University of Georgia

CenHTRO seed grants address needs of native youth survivors, law enforcement training

Morrissey, Stahl, Dunnigan
Allison Dunnigan (left) will use her seed grant from the Center on Human Trafficking Research and Outreach to create a human trafficking “toolkit” to help Georgia law enforcement and social services agencies better respond to cases, while Kate Morrissey Stahl will develop trauma-informed and culturally aware research methods to study sex trafficking.

UGA’s Center on Human Trafficking Research & Outreach has announced Kate Morrissey Stahl and Allison Dunnigan, two faculty members in the School of Social Work, as its inaugural recipients of faculty research seed grants on human trafficking in the United States and across the globe.

The grants are supported by the UGA Office of the Provost and serve as a launch pad for acquiring external funding from national and international sources.

“We are thrilled to provide these resources for faculty to apply their expertise to the pressing needs of trafficking victims and survivors, and to enable collaborative research and action on human trafficking in the U.S.,” said Lydia Aletraris, CenHTRO research coordinator and associate research scientist in social work. 

“The CenHTRO Faculty Research Seed Grants will strengthen the body of evidence around impactful programming for survivors and will allow faculty at UGA to be more competitive in subsequently securing external grant support for human trafficking research and programming, both in the U.S. and abroad,” Aletraris said. 

Morrissey Stahl’s research project—“Developing a Methodology for Trauma-Informed Interviews of Native Child Victims of Human Trafficking”—will develop trauma-informed and culturally aware research methods, and disseminate the best practices to protect Native youth survivors of sex trafficking. 

Bridget Diamond-Welch of the University of South Dakota, Katie Edwards of the University of Nebraska and Anna Kosloski of the University of Colorado will serve as co-principal investigators. 

Dunnigan’s project, “Developing a Comprehensive Training Protocol for Stakeholders Serving Trafficked Youth,” will develop a human trafficking toolkit for Georgia jurisdictions. The project will also offer ongoing support to courts and law enforcement for human trafficking cases. UGA faculty Emma Hetherington (School of Law), Rachel Fusco and Jennifer Elkins (both School of Social Work) will serve as co-principal investigators. 

“We already support external researchers to do research in Costa Rica, Brazil, Morocco, Pakistan, Tanzania and Tunisia. This opportunity, through the UGA provost’s office, enables us to use those lessons in helping junior or mid-level domestic researchers to do work in the U.S.,” said David Okech, CenHTRO director and professor of social work. “We congratulate Dunnigan and Morrissey Stahl for the award and look forward to supporting them as they expand their research efforts.”