Colleen Owens

Colleen Owens

Sr. Research Associate
Urban Institute
location_on United States

Member since 7 years


Colleen Owens

Specialises In (based on submitted proposals)
labor-trafficking investigation prosecution legal

Colleen Owens is a research associate with Urban Institute’s Justice Policy Center where she serves as co-director of a diverse portfolio of research on human trafficking that spans the United States and seven countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America.

Ms. Owens has over a decade of research experience directing a variety of research projects funded by the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice. She currently serves as coprincipal investigator leading a National Institute of Justice (NIJ)-funded study to examine forced marriage in the United States. She was coprinicpal investigator of a study on the organization, operation, and victimization process of labor trafficking in the United States. She was also coprincipal investigator for three US Department of State-funded projects including a: an impact evaluation of a trafficking victims’ service-provision program in Cambodia; a process evaluation of an anti-trafficking awareness-raising initiative in South America; and a project identifying promising practices in anti-trafficking prosecution, prevention, protection, and partnership in four tier-one countries. Owens served as Urban Institute project director for an NIJ-funded study with Northeastern University to examine challenges in the investigation and prosecution of state and local cases of human trafficking in the United States. She served as the Urban Institute project director of the national Human Trafficking Reporting System, a joint project with Northeastern University, to design and operate the first national data collection and reporting system on human trafficking victims and offenders in the United States. In this role, Owens coordinated and provided technical assistance to 42 BJA-funded human trafficking task forces regarding data collection, task force operation and investigation and prosecution. Owens was also involved in an NIJ-funded study to estimate the size of the unlawful commercial sex economy in the United States. She has conducted evaluability assessments of anti-trafficking programs in Africa and Asia and conducted research on federal prosecutions of the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the United States.  She was an invited participant to the 2007 White House Compassion in Action Roundtable on Human Trafficking and has been invited to speak about human trafficking before various national and international audiences.