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Dr. Vanessa Bouché is a teacher-scholar-activist.  Her research and teaching are at the intersection of public policy and political psychology, with a focus on policy diffusion, identity politics, gender and politics, and human trafficking.  Dr. Bouché seeks to connect people and data to advance freedom using cross-disciplinary, cross-methodological approaches that move the needle on complex socio-political problems.

In 1999, Dr. Bouché read The Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen, founder of the International Justice Mission.  In 2003, she spent a summer interning at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala where she witnessed minor sex trafficking first hand during a midnight “tour” with Casa Alianza of the worst zones of Guatemala City.  In 2007, during her Ph.D. program, after having read almost every book published on human trafficking to date and recognizing the need for sound empirical research on the topic, she decided to use her newly-gained skills to explore human trafficking in the United States from an empirical perspective.  And that is what she has been doing for the last 10 years.

Except it has not been that direct.  The study of human trafficking is about violence, greed, poverty, capitalism, public health, transnational organized crime, visa and immigration fraud, child abuse and neglect, misogyny, power, corruption, and discrimination based on gender, race, and ethnicity.  In other words, the study of human trafficking is decidedly complex, and therefore requires a non-linear, non-siloed, and non-conventional approach.

The study of human trafficking is also dark and seemingly intractable.  But Dr. Bouché has hope in the power of the collective human spirit to change the course of history, as it has many times before.  Thus, she seeks to inspire people to live justly by awakening them to the thousand small choices they make every day so that, one day, all will be “free at last.”