I am an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Millikin University and a 2016 Title VIII Summer Research Scholar at the Kennan Institute part of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. I started researching human trafficking in 2007-2008 with a Fulbright research grant to Latvia where I conducted research at the Resource Centre for Women Marta, the leading women’s non-governmental organization and rehabilitation center for trafficking victims in that country. I have a certificate in “Human Trafficking Victim Rehabilitation and Reintegration Institutional Cooperation” from the Latvian Interior Ministry and represented ‘Marta’ at the United Nations General Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN GIFT) Vienna Forum.
I worked as a Human Trafficking Research Assistant at the Institute for Policy and Social Research, has given numerous guest lectures on this topic around the world, and consulted for the BBC World Service and Dutch Radio on human trafficking and sex tourism in Eastern Europe. In 2012-2013 I spent 15 months conducting fieldwork in Ukraine, Latvia, and Russia on human trafficking for her dissertation research which examined policy approaches aimed at addressing human trafficking in the countries of the former Soviet Union.
I am currently working on a book manuscript based on my dissertation entitled “Beyond the Natasha Effect: Determinants of Human Trafficking Policy Variation in the Post-Soviet Region.” In 2015, I was appointed to the Georgia Statewide Human Trafficking Task Force. I received my PhD in Political Science from the University of Kansas in 2014. I also have a Graduate Certificate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, an M.A. in Political Science and from the University of Kansas as well as an M.A. in International Studies focusing on Russian, East European, and Central Asian Studies from the Jackson School of International Studies at the University of Washington. My research has been supported by the Social Science Research Council, Fulbright Program, Rotary Foundation, Kennan Institute, and published in Human Rights Review, Femina Politica, the Feminist Journal of Political Science, and the Journal Teorija in Praksa .