Episode 256 | Just Economic Empowerment After Human Trafficking
Pfeffer, R., Charm, S., Melander, C., Vollinger, L., D’Arcangelo, B. (2023, August 18). Just Science. Just Economic Empowerment After Human Trafficking. [Audio podcast episode]. RTI International. https://forensicrti.org/just-science-episode-256/
Samantha Charm is a Research Public Health Analyst at RTI. She serves as the associate project director for the Administration for Children and Families’ Human Trafficking Policy and Research Analyses Project, which aims to advance the scope of knowledge and data around human trafficking by identifying priority areas for learning and conducting a series of studies that can immediately impact practice. She also serves as the associate project director for the Office for Victims of Crime’s Improving Outcomes for Child and Youth Victims of Human Trafficking Training and Technical Assistance project, supporting state level grantees in their anti-trafficking efforts. Ms. Charm leads tasks on projects related to the development and evaluation of sexual assault and school-based prevention programs. Ms. Charm is skilled in research and evaluation, including projects in hospital and clinical settings. Her areas of focus have included victim services, human trafficking of minors and adults, child welfare, sexual assault, sexual and reproductive health, implementation science, and quality improvement interventions.
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.
Lauren Vollinger is a community psychologist and research analyst in the RTI Justice Practice Area. Over the past decade, she has partnered with local and state anti-trafficking task forces, schools, and law enforcement to understand the interorganizational needs of agencies to best support survivors of trafficking in their communities. As a community psychologist, she has extensive experience conducting trauma-informed community-based participatory research and evaluation and emphasizes community engagement to disseminate findings beyond academic circles. Dr. Vollinger’s areas of expertise include human trafficking, domestic violence (DV) / intimate partner violence (IPV), economic abuse, coerced debt, help-seeking behaviors of survivors, and community and systems’ response to victimization. She is well-versed in qualitative and mixed methods, life history calendar (LHC) methodology, and data visualization and dissemination strategies such as infographics, policy briefs, data briefs, and interactive data dashboards. Dr. Vollinger currently serves as senior project advisor and task lead on multiple projects spanning different crime types (sexual assault, human trafficking, FGM/C) and stakeholder groups.
Brianna D’Arcangelo is a public health analyst in the Community Safety and Wellness Program in RTI International’s Justice Program Area. While receiving her bachelor’s degree, Ms. D’Arcangelo interned with two local non-profit organizations in Connecticut that served refugee, immigrant, low-income, and marginalized populations. She has also worked as a researcher at a work/life benefit company and as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion coordinator at the University of Hartford. Ms. D’Arcangelo has experience in program coordination, research, case management, and working with internal/external stakeholders.