Episode 255 | Just Response to Human Trafficking in Native Communities
Pfeffer, R., Tibaduiza, E., Melander, C., Melton, A. P., Martinez, R. (2023, August 11). Just Science. Just Response to Human Trafficking in Native Communities. [Audio podcast episode]. RTI International. https://forensicrti.org/just-science-episode-255/
- Human Trafficking Policy and Research Analyses Project
- VHT-NC Program: An Overview of Participant & Service Characteristics (FY2021-FY2022)
Elizabeth Tibaduiza is a research public health analyst in RTI’s Center for Public Safety and Resilience in the Justice Practice Area with 15 years of experience conducting research and evaluation of initiatives and programs focused broadly on addressing social determinants of health and improving the criminal legal system. Her current projects include research and evaluation on pretrial system improvements, responses to human trafficking in Native communities, responses to labor trafficking, and law enforcement-based victim services. She has primarily worked on projects funded by the National Institute of Justice and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Ms. Tibaduiza is an expert in managing complex, multi-site evaluations and conducting process and outcome evaluations involving quantitative and qualitative data collection across modalities. Ms. Tibaduiza is also experienced in trauma-informed data collection with vulnerable populations and is committed to conducting research that is culturally responsive and incorporates community engagement.
Christina Melander serves as a research public health analyst for RTI, where she specializes in participatory and trauma-informed approaches for research on human trafficking and gender-based violence. Her work includes designing, establishing, and facilitating research advisory councils, novel group or community-based data collection, and research engagement opportunities focused on people who have lived-experience. Additionally, she has extensive experience designing, conducting, and analyzing qualitative and mixed-methods data. Currently, Ms. Melander is involved in multiple projects. These projects include a prevalence study on sex trafficking in Sacramento County, California. She works on an evaluation of programs providing services to Native American victim/survivors of human trafficking and offers technical assistance for projects addressing female genital mutilation/cutting. Before joining RTI in 2021, Ms. Melander was a Research Fellow for the University of Minnesota’s Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center. She is an Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Policy as well, where she teaches a course on community-engaged and participatory research methods and policy advocacy. In addition, Ms. Melander is Spanish proficient.
Ada Pecos Melton (Pueblo of Jemez), MPA, is the President/CEO of American Indian Development Associates, LLC. She has 33 years of experience designing and managing culturally relevant studies involving tribal justice systems and programs. Ada has administrator and practitioner experience working on violence and victimization issues occurring on tribal lands from her work as a chief probation officer and administrator in her early career. The hands-on work enables her to develop and manage culturally relevant tribal studies. She has written numerous project reports, instructional and information materials, and articles. She is the project director and co-research associate for two national victimization studies (one involving Native women and another on Native American human trafficking). These studies are helping tribes understand the causes and correlates of crime, violence, and victimization occurring in tribal communities by and against Native people. Her knowledge and lived experience working with tribal, state, and federal agencies strengthens her capabilities to engage practitioners, administrators, and policymakers involving tribal governments and citizens.
Rita Y. Martinez (Pueblo of Laguna and Jemez), MCRP, MPA, is the Vice President of American Indian Development Associates, LLC. She has over 15 years of management, research, and evaluation experience overseeing daily operations with accounting, human resources, contracts, and reporting. She manages multiple research, evaluation, and assessments applying various methodologies with tribes nationwide. Rita is co-lead of the National Baseline Study: A study of health, wellness, and safety among Native women living in tribal communities and a Victims of Human Trafficking formative evaluation in six Native American communities. She is a Native FEWs Alliance Evaluation Team Member through Native Pathways, where she provides input on evaluation design, data collection, and analysis. Her master’s degrees are from the University of New Mexico. Rita’s mission is to use the knowledge, skills, and abilities obtained from her education and experience to implement culturally relevant and community-based solutions through Indigenous planning, policy, programs, research and education, and community development in tribal communities.