Trust and civic engagement matter: Connections to human trafficking in the United States

When: Wednesday, January 27, 2021 4:30-6:00 PM (EST)

Guest: Dr. Bob Spires and Dr. Monti Datta

Host: Carl Stauffer, PhD. Associate Professor of Justice & Peacebuilding



Human trafficking is a topic that has gained attention in the US in recent years, but clear understanding of its dynamics continues to elude both scholars and the general public. This webinar will introduce human trafficking and provide historical and contemporary context for human trafficking and modern slavery. Drs. Spires and Datta will then explain their own empirical research on the connections between trust, social capital and community engagement on the one hand, and human trafficking on the other. To conclude the webinar, they will discuss the implications of the findings of their ongoing scholarly inquiry as well as encourage discussion with webinar participants on the issues related to human trafficking in the United States. Through this webinar, Drs. Spires and Datta hope to develop a dialogue on how much, and in what ways, Restorative Justice (RJ) practices might deepen conversations and build more trust among stakeholders in the modern anti-slavery movement.

Guest Bios

Dr. Bob SpiresDr. Bob Spires

Dr. Bob Spires is an Associate Professor of Graduate Education at the University of Richmond, coming UR from Valdosta State University in 2018.  His research focuses on grassroots anti-trafficking NGOs in Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, India and Uganda using education to address social mobility and exploitation of vulnerable children and youth. Dr. Spires serves on the board of Love Without Boundaries, an international NGO that provides diverse program for disadvantaged children in China, Cambodia, India and Uganda.


Dr Monti DattaDr. Monti Datta

Monti Narayan Datta is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Richmond. Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Monti went to undergrad at UC Berkeley, taught English overseas in Japan and South Korea, and then later completed his PhD in political science at UC Davis. A big fan of mindfulness, Monti now incorporates mindfulness-based practices in the classroom and in his community work. He has researched the phenomenon of human trafficking for the past decade and likes to apply quantitative research methods to understand the sources and impact of human trafficking more fully.