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Vanessa Bouché - Texas Christian University. Fort Worth, TX, US

Vanessa Bouché Vanessa Bouché

Associate Professor | Texas Christian University


Vanessa Bouché's research is at the intersection of political psychology and public policy, with a particular focus on human trafficking.





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Professor Vanessa Bouche speaks about Human Trafficking Databases Vanessa Bouché, Ph.D. - Dallas Women's Foundation 2018 Young Leader Award Recipient Vanessa Bouché Human Trafficking Panel Combatting Human Trafficking- #TCUGivesDay




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

Human Trafficking, Domestic and Transnational

Public Policy

American Politics

Women & Politics

Identity Politics

Political Psychology

Public Opinion

America and Texas Government

Education (4)

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

Affiliations (9)

  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Illicit massage parlors prolific and lucrative, study finds

Chron  online


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.

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‘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.

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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.

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9,000 massage parlors in the U.S. are trafficking women

BuzzFeed  print


Thousands of massage parlors across the U.S. are acting as hubs for human trafficking and prostitution, raking in $2.5 billion a year.

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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.

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Articles (5)

Identifying Effective Counter-Trafficking Programs and Practices in the U.S.: Legislative, Legal, and Public Opinion Strategies that Work

US Department of Justice: NCJRS

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.

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Human Trafficking and International Development: Expanding the Role of USAID

Journal of International and Comparative Law

Vanessa Bouché

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.

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Gendered diffusion on gendered issues: the case of human trafficking

Journal of Public Policy

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.

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A report on the use of technology to recruit, groom and sell domestic minor sex trafficking victims


Vanessa Bouché

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.

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Migration, Prostitution, and Human Trafficking: The Voice of Chinese Women

Contemporary Sociology: A Journal of Reviews

Vanessa Bouché


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