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About Donna M. Hughes

Donna M. Hughes is a Professor at the University of Rhode Island in Gender and Women's Studies Program and the Sociology and Anthropology Department. She holds the Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair in Women's Studies. She conducts research on human trafficking, particularly the sex trafficking of women and girls. Her research has international scope with studies on Russia, Ukraine, and the European Union; and also includes a local focus of research on the United States, and the state of Rhode Island.

She completed the first studies on the use of information technology for the trafficking of women and girls for the Council of Europe in 2001 and 2002. She has continued to research on new digital information technologies are impacting the sexual exploitation of women and girls. In 2013, she gave the keynote address at the European Union's Annual Anti-Human Trafficking Day Conference in Lithuania; and in 2014, she published a paper on trafficking in human beings in the European Union using communication technologies. She is currently working with undergraduate students to analyze how online prostitution advertisements are used to market identified victims of sex trafficking.

She received the first U.S. grant (with Janice G. Raymond) from the Department of Justice, Violence Against Women Office, to study sex trafficking in the U.S. Later, she received the first U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, grant to study sex trafficking in Ukraine. She completed several research reports for the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons on how "the demand" for victims of sex trafficking drives this criminal activity. She also completed a report on how to identify victims of sex trafficking for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Most recently, she is working with undergraduates at the University of Rhode Island to research human trafficking in the state of Rhode Island. She frequently writes papers with the students and takes them to conferences to present their work. In 2014, three of her research students won the University of Rhode Island Excellence Award for Undergraduate Research in the Social Sciences and Humanities.

She teaches courses on international women's issues, sexual violence, human trafficking and slavery, sex trafficking, and feminist theory.

In 2010, she was awarded the University of Rhode Island Council of Research Annual Research Award. Also, in 2010, she was awarded the Norma Hotaling, Josephine Butler Award for "challenging the status quo and creating new abolitionist policy or approach to sex trafficking in the United States."

In 2016, she founded the academic, open access, peer-reviewed journal Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence. She is the Editor-in-Chief.



Positions

Present Professor & Eleanor M. & Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair, University of Rhode Island
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Honors and Awards

  • 2010, Josephine Butler Award for "challenging the status quo and creating new abolitionist policy and approach to sex trafficking in the U.S." (Norma Hotaling Awards)
  • 2010, University of Rhode Island Research Award
  • 2008, Invited to the White House to witness the signing of the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008
  • 2005, Invited to the White House to witness the signing of the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2005
  • 2002, Outstanding Outreach Award for International Networking on Trafficking in Women, University of Rhode Island

Courses

  • GWS 401 & 501 Human Trafficking & Slavery
  • GWS 402 & 502 Campaigns & Services for Victims of Human Trafficking
  • GWS 315 Feminist Theories
  • GWS 400 Contemporary Feminist Scholarship
  • GWS 370 Sex Trafficking
  • GWS 325 International Women's Issues

Contact Information

512 Chafee Social Science Center
University of Rhode Island
Kingston, Rhode Island 02881

Email:


Peer Reviewed Papers (24)

Research Reports (5)