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Social Work Professor Named to Lead Human Trafficking Council Subcommittee

Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:18pm | By: David Tisdale

Tamara HurstDr. Tamara Hurst, a University of Southern Mississippi (USM) School of Social Work faculty member, has been chosen to chair a subcommittee of the new Mississippi Human Trafficking Council.

Dr. Hurst will head the Council’s Strategic Planning and Trafficking Protocol Subcommittee to aid its overall mission of preventing trafficking, protecting victims, and prosecuting criminals engaged in the practice by using a victim-centered, collaborative and multi-disciplinary model.

Three co-chairs will lead the council, including Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan Bradley of the Northern District of Mississippi; Assistant U.S. Attorney Kathlyn Van Buskirk, Southern District of Mississippi; and Ashlee Lucas, human trafficking coordinator for the Mississippi Department of Public Safety. 

“This is the first statewide trafficking council, and it will help law enforcement more effectively prosecute criminals and protect the rights of victims,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division. “It’s another strong step in Department of Justice’s commitment to fighting violent crime and protecting the most vulnerable in our society.”

Dr. Hurst’s areas of expertise include child maltreatment and advocacy, and teaches courses on these topics, as well as on forensic social work and crisis intervention. She is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed certified social worker. In 2015, Dr. Hurst was appointed to Gov. Phil Bryant’s task force on human trafficking. 

“I am honored to once again serve our state’s officials in their continued efforts to strengthen a response to human trafficking,” Dr. Hurst said. “This newly established Human Trafficking Council will continue the excellent work started four years ago by members of the Governor’s human trafficking task force. I am proud to work with such an energetic and focused team, and look forward to seeing what we can accomplish.”

The USM School of Social Work is housed in the College of Education and Human Sciences. Learn more about the School of Social Work at