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Rebecca Pfeffer

Senior Research Criminologist


PhD, Criminology and Justice Policy, Northeastern University
MS, Criminology, University of Pennsylvania
MS, Teaching, Special Education, Pace University
BA, Sociology and Psychology, Pitzer College


Rebecca Pfeffer is a research criminologist in RTI’s Victimization and Resilience Program. With over fifteen years of experience, she is an expert on human trafficking.

Dr. Pfeffer is currently leading or co-leading several studies for the National Institute of Justice focused on topics including innovations in the identification and response to labor trafficking cases, understanding differences in recruitment and labor trafficking victimization experiences across different labor sectors, understanding the health impacts and health services utilization among minor victims of sex trafficking, and understanding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on victim service providers. Additionally, she serves as the Project Director for the Administration for Children and Families’ Human Trafficking Policy and Research Analyses Project, which aims to advance the scope of knowledge and data around human trafficking by identifying priority areas for learning and conducting a series of studies that can immediately impact practice. She is an expert in qualitative data collection and analysis, survey development and implementation, and program evaluation.

Prior to joining RTI, Dr. Pfeffer worked as an associate professor of criminal justice and as the graduate program director at the University of Houston - Downtown. She is a member of the American Society of Criminology and the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences and has been published in peer-reviewed journals on topics ranging from the law enforcement response to human trafficking, labor trafficking victimization, the prevalence of human trafficking, gendered disparities in criminal justice processes, and the victimization of children with disabilities.

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