|Position||Senior Program Manager, WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice|
|Discipline||International Policy (with human rights focus)|
|Other links||University Profile; LinkedIn; ResearchGate|
Jessie Brunner serves as Senior Program Manager of the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Stanford University. Here she manages student programs, including a Minor in Human Rights, as well as Center collaborations and several research activities. In addition to work on criminal justice reform, Jessie’s current research is focused on data in the human trafficking field.
She spent the past year meeting with dozens of CSOs and government agencies in Southeast Asia to identify current challenges and promising practices with regard to data, resulting in the publication of Getting to Good Human Trafficking Data: Everyday Guidelines for Frontline Practitioners in Southeast Asia and Getting to Good Human Trafficking Data: Assessing the Landscape in Southeast Asia and Promising Practices from ASEAN Governments and Civil Society. Jessie also works on data questions locally as a member of the San Francisco Mayor’s Task Force on Anti-Human Trafficking and at the global level as a member of Knowledge Platform Reference Group of Alliance 8.7. She previously authored Inaccurate Numbers, Inadequate Policies: Enhancing Data to Evaluate the Prevalence of Human Trafficking in ASEAN.
Previously, Jessie served as a researcher at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law’s Program on Human Rights; a Public Affairs Assistant at the State Department in the Bureau on Democracy, Human Rights and Labor; a reporter for Los Angeles Times Community News; and a non-profit public relations/marketing manager. In addition to serving as a trial monitor at the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, Jessie has worked on human rights and post-conflict reconciliation in Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Chile, Cambodia, Indonesia, Rwanda, the Philippines, and Thailand. Brunner earned a MA in International Policy Studies from Stanford University and graduated with Highest Distinction from UC Berkeley with a BA in Mass Communications and a Spanish minor.
With the inclusion of modern slavery/human trafficking/forced labour in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, global leaders and other policy makers have an opportunity to take meaningful action on the issue. This is a key moment for those at the frontlines of the anti-trafficking movement to in turn articulate priorities and needs. Central to achieving this, and an area where the field continues to lag behind, is through the collection and analysis of robust, reliable data.
Good data are vital not only to understanding the scale and scope of the problem, but also to evaluating the quality and efficacy of approaches, interventions, and policies. In the context of widespread data digitization and advancements in computer processing and data science, there are evermore opportunities for a data-driven understanding of the complex problem of human trafficking. The use of blockchain and satellite imagery, for example, in the fight against human trafficking is exciting and gripping; however, this does not represent the work of the great majority of practitioners engaged on this issue. Equally important is investing in the fundamental data infrastructure and skills training of civil society organisations and government agencies at the frontlines of this work. That will be a critical piece of getting the higher-quality, more localized data needed to truly understand the systems of exploitation behind the crime of human trafficking and to guide decision-making in designing effective policies and programmes.
Jessie Brunner’s current research is focused on the “how” behind this goal: how to get the movement to a more evidence-informed understanding of the scale and scope of the problem, as well as a data-driven approach to evaluating the quality and efficacy of programmes, interventions, and policies. By no means does everyone in the anti-trafficking field need to be a data scientist, but it is important – particularly at this moment when the public eye is focused on the issue – that any entity making claims about the character, nature, scope, or scale of the problem has credible data and methods to back them up.
Human Trafficking Research Program, Handa Center, Stanford University (Research Director)
Human Rights in Trauma Mental Health Lab, Stanford University (Faculty)