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Social Work Institutes Centers

Center for Human Trafficking Research and Training

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CHRT is an interdisciplinary collaboration of researchers, trafficking survivors and students who participate in the collection, analysis and evaluation of human trafficking data from Mississippi’s state and local agencies. By helping streamline data collection and management, their efforts help prevent the spread of misinformation and inaccurate data. Their findings seek to inform evidence-based education and trainings for agency personnel with a goal of accelerating the development of Mississippi’s anti-human trafficking efforts.

CHRT Members and Partners

If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, please contact the National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1 (888) 3737-888 or visit

Center Director

  • Dr. Kimberly Hogan - Assistant Professor, School of Social Work | K.HoganFREEMississippi
    • Dr. Kimberly Hogan is a co-founder and director of the Southern Miss Center for Human Trafficking Research and Training. She has worked in the anti-trafficking movement since 2013 and is a former research project director at the Arizona State University Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research. Kimberly focuses on domestic sex trafficking and the therapeutic needs for exiting. She was the associate clinical director of Phoenix Starfish Place, a home for women who have experienced sex trafficking and their children. She has conducted human trafficking research in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Nevada. She has received federal and state funding awards to conduct research in Mississippi, including a five-year HHS award SOARing in Mississippi to provide training and building a continuum of care for human trafficking victims in Southern Mississippi. She serves on the Mississippi Human Trafficking Council and is the Chair of the Training Subcommittee. Her research work spans the prevention, detection, identification, and treatment of minor and adult sex trafficking victims.

Faculty Affiliates

  • Dr. Michelle Brazeal (SOAR) - Assistant Professor, School of Social Work | Michelle.BrazealFREEMississippi
    • Michelle Brazeal, Ph.D., LCSW, is an assistant professor currently serving as the associate director and MSW Coordinator for the School of Social Work at USM. Her practice experience has included providing outpatient and residential mental health services to children and transitional-age young adults, outpatient addiction treatment, and social work services in primary care. Dr. Brazeal is the principal investigator for an Integrated Health program in a primary care clinic. The project provides social work services to underserved individuals to uncover and address the connections between trauma and mental, emotional and physical health. She also is the program evaluator for the SOARing in Mississippi HHS grant. She has received and administered federal, state and non-profit grants and contracts.

  • Dr. Gretchen Goode (Metanoia) - Assistant Professor, School of Education | Gretchen.GoodeFREEMississippi
    • Gretchen S. Goode, Ed.D., is an assistant professor of literacy education at USM. She teachers undergraduate and graduate courses in foundational literacy skills, disciplinary literacies, and literacy assessment. Her research projects pull ideas from multiple pedagogies—including feminist, inquiry, relational, holistic, and systemic sustainability—to investigate literacy learning and development in multiple education settings, including pre-service classrooms, professional developments, and a residential facility for trafficked youth. In these projects, Dr. Goode’s work focuses on the ways in which literacy teachers and learners 1) enact care in teaching and learning, 2) develop their identities as teachers and learners, and 3) are entangled in their communities and the larger world. She spends her time “thinking with theory” using post-qualitative methods, systems thinking, and posthuman theories from Braidotti; Kuby, Spector, & Thiel; Jackson & Mazzei; Manning; Capra & Luisi; and Davis, Sumara, & Luce-Kapler. As is fitting for a literacy professor, Dr. Goode spends her free time reading, learning, and trying new things.
  • Dr. Kayla Stan (Labor/GIS) - Assistant Professor, School of Biological, Environmental, and Earth Sciences | Kayla.StanFREEMississippi
    • Kayla Stan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in geography in USM’s School of BEES, transplanted straight from Canada. Much of her research and teaching involves using geospatial (GIS) technology to understand how trends occur and change in both place and time, with the goal of modelling future trends. More recently, she has been working on bringing historical and modern data to life using web platforms with a focus on public communication. She is working with the CHRT to bring together data from a variety of sources to track the distribution and movement of potential trafficking hotspots in the US, with a focus on labor trafficking. The goal of this work is to use a data-centered approach to tailor potential enforcement and outreach efforts to better serve communities and vulnerable populations. Outside of research, she is an avid woodworker, hiker, new scuba diver, and generally enjoys getting lost. 
  • Dr. Sunny Wells (Metanoia) - Assistant Professor, School of Education | Sunny.WellsFREEMississippi
    • Sunny Wells, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of secondary education and multidisciplinary research in the School of Education at USM. She teaches undergraduate and graduate secondary education courses in curriculum, classroom management, and assessment in which she emphasizes culturally responsive pedagogies and teacher agency within the classroom. She also serves as a core faculty member in the Master of Arts in Teaching secondary alternative licensure program at USM. As a qualitative and post-qualitative researcher, her research agenda reflects situated critical citizenship and intersections of teacher identity and agency. Her teaching and research projects are grounded firmly in critical, multicultural, and particularly feminist epistemologies and praxis. Dr. Wells is a strong advocate for the enactment and application of theory to practice in various institutional contexts, including secondary education, higher education, and residential settings for sexually trafficked youth. Outside of her professional pursuits, she reads, crafts, gardens, and enjoys exploring the southern historical and cultural landscape through local festivals and events. 

SOARing in Mississippi Grant

Graduate Research Assistants/Interns

SOARing in Mississippi - Increasing Human Trafficking Victim Identification, Trafficking-Informed Response, and Capacity to Serve Among Healthcare Providers and Allied Agencies. Funded by a SOAR to Health and Wellness Demonstration Grant (10/1/2022 – 9/30/2027). The demonstration program aims to build a Continuum of Care and increase knowledge, capacity, and human trafficking response protocols with healthcare, behavioral health providers, and allied providers in a geographic location known for its high-risk employment industries and vulnerable populations. These efforts will improve the ability of providers to intervene and appropriately respond to patients and clients who experience severe forms of human trafficking. Supportive services offered through interventions will fully utilize the state’s human trafficking service providers within the targeted nine-county area (Harrison, Hancock, Jackson, George, Pearl River, Forrest, Stone, Perry, and Green counties).

Race, Informal Support Systems, and Human Trafficking

Metanoia: A Mixed-Methods Study of a Residential Facility for Female Adolescent Victims of Human Trafficking (Hogan, Goode, and Wells). Metanoia Manor was founded in 2018 by Fr. Jeffery Bayhi and is a faith-based residential facility in Zachary, Louisiana. This is one of the only homes in the Gulf South to serve female adolescent victims of human trafficking. This program offers a place of refuge to domestic and foreign female adolescent victims of human trafficking in which to heal physically and mentally. Metanoia is licensed to provide direct services for mental, physical, and spiritual health, instruction in academics, and life skills to biologically born girls ages 0–18. To deliver a model recovery and rehabilitation program for female youth victims of human trafficking, an evaluation of their efforts for the past five years is necessary. Drs. Hogan, Goode, and Wells are undertaking a mixed-methods case study (Chaumba, 2013; Yin, 2018) of Metanoia Manor. First, the researchers will conduct a program evaluation by thoroughly analyzing shared data from the inception of the program to the present (2017-2023) and conducting observations and interviews with the staff. The evaluation will include an analysis and summary of the client intake and case file data and a report written using the data to provide an analysis of the services and activities of Metanoia. This first study goal will add to the research conversation about human trafficking risk factors (Fedina et al., 2013) and the needs of female adolescent victims of human trafficking (Gonzalez-Pons et al., 2020; Hammond & McGlone, 2014). A second goal of the study is to understand how Metanoia staff take a trauma-informed approach to academic instruction (Record-Lemon & Buchanan, 2017).

Wage and Labor Violations (Hogan, Stan, Southerland, and Hurst)



Hogan, K.A. & Roe-Sepowitz, D. (2023). Providing services to victims of human trafficking during the COVID-19 pandemic: A social service agency state-wide survey. Journal of Social Service Research.

Hogan, K.A. (2022). Exploring sex trafficking risk factors for LGBTQ+ young adults experiencing homelessness. (Doctoral dissertation, Arizona State University).

Hurst, T. E. (2021). Prevention of child sexual exploitation: Insights from adult survivors. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 36(13-14), NP7350-NP7372. Click here to view the article

Hogan, K. A., & Roe-Sepowitz, D. (2020). LGBTQ+ homeless young adults and sex trafficking vulnerability. Journal of Human Trafficking, 1-16.

Hurst, T. E. (2015). Internalized racism and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Race, Gender & Class, 22(1-2), 90-101.

Dierkhising, C. B., Geiger, J. M., Hurst, T. E., Panlilio, C., & Schelbe, L. (2015). Preventing adolescent maltreatment: A focus on child welfare, juvenile justice, and sexual exploitation. Advances in child abuse prevention knowledge: The perspective of new leadership, 43-65.

Hurst, T. E. (2013). Childhood emotional maltreatment and the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation of children: A mixed methods study (Doctoral dissertation, University of Georgia).

Boat People SOS

Center for Violence Prevention

Child Protection Services – To report child sex and labor trafficking, abuse, or neglect call: 888-222-8000

Children’s Advocacy Centers of Mississippi

Emergencies – Dial 911

Free Brochures for Teens, Parents, Probation Officers, Mental Health and Health Care Professionals

Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence

Jubilee Havens

Mississippi Bureau of Investigation – To report all human trafficking cases in Mississippi, contact Ashlee Lucas (MBI Statewide Human Trafficking Coordinator) at or 601-987-1671

Mississippi Businesses Against Human Trafficking (MBAT), Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson

Mississippi State Department of Health – Human Trafficking Program Navigators:

Mississippi Human Trafficking Council

National Human Trafficking Hotline – If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call 888-3737-888 or Text: BEFREE (233733). You have the option to remain anonymous.

No More Tears

Follow CHRT on Social Media:

Instagram: @USMCHRT | Facebook: @USMCHRT | Twitter: @USMCHRT

CHRT in the Media:

Center Announcement - 

HHS Grant Announcement - 

Human Trafficking Awareness & Prevention Month: January - 

MBAT Summit & Sextortion Film Screening (1.24.23) - 

Louisiana Human Trafficking Symposium (5.23) - 

Virtual MBAT Summit (6.26.23) -

SOAR for Communities training session (8.15.23) -

SOAP Up Hattiesburg: Outreach Event to End Human Trafficking (1.20.23) -

Are you interested in supporting the work of CHRT with a philanthropic contribution? Donations can be made through the USM Foundation to Fund 2534 - Center for Human Trafficking Research and Training Development Fund.


Rural Law Enforcement Initiative - Human Trafficking Training

This is a free 8-hour training on human trafficking for law enforcement provided on two duplicate days:
Day (1) - June 11, 2024 from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Day (2) - June 12, 2024 from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Join us for an exclusive training event at the Biloxi Civic Center on June 11 and June 12 (two duplicate days) in partnership with MBI, MBN, DOL, HSI, and MS Trucking Association. Hosted by the Biloxi Police Department, this training promises valuable insights and networking opportunities.



Contact Us

Social Work Institutes and Centers
250 Joseph Green Hall (JGH)

Hattiesburg Campus

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