Title: Informing Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts with Operations Research Models
Abstract: Human trafficking is a prevalent and malicious global human rights issue, with an estimated 24 million victims exploited worldwide. A major challenge to its disruption is the fact that human trafficking is a complex system interwoven with other illegal and legal networks, both cyber and physical. Efforts to disrupt human trafficking must understand these complexities and the ways in which a disruption to one portion of the network affects other network components. As such, operations research models are uniquely positioned to address the challenges facing anti-human trafficking efforts. This presentation will discuss ongoing interdisciplinary anti-human trafficking efforts focused on prevention, network disruption, and survivor empowerment related to effectively allocating limited resources to disrupt human trafficking networks, increasing survivors’ access to services, and assessing the efficacy of coordination among anti-human trafficking stakeholders. We will discuss how a variety of operations research methodologies can be used in such contexts, with a particular focus on the types of adaptions that are necessary for network interdiction models to adequately represent the nuances of human trafficking.
Bio: Dr. Kayse Lee Maass is an Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and leads the Operations Research and Social Justice Lab at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on the application of operations research methodology to social justice, access, and equity issues within human trafficking, mental health, housing, and food justice contexts. Dr. Maass’s research is supported by multiple federal grants, centers interdisciplinary survivor-informed expertise, and has informed local, national, and international policy and operational decisions.
Dr. Maass earned a PhD in Industrial and Operations Engineering (IOE) from the University of Michigan and completed her postdoctoral studies in the Department of Health Sciences Research at the Mayo Clinic. She is a recipient of multiple awards, including the INFORMS Judith Liebman Award, Industrial Engineering Professor of the Year at Northeastern University, and being named a ‘Rising Star’ among INFORMS’ Powerful, Pragmatic Pioneers. Dr. Maass currently serves on the INFORMS Subdivision Council, as INFORMS Section on Location Analysis Secretary, and is part of the U.N. University Delta 8.7 Markets Working Group.