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Katherine Bright

Research Areas

Sexual Violence
Human Trafficking
Gender Violence
Qualitative Methods


Katherine Bright is a PhD student at the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University- Newark. She has served as a field researcher and project manager on several NIJ funded grants focused on human trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). For the last two years, Katherine has worked on a pilot project following formerly incarcerated adults for 3 ½ months, exploring the impact of incarceration on the health and well-being on LGBTQ-identifying persons. Alongside these academic positions, Katherine also worked in clinical roles for nearly a decade, specifically with teen mothers, their children, and male foster care youth. These direct service positions helped train Katherine to engage and build trust with hard-to-reach populations, often interviewing persons with severe trauma histories and/or those living with a severe mental health diagnosis. Her primary research interests include sexual violence, gender, race disparities in the certification of victimization and developing youth partnership models in research. Katherine’s dissertation is focused on how digital records of sexual violence extend both risk and the collateral consequences of victimization.


Baćak, V., Wilson, L., & Bright, K. (2021). “Gendered association between sexual self identification and police encounters perceived as unfair.” Annals of Epidemiology, 63, 41-45.

Bright, K., Wilson, L., & Bacak, V. (November, 2020). Open your eyes to how transgender people are policed. NY Daily News.

Baćak, V., Bright, K., & Wilson, L. (2020). Gender-affirmative housing in jails and prisons. The Lancet Public Health, 5, e373–e373.

Rothman, E.F., Preis, S.R., Bright, K.T., Paruk, J., Bair-Merritt, M., Farrell, A. (2020). A longitudinal evaluation of a survivor-mentor program for child survivors of sex trafficking in the United States. Child Abuse and Neglect, 100, 104083.

Farrell, A., Bright, K., de Vries, I., Pfeffer, R., & Dank, M. (2020). Policing labor trafficking in the United States. Trends in Organized Crime, 23, 36-56.

Bright, K.T. (2020). Love, sex (dolls) and robots in the age of coronavirus. The Society Pages.

Rothman, E.F., Farrell, A., Paruk, J., Bright, K.T., Bair-Merritt, M., Preis, S.R. (2019). Evaluation of a multi-session group designed to prevent commercial sexual exploitation of minors: The “My Life My Choice” curriculum. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 34, 2246-2268.

Rothman, E., Farrell, ., Bright, K. and Paruk, J. (2018). Ethical and practical considerations for collecting research-related data from commercially sexually exploited children. Human Trafficking and Health, special issue of Behavioral Medicine, 44, 250-258.

Goldblatt-Grace, L., Bright, K., Corbett, A. and Morrissey, A. (2018). Preventing the commercial sexual exploitation of children: The my life my choice model. In A. Nichols, T.Edmond, & E.Heil, Eds. Social Work Practice with Survivors of Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Farrell, A., Pfeffer, R. and Bright, K. (2015). Police perceptions of human trafficking. Journal of Crime and Justice, 38, 315-333.

Owens, C., Dank, M., Breaux, J., Bañuelos, I., Farrell, A., Pfeffer, R., Bright, K. Heitsmith, R., and McDevett, J. (2014). Understanding the organization, operation, and victimization process of labor trafficking in the United States. National Institute of Justice. NCJRS #NCJ248461.