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Project Information

Project Information

Approaches to Estimating the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in the United States: A Workshop

Project Scope:

A steering committee will plan and execute a public 1.5 to 2-day workshop on approaches to estimating the prevalence of human trafficking in the U.S. by exploring recent developments and innovative methods to measure this hard to reach and often hidden population.  The workshop will bring together statisticians, survey methodologists, demographers and researchers who have studied this group, as well as public health and other experts who have experience with innovative data collection methods as well as experience with data collection in rare or hard to reach populations. 

Specifically, the workshop will explore:

• Statistical methods successfully applied to estimating the prevalence of human trafficking in other countries, such as the UK and the Netherlands.

• Innovative methodologies applied to estimate the prevalence of human trafficking in specific areas of the U.S., including Texas, San Diego, and several major cities in the U.S. 

• Sampling methods, including time location sampling and respondent driven sampling, which have been used to study other rare or hard-to-reach populations, such as homeless persons and people who use intravenous drugs. 

• Definitional and measurement issues in estimating human trafficking through survey questions and administrative records systems. 

• Methodological and ethical issues in attempting to estimate the prevalence of human trafficking in the U.S.

The steering committee will define the specific topics to be addressed, develop the agenda, and select and invite speakers and other participants. After the workshop, a proceedings and workshop-in-brief of the presentations and discussions will be prepared by a designated rapporteur in accordance with institutional guidelines.

Status: Current


RSO: Harris-Kojetin, Brian


Behavioral and Social Sciences
Surveys and Statistics

Geographic Focus:

Committee Membership

David L. Banks - (Chair)
DAVID L. BANKS is professor of the practice of statistics at Duke University. Prior to this, he worked for the National Institute of Standards and Technology, served as chief statistician of the U.S. Department of Transportation, and worked for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Dr. Banks was coordinating editor of the Journal of the American Statistical Association, and co-founded the journal Statistics and Public Policy and the American Statistical Association's Section on National Defense and Homeland Security. He served as president of the Classification Society, and has twice served on the board of directors of the American Statistical Association. He is currently president of the International Society for Business and Industrial Statistics, and fellow of the American Statistical Association and the Institute of Mathematical Statistics. Dr. Banks recently won the American Statistical Association's Founders Award. His research areas include models for dynamic networks, dynamic text networks, adversarial risk analysis (i.e., Bayesian behavioral game theory), human rights statistics, agent-based models, forensics, and certain topics in high-dimensional data analysis. He has a B.A. degree in anthropology from the University of Virginia, M.S. degrees in mathematics and statistics from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a Ph.D. in statistics also from the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Roy Ahn
ROY AHN is principal research scientist in the Health Care Department at NORC. He has worked for 20 years at the intersection of program leadership and research in the areas of health policy, nonprofit/civil society organization management and strategy, and public health innovation. Prior to joining NORC, Dr. Ahn served as the founding associate director of the Division of Global Health and Human Rights in the Massachusetts General Hospital’s Department of Emergency Medicine, where he designed, implemented, and evaluated health programs in nearly a dozen countries (e.g., South Sudan, Kenya, Zambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, the U.S.). He also served as a full-time faculty member at Harvard Medical School between 2009 and 2015, most recently as assistant professor of emergency medicine. Dr. Ahn has deep expertise in the field of human rights and health, having served as a planning meeting member of the Institute of Medicine’s Multi-Sectoral Group on Child Exploitation in Tourism; the Administration for Children and Families’ Office on Trafficking in Persons SOAR National Technical Working Group; and the UK government-funded Humanitarian Innovation Fund Global Advisory Board on Gender-Based Violence. He has an MPH from Yale University, and a Sc.M. and Sc.D. from Harvard University.
Katherine Chon
KATHERINE CHON is the founding director of the Office on Trafficking in Persons within the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). She advises the assistant secretary by providing subject matter expertise and overall leadership of anti-trafficking activities under the purview of ACF. Prior to her position at HHS, she was the co-founder and president of Polaris, establishing the global organization’s innovative programs to assist individuals who have experienced trafficking, and change the way communities respond to modern slavery. She has a B.Sc. degree in psychology from Brown University, and an MPA from Harvard Kennedy School.
Davina P. Durgana
DAVINA DURGANA is a report co-author of the Global Slavery, a senior statistician at the Walk Free Foundation, and an assistant professor at the School for International Training in Washington, DC. She was named the 2016 Statistical Advocate of the Year by the American Statistical Association and as a Forbes Top 30 under 30 in Science for 2017 for her work on statistical modeling, human security theory, and modern slavery. Dr. Durgana is a report author and statistician on the Global Slavery Index of the Walk Free Foundation. Her current work focuses on constructing modern slavery models and profiling vulnerability to this crime in the United States and around the world. In 2013, Dr. Durgana was selected as a Google Fellow for Technology and Social Change for her work in human trafficking and technology and was awarded the Trafficking in America Task Force Award for Service for her contributions to the anti-trafficking field in the United States. She has a B.A. degree from the George Washington University, an M.A. degree from the Sorbonne and the American University of Paris, and a Ph.D. from American University.
Megan Price
MEGAN PRICE is executive director of the Human Rights Data Analysis Group, where she designs strategies and methods for statistical analysis of human rights data for projects in a variety of locations including Guatemala, Colombia, and Syria. Her work in Guatemala includes serving as the lead statistician on a project in which she analyzes documents from the National Police Archive; she has also contributed analyses submitted as evidence in two court cases in Guatemala. Dr. Price’s work in Syria includes serving as the lead statistician and author on three reports, commissioned by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, on documented deaths in that country. She is a member of the Technical Advisory Board for the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, member of the Board of Directors for Tor, and research fellow at the Carnegie Mellon University Center for Human Rights Science. Dr. Price is the human rights editor for the Statistical Journal of the International Association for Official Statistics and serves on the editorial board of Significance Magazine. She has B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees in statistics from Case Western Reserve University, and a Ph.D. in biostatistics and a certificate in human rights from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.
Bernard W. Silverman
SIR BERNARD SILVERMAN is professor of modern slavery statistics for the Rights Lab at the University of Nottingham (UK). He is a statistician whose research has ranged widely across theoretical and practical aspects of statistics. The focus has been on computational statistics, researching the ways that computing power has changed our ability to collect, analyze, understand and utilize data. Dr. Silverman spent seven years as chief scientific adviser to the Home Office. He has written and co-written several publications on modern slavery, including a paper entitled Model fitting in Multiple Systems Analysis for the quantification of Modern Slavery: Classical and Bayesian approaches (Rights Lab, 2018). His current research portfolio encompasses modern slavery, security, official statistics, research integrity, and science and technology for policy and government. He has an M.A. degree in mathematics, and a Ph.D. and a Sc.D., both from the University of Cambridge.
Sheldon X. Zhang
SHELDON ZHANG is professor of criminology and justice at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. Dr. Zhang has been conducting research on transnational human trafficking and smuggling activities for two decades. He has published two books on human smuggling/trafficking related topics: Chinese Human Smuggling Organizations—Families, Social Networks, and Cultural Imperatives (Stanford University Press, 2008) and Smuggling and Trafficking in Human Beings: All Roads Lead to America (Praeger, 2007). Dr. Zhang edited/co-edited two special volumes on research on human trafficking: (1) Global Perspectives on Sex Trafficking (Crime, Law, and Social Change Vol. 56, 2011), and (2) a special issue on human trafficking research for The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. His research has led to numerous publications in the Journals of Criminology; British Journal of Criminology; Crime, Law and Social Change; and Global Crime. He has an M.A. degree in print journalism and criminology, and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.



National Academy of Sciences Building
2101 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20418
Event Type :  

Description :   

An ad hoc planning committee will hold a two-day public workshop on Estimating the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in the United States. The workshop will explore:

  • Definitional, measurement, and methodological issues in attempting to estimate the prevalence of human trafficking in the U.S.
  • Statistical methods successfully applied to estimating the prevalence of human trafficking in other countries, such as the UK and the Netherlands.
  • Innovative methodologies applied to estimate the prevalence of human trafficking in specific areas and major cities in the U.S.
  • Sampling methods, including time location sampling and respondent driven sampling, which have been used to study other rare or hard-to-reach populations.

Registration for Online Attendance :

Registration for in Person Attendance :

If you would like to attend the sessions of this event that are open to the public or need more information please contact

Contact Name:  Ellie Grimes
Contact Email:
Contact Phone:  (202) 334-3459

Supporting File(s)
Is it a Closed Session Event?

Publication(s) resulting from the event: