Data Committee of the San Diego County Advisory Council on Human Trafficking and CSEC.  Dr. Gates founded and directs the Human Trafficking Research and Data Advisory Roundtable (HT-RADAR) for San Diego County.  He led PLNU in establishing the Beauty for Ashes Scholarship Fund for survivors of human trafficking seeking their college degree.  He is leading an effort to design and implement a drama-based peer-to-peer human trafficking awareness training in San Diego’s middle and high schools.  He has served as an expert witness on human trafficking legislation.  He also serves as faith-based organizer with regional and national faith-based organizations.  He focuses on issues of immigration and human trafficking.  His scholarly work includes:

Melissa Labriola, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of Research for the Center for Court Innovation (CCI). She currently serves as the project director on CCI’s national study of prosecutor-led diversion programs and PI on a national survey of police-led diversion programs. Dr. Labriola also served as PI on a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of intensive judicial monitoring with domestic violence offenders in Monroe County, NY; and PI on a statewide evaluation of specialized domestic violence courts in New York. She was also project director on an earlier RCT testing the impact of batterer programs in the Bronx; project director on a national survey of court responses to domestic violence offender noncompliance; and project director on a national study of domestic violence courts. Dr. Labriola is also currently PI on the research components of two BJA-funded SMART Defense projects, one with the San Francisco Public Defender’s Office and one with the NYC Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice.

Laura J. Lederer, J.D. founded and directed The Protection Project at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997. From 2001 to 2009, she served as Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons to Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Paula J. Dobriansky, and then Senior Director of Global Projects in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons at the U.S. Department of State.

From 2001 to 2009, she was also the Executive Director of the Senior Policy Operating Group on Trafficking in Persons, a high-level policy group that staffed the President’s cabinet-level Inter-agency Task Force on Trafficking in Persons. In 2010, Ms. Lederer founded Global Centurion, a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating modern slavery by focusing on the demand side of the problem – the perpetrators, exploiters, buyers, and end-users of human beings, seeking to prevent modern slavery at its source.

Under her leadership, Global Centurion has developed significant demand-focused research and programs, including sector specific trainings for the U.S. Department of Defense; designed and conducted innovative research on the health consequences of human trafficking and on the link between organized crime and human trafficking; provided cutting-edge education, awareness and advocacy training to communities, civic leaders, NGOs, law enforcement and at-risk populations; and established partnerships and collaborative networks to respond to modern slavery.  Her scholarly work includes:

Kris Lugo, Ph.D., is a recent graduate in Justice, Law and Criminology from American University in Washington, D.C. Her dissertation was titled, “The Ties that Bind: A Social Network Analysis of a Large Gang Sex Trafficking Network in a U.S. State.” She researches human trafficking, organized crime, access to justice/criminal justice reform, victimization, and comparative criminal justice system development. Her focus is on policy-relevant research that can immediately be applied in practice. Dr. Lugo has worked on various diverse research projects, including the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing; an assessment of organized crime for the Dutch Rapporteur; numerous projects related to human trafficking, organized crime and countering violent extremism as a fellow with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ); and more. Most recently, she worked with CSR, Incorporated on performance measurement of victim services for the Office for Victims of Crime. She now works as a Research Associate with Justice Research and Statistics Association in D.C. where she is the lead on a couple of new NIJ grants.

Dominique Roe-Sepowitz, MSW, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Arizona State University.  She received her MSW from the Tucson ASU campus and her Ph.D. from Florida State University.  Dr. Roe-Sepowitz has extensive clinical experience working with sexually abused children and adults and has been trained on trauma reduction techniques including EMDR.  She has worked as a private practitioner as well as provided a psychoeducation group to women in many settings (prisons, residential programs, women’s resource center and diversion program).  Dr. Roe-Sepowitz is currently providing the group (named Esuba) at the Prostitution Diversion Program and supervising an Esuba group at a residential treatment program for adolescent girls who have been sexually exploited.  She is a original board member of the National Research Consortium on Commercial Sexual Exploitation and has presented nationally at Social Work and Criminology conferences, as well as the Toledo Conference on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking.  Dr. Roe-Sepowitz  has published numerous articles about mental health and delinquency, prostitution and exiting challenges, and the mental health needs of women and youth in the correctional system.  Her scholarly work includes:

hannistoklosa_profileHanni Stoklosa, MPH, M.D., is an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital with appointments at Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.  She is the Executive Director of the Board of Directors for HEAL.  She has also advised the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Labor, and Institute of Medicine on issues of human trafficking and testified as an expert witness multiple times before the US Congress.  Dr. Stoklosa is a well-recognized investigator, advocate, and speaker focusing on the health of trafficking survivors in the US and internationally.  Moreover, she has conducted research on trafficking and vulnerable populations in a diversity of settings including Australia, China, Egypt, Guatemala, India, Liberia, Nepal, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, South Sudan, Taiwan, and Thailand.  Her scholarly work includes:

Monica Ulibarri, Ph.D., is a researcher, licensed clinical psychologist, and an Associate Professor in the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University, San Diego.  She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Arizona State University.  She has been awarded various grants including an NIMH Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research and the NIH Mentored Research Scientist Development Award.  Two of her more recent studies examine the commercial sexual exploitation of adolescent girls in San Diego County.  One of these studies was funded through a community partnership pilot grant from the UCSD Clinical and Translational Research Institute and specifically looked at the risk factors for the sexual exploitation of adolescent girls.  Dr. Ulibarri’s research focuses on HIV prevention in Latino/a communities, with an emphasis on how individual- and relationship-level factors such as mental health, substance use, history of childhood abuse, intimate partner violence, and sexual relationship power intersect with HIV risk behaviors.  Her scholarly work includes:

lianneurada_profileLianne Urada, MSW, LCSW, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor at San Diego State University in the School of Social Work, with a focus on Community Development within the Macro Social Work track.  As an affiliated core faculty of the UCSD Center on Gender Equity, and Health and a Fordham University Research Ethics Training Institute Alumni Fellow, she has over 25 publications on women and men involved in sex trade and sex trafficking in the Philippines, Russia, and Latin America.  She is currently a Principal Investigator and Co-Investigator on several federally and privately funded grants, including a 5-year National Institutes on Health (National Institute on Drug Abuse) K01 grant and completed an NIH Fogarty International – University of California Global Health Institute GloCal award, both examining community mobilization and its potential to reduce HIV/STI risk and violence among substance using females in the sex trade in Tijuana, Mexico. Her scholarly work includes: