News, Updates, and Ongoing Projects

The Violence and Justice Research Laboratory is currently working on several projects, primarily focused on human trafficking, sexual exploitation, dating violence, and Latino/a bias victimization.




➤ Dr. Carlos Cuevas and Dr. Amy Farrell, along with the Bias Victimization Against Latinos research team, created a brief summary of the results from that research project, available here.

➤ Dr. Carlos Cuevas, Dr. Amy Farrell, and doctoral student Jesenia Robles presented a webinar for the Center for Victim Research entitled “Biase Victimization and Help-Seeking Among Latino Adults: Results from 3 Communities in the U.S.”

➤ Dr. Amy Farrell was a keynote speaker at the 2019 Beyond Discourse Conference “Critical and Empirical Approaches to Human Trafficking” hosted by Kansas University. Farrell’s research seeks to understand how the criminal justice system responds to newly recognized and prioritized crimes such as hate crimes and human trafficking, which ties in strongly with the conference’s theme. Learn more here.


Awards and Grants

➤ One of our doctoral students, Ieke de Vries, was recently awarded with one of the 2018 National Institute of Justice Graduate Research Fellowships for her dissertation project entitled “Crime in Public Space and Online Domains: Commercial Sex and Sex Trafficking in Massage Businesses.


➤ Principal Investigators Carlos Cuevas and Amy Farrell received a grant from the National Institute of Justice in 2017 for the Longitudinal Examination of Victimization Experiences of Latinos (LEVEL): Extending the Bias Victimization Study. This project is a continuation of the “Understanding and Measuring Bias Victimization against Latinos” study, providing longitudinal data on the victimization experiences of Latino adults. The study will evaluate the role of cultural factors on victimization experiences. In addition to the quantitative data, this study will have a qualitative component that will allow us to better understand how these factors play a role in the victimization experiences of Latinos as well as decisions to disclose or report victimization.


➤ Principal Investigators Carlos Cuevas and Amy Farrell received  grant from the National Institute of Justice in 2016 for the Understanding and Measuring Bias Victimization against Latinos study. This project examines bias victimization among Latino adults by recruiting a sample 900 participants across three sites in the U.S. (Boston, Houston/Galveston, and San Diego). The focus will be on bias victimization as well as other forms of interpersonal victimization, disclosing and reporting of bias victimization, as well as culturally salient factors that may play a role in victimization risk.


➤ Principal Investigator Amy Farrell received a grant with the Research Foundation of CUNY on behalf of John Jay College from the National Institute of Justice for the study titled “An Exploratory Study of Labor Trafficking Among US Citizen Victims”. This project aims to answer three questions: 1) What personal or structural vulnerabilities put US citizens at risk for labor trafficking? 2) Where does labor trafficking experience fall on a continuum of labor exploitation for US citizen workers? 3) How do US citizens experience labor trafficking victimization?


Publications & Projects


Vanessa Bouché, Northeastern’s Amy Farrell, and Dana E. Wittmer-Wolfe published an article titled “Challenging the dominant frame: The moderating impact of exposure and knowledge on perceptions of sex trafficking victimization” in Social Justice Quarterly. Read it here.


➤ Ieke de Vries and Masters student Kelly Goggin were recently published in Trauma, Violence, & Abuse as co-authors of “The impact of childhood abuse on the sexual exploitation of youth: A systematic review and meta-analysis”. Read it here.


➤ Dr. Rebecca Pfeffer, Dr. Carlos Cuevas, and doctoral students Mackenzie Kushner and Sarah Lockwood were recently accepted for publication in the Routledge International Handbook of Violence Studies for their book chapter “Enhancing the quality of research on understudied populations”.

A brief description of the book chapter: This chapter begins with an exploration of some of these issues. The first section explores in more detail the challenges in prioritizing research involving hidden or marginalized populations, in recruiting these subpopulations to participate in research, in the measurement in studies utilizing non-traditional sampling techniques, and in the retention of these populations during the span of a study. The second section of this chapter then highlights promising strategies to address some of these issues based on current best practices.


➤ Dr. Carlos Cuevas recently published an article with Dr. Chiara Sabina, Dr. Anjuli Fahlberg, and Dr. Maria Espinola titled “The role of cultural factors on dating aggression and delinquency among Latino youth”. You can read it in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence here.


➤ Dr. Carlos Cuevas recently published an article in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence with Dr.Rebecca Cudmore and Dr. Chiara Sabina. You can read it here.


➤ Dr. Amy Farrell, alongside Daniel Dombak, Elizabeth Bouchard, Ieke de Vries, Candence Wills, Susan Goldfarb, Lisa Goldblatt Grace, and Lori Ann Bertram, is currently working on the Proposed Phase 3 Goals for the Child Trafficking Data Collection and Improvement Project. The Justice Resource Institute, in partnership with the Department of Children and Families and the Support to End Exploitation Now (SEEN) was awarded a 5-year grant in 2014 to increase the capacity of the child welfare system to respond to child trafficking. The goal of the project is to develop sustainable methods for preventing minor trafficking, identifying trafficking victims and connecting them to support and services. Read a more detailed description of the project here.


➤Dr. Amy Farrell, alongside Dr. Meredith Dank, Matthew Kafafian, Sarah Lockwood, Rebecca Pferrer, Andrea Hughes, and Dr. Kyle Vincent recently punished a Final Summary Report for Capturing Human Trafficking Victimization Through Crime Reporting. Read a more detailed description of the project here.



➤ On September 21, 2018, Dr. Carlos Cuevas, co-director of the VJRL, was the keynote speaker at the Progreso Latino discussion of domestic violence in Warwick, Rhode Island. Read the article in the Providence Journal here.


➤ On November 5, 2018, the IRJ hosted a seminar on the topic of race, justice, and the upcoming midterm elections featuring Professor Kevin Drakulich, followed by an opportunity for intellectual dialogue on these important issues between faculty and staff, and students.


Stay tuned for more upcoming news from the Violence and Justice Research Laboratory here.