Latonero appointed to National Research Council committee

Mark Latonero, Director of Research and Instruction at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP), was recently appointed to a national Committee on Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Sex Trafficking of Minors in the United States. The committee is selected and hosted by the National Research Council and the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Latonero, who leads research for CCLP’s Technology and Trafficking in Persons project, will contribute a communication and technology perspective on the issue of human trafficking.

In 2011, Latonero and his research staff published an influential report, Human Trafficking Online, which explored the role of social media in monitoring and combating human trafficking. That report was produced with a grant from the Annenberg Program on Online Communities.

Of the committee and his appointment, Latonero said, “Commercial sexual exploitation has a devastating effect on a child’s physical and psychological development and life trajectory. Domestic minor sex trafficking impacts multiple levels of society, from individuals and families, to social services providers and federal law enforcement. It is a privilege to serve on this committee to study this area of critical importance.”

The committee was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice to examine the commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of children who are U.S. citizens. The two-year study will investigate current approaches to addressing the problem at federal, state and local levels, as well as the causes and consequences of the commercial sexual exploitation of minors.

The final report will be released containing the committee’s recommendations on effective strategies to respond to the problem, proposals for new legislative approaches, and a defined research agenda to guide future studies in the field.

The committee convened for its first meeting in Washington, D.C. on January 4, 2012, and will meet a number of times this year to discuss topics ranging from law enforcement approaches to prevention. More information on the study is available at The National Academies website.

This blog was contributed by Sarah Myers, Masters in Public Diplomacy candidate.