Vanessa Bouché, Ph.D., is associate professor of Political Science at Texas Christian University. Her research is at the intersection of political psychology and public policy, with a particular focus on identity politics and human trafficking.
Bouché has been a principal investigator on several federally-funded human trafficking projects from the Department of Justice and USAID totaling more than $800,000. She is the principle investigator of HumanTraffickingData.org, a searchable database of federally-prosecuted human trafficking cases in the U.S. Bouché has also conducted public opinion research on human trafficking in the U.S., Moldova, and Albania, and designed and deployed trauma informed surveys with survivors of human trafficking in the U.S. and Honduras.
Bouché consults with a variety of organizations, including the McCain Institute and Thorn, and has been an invited speaker by dozens of agencies, including the U.S. Consulates in Mumbai and Kolkata, the U.S. Embassy in Costa Rica and the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime. She serves on the board of directors for two anti-trafficking organizations, Traffick911 and Arcadia, and she is the co-founder of Savhera, an essential oil social enterprise employing sex trafficking survivors in Delhi, India.
Areas of Expertise (9)
Human Trafficking, Domestic and Transnational
Women & Politics
America and Texas Government
The Ohio State University: Ph.D., Political Science 2011
The Ohio State University: MA, Political Science 2007
LBJ School of Public Affairs, The University of Texas at Austin: M.P.Aff., International Affairs 2004
Columbia University: BA, History, Minor in Religion 2001
- Akola Project, Dallas, Texas : Advisory Board Member
- Midwest Political Science Association : Member
- American Political Science Association : Member
- Southern Political Science Association : Member
- Western Political Science Association : Member
- International Society of Political Psychology : Member
- Association of Scholars of Trafficking in Persons, Protection Project : Member
- Board of Directors, Arcadia of North Texas
- Board of Directors, Traffick911
Media Appearances (9)
Former sex workers in Delhi find a ray of hope
The Indian Express online
Called ‘Savhera’, the group has been formed by Vanessa Bouche, in association with NGO Shakti Vahini. DCW chief Swati Maliwal has offered financial assistance and councilling to the survivors.
Attorneys, developer team up to provide $1.2 million in legal aid to Frazier Courts residents
The Dallas Morning News online
Three Dallas trial lawyers and a developer have committed $1.2 million to Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas and the UNT Dallas College of Law to provide free legal services to low-income families in the Frazier Courts area southeast of Fair Park.
Labor Trafficking Victim: "This Happened in the United States"
NBC DFW online
"There's a lot of things in Texas that I think lend itself to labor trafficking," said Dr. Vanessa Bouche, an assistant professor of political science at TCU. Bouche has been researching human trafficking in Texas for almost a decade. She says new construction and agriculture, like produce and livestock, drive Texas' demand for cheap labor.
Status of two women arrested on prostitution charges at Bryan massage parlors still unclear
The Eagle online
Two Bryan massage parlors where women were arrested Friday on prostitution charges appeared to be open Saturday as police continue to investigate.
Illicit massage parlors prolific and lucrative, study finds
Houston hosts hundreds of massage parlors described in sleazy online sex forums like RubMaps.com that generate about $107 million in illicit revenues each year, according to a new study by Vanessa Bouche, a Texas Christian University political science professor and human trafficking expert.
‘Education is key factor in curbing human trafficking’
The Times of India online
Nagpur: The rate of convictions in human trafficking cases in human trafficking cases in India has increased but there is a huge ‘data void’ which means that many of these go unaccounted for.
New Research Estimates Over $100 Million Spent On Illicit Massage Parlors In Houston
Houston Public Media online
Vanessa Bouche is a professor at Texas Christian University. She and her colleague step up cameras outside 32 known massage parlors.
9,000 massage parlors in the U.S. are trafficking women
Thousands of massage parlors across the U.S. are acting as hubs for human trafficking and prostitution, raking in $2.5 billion a year.
Sex traffickers are on many websites; why is police action so rare?
Boston Globe print
Even though law enforcement officials can easily find suspected sex-trafficking operations on so-called John boards, listings on these sites seldom lead to prosecution.
Vanessa Bouche, Amy Farrell, Dana Wittmer
2016 After more than a decade of sustained efforts to combat human trafficking in the United States, it is necessary to step back and examine the effectiveness of key anti-trafficking strategies. Utilizing a multi-method approach, we examine 1) the effectiveness of state-level human trafficking legislation to determine what specific legislative provisions are most effective for obtaining desired outcomes, 2) the characteristics of state prosecutions for human traffickingoffenses to determine how state laws are being used to hold offenders accountable, and 3) what the public knows about human trafficking, why the public holds the beliefs that they do, and what the public expects from government anti-trafficking efforts. Together the three parts of the study inform efforts to develop effective counter-trafficking programs and practices for legislators, law enforcement, the courts, anti-trafficking agencies, and the public.
2014 International development work is inherently antitrafficking work. In the United States, the mission and programs of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) align very closely with the type of initiatives designed to prevent and suppress human trafficking. Despite this, however, the international anti-trafficking work of USAID has been rather limited in scope.
Vanessa Bouché, Dana E. Wittmer
2014 This study aims to identify those factors that impact the comprehensiveness of state human trafficking legislation. To do so, we propose independent effects of policy diffusion and the percentage of females in a state legislature. Building on this framework, we then suggest a process of gendered diffusion, whereby female state legislators represent a unique diffusion network for “women’s interest” issues both within their own legislature, as well as across state networks. Taken together, this paper suggests that, for certain types of new issue areas, the demographic composition of state legislative chambers and the policy diffusion process are conditional on one another. This finding extends the bodies of scholarship concerning descriptive representation and policy diffusion, and presents a novel way to look at the policy-making process.
2015 Thorn’s mission is to drive technology innovation to combat the sexual exploitation of children. In an effort to do this most effectively, Thorn commenced a survivor survey in 2012 to understand the ways in which controllers leverage various technology platforms to recruit, groom and sell domestic minors. The purpose of this report is to disseminate the results of the survivor survey and to inform key anti-trafficking stakeholders in the private, non-profit and public sectors about general trends at the intersection of technology and domestic minor sex trafficking.