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Meet Dr. Angie Henderson | Professor of Sociology

We’re so pumped about our conversation with Dr. Angie Henderson. Dr. Henderson is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Northern Colorado and is also a content partner. Content partners help Voyage in so many ways from spreading the word about the work that we do, sponsoring our mission and collaborating with us on content like this.

Dr. Angie Henderson is a Professor of Sociology at the University of Northern Colorado (UNCO) in Greeley, Colorado. With expertise in both qualitative research design, she has published over 20 peer-reviewed journal articles, 4 book chapters, and a co-authored textbook in its second edition. Her research on bottoms – the second-in-command in a sex trafficking operation – will be published later in 2021 in The Journal of Human Trafficking. She has also given nearly 50 professional presentations at academic conferences. In 2019, she was invited to present at the United Nations’ Commission on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria. Dr. Henderson has expertise in interviewing, focus groups, observational analysis, and content analysis and extensive expertise in studying the experiences of victims and survivors of sex trafficking. In particular, Dr. Henderson has extensive experience using a trauma-informed approach to working with and interviewing victims & survivors of sex trafficking, a very vulnerable population.

Of particular importance is Dr. Henderson’s service to and collaboration with a nationally-serving nonprofit organization dedicated to helping women exit sex trafficking. Dr. Henderson has been actively involved as lead researcher for The Avery Center (formerly Free Our Girls) on data collection efforts, and in this role has advised the organization on data collection and analysis used to inform programming and services.

Check out our conversation with Dr. Henderson below.

We are really excited about your new program Avery Analytics! For folks who might not know about it yet, can you please talk to us about the program and what you are most proud of and excited about?
Avery Analytics is one way our organization translates the research we do into practice. Each month, we provide access to “behind the scenes” work we are doing at The Avery Center for organizations across the globe to use to improve how they interact with victims and survivors, pursue traffickers or intercept/disrupt buyers. One critical issue plaguing the anti-trafficking space is siloed data, best practices, and expertise. Additionally, most organizations working directly with survivors have very limited access to data that academics gather and analyze. Avery Analytics exists to bridge this gap. Our reports can be tailored to a variety of audiences: law enforcement, medical professionals, educators, researchers, court officials, direct service providers, and the community-at-large. Essentially, we identify important trends not only in our own research but in the field in general and produce concise, detailed snapshots of what’s going on nationally, regionally, or in your backyard. There are different tiers you can subscribe to monthly for whatever fits the needs for your organization.

 

Can you talk to us about why data and research are so important in this field?
Data and research are so important in this field because lived experience must inform change, and this requires centering the voices of those who have experienced commercial sexual exploitation. Additionally, research should inform all policy, practice, and important decisions impacting the most vulnerable. Our research is used to reduce demand for commercial sex, convict traffickers, and decrease barriers for marginalized populations through evidence-based services. We believe that the best organizations make data-driven decisions, centering the voices of lived experience experts each step of the way. That’s why we integrate survivors’ lived experiences into every analytical project we take on, to help organizations make informed decisions to intelligently end exploitation.

How can data be beneficial to government, NGOs, faith organizations, and individuals whether they are involved in the issue of commercial sexual exploitation or not?
Commercial sexual exploitation is everywhere, whether we’re always aware of it or not. Anyone interested in anti-trafficking work can benefit from the Avery Analytics because it fosters cross-sector collaboration and data sharing, which is absolutely vital to making a dent in the commercial sex trade and sex trafficking operations.

Thank you so much again for sharing all of this with us. Before we go, can you share with our readers how they can connect with you, learn more or show support?
You can find us on Facebook at The Avery Center for Research & Services, Instagram @theaverycenterorg, and at our website https://theaverycenter.org. If you’re interested in subscribing to Avery Analytics, go to https://theaverycenter.org/research/avery-analytics/ and take a look at our different tiers. There are several tiered options to fit you or your organization’s needs!

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