Rochelle Dalla Faculty Profile


I am fortunate to have the opportunity to advise graduate (at both the master’s and doctoral levels) as well as undergraduate students. Several of these advisees are highlighted below.

Heather Kennedy
I have known Heather for about 18 years! She was an undergraduate student in one of the first classes I ever taught. She eventually began working with me as an undergraduate Research Assistant (RA) and then became a master’s student in one of our many CYAF programs. After completing her M.S. and working in the field as a therapist for several years, she returned to school to complete her Ph.D. As part of her graduate training, Heather worked as an RA and a TA (Teaching Assistant), and eventually taught several classes on her own- as the primary instructor. She graduated in December, 2014 and has accepted an Assistant Professor position at the University of Northern Iowa where she will continue conducting research, teaching, and advising her own students!

Heather Kennedy

Tuyen Huynh
Tuyen is a recent addition to the CYAF graduate student group (entering as a doctoral student in the fall of 2014). She received her bacherlor’s degree from Penn State University in Sociology and she was also a McNair Scholar. She was drawn to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because of her interests in social justice and human trafficking. As my RA, Tuyen’s work has been largely connected to the Journal of Human Trafficking—although she has also assisted with teaching responsibilities, and grant writing. Tuyen loves international travel, cross-cultural studies, and exploring the environment. As a UNL student she has capitalized on travel opportunities—already spending 6 weeks in India and 2 weeks in China!

Tuyen Huynh

At UN—L we have a special program called UCARE—Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience. The program provides a stipend which allows undergraduate students to work one–on–one with faculty members—participating in various research and creative learning experiences. UCARE is particularly useful in preparing students for graduate school because of the hands–on research experiences they receive. I have worked with many UCARE students over the years, and with Lee since 2013.

Lee Kreimer
Lee is a senior Global Studies and Spanish major at UNL and she has been working as an undergraduate research assistant with me for the last two years. In this capacity, Lee has helped transcribe and analyze data collected from women trafficked into Mumbai’s red-light districts. In the process, she has learned a tremendous amount about the academic research process as well as qualitative research methods and analysis. Following the completion of her bachelor’s degree, Lee hopes to pursue a career in law, non-profit work, or social science research in an academic setting (which one has yet to be determined!). In her free time, Lee enjoys riding her horse, Molly, bicycling, sewing her own clothes, traveling, and spending time with her family and friends.

Lee Kreimer


Mar·gin·al·ize: (1) To relegate or confine to a lower or outer limit or edge, as of social standing; (2) to place in a position of marginal importance, influence, or power; (3) to relegate to the fringes, out of the mainstream; make seem unimportant (Merriam-Webster, 2013).

My research addresses marginalized female populations (prostituted and women trafficked into the commercial sex trade; reservation-residing Navajo adolescent mothers; rural immigrant and undocumented Latinas) who have received little academic attention, who are confined to the fringes of society, who experience little social, personal, or political power, and whose voices often remain unheard. My research is largely aimed at providing them voice as well as visibility.

Woman with her child

My investigative lens is colored by bio-ecological systems theory (EST) (Bronfenbrenner, 1979, 1989) which asserts that human development is a reciprocal and life-long process of interaction between person and environment (including hierarchically organized social systems). According to EST, present circumstances cannot be fully understood without careful observation of the entire context within which an individual is embedded, including historical events and situations, social relationships, and environmental factors (e.g., physical environment, culture, sub-culture). In my work, EST is complemented with principles of feminist family theory (FFT) (Ingoldsby et al., 2004) and family systems (Bowen, 1974, 1988) theory, including the following principles: (1) women’s experiences are central to understanding intergenerational patterns and outcomes, (2) gender is socially constructed, (3) social and historical contexts are critically important, (4) privilege exists on many levels (i.e., gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and economic status) and has significant implications for developmental outcomes and well-being, and (5) social change is necessary to empower the disenfranchised.

Navajo Family

For my research, I travel to the source—to the heart of the Navajo Reservation (in 1993, 1995, 2007 & 2008), to the small rural agricultural towns of Nebraska (1999, 2004, 2006), to Mitchellville (a maximum security women’s prison in Iowa) (1999, 2003) and to the red-light slums of Mumbai (2012, 2013)—to personally experience the physical contexts in which my participants’ lives are situated.

To understand my work, it is important to also understand my methodology: I am a qualitative researcher and personal, in-depth, one-on-one interviews, form the centerpiece of my data collection strategies. As a life-course family scientist strongly biased with the belief that present circumstances can only be understood with attention to personal, familial, and contextual history I use follow-up/longitudinal methods when appropriate and possible.

Beautiful Landscape

My work with marginalized female populations—from young reservation-residing Navajo mothers → to street-level prostituted women → to victims of trafficking in Asia’s commercial sex industry—has taken me to distant and foreign lands and exposed me to previously unimaginable worlds, cultures, and sub-cultures—such field work is required of an ecological and systems-driven perspective. Qualitative inquiry with vulnerable, transient, and difficult to access populations is physically challenging and, at times, emotionally brutal—yet, it would be impossible to fully appreciate or understand the deeply complex social issues that I choose to investigate without first-hand exposure.

Trailer Home

In summer of 2012 I traveled across the world to interview women living and working in the red-light slum districts of Mumbai, India. It was an exceptionally exhausting trip—both physically and emotionally—with the arduous journey rivaled only by the rewards of the work and the life stories I was gifted. I was reminded once again that my work is not only a reflection of me as a scholar, but also a reflection and demonstration of the lived experiences of others. I carry a responsibility of research excellence and rigor not only to science, to the field, and to my mentors and role models—but also to the participants of my investigations.

Young Indian Woman


Books (Representative Samples):
  1. Dalla, R. L., Baker, L. M., DeFrain, J., & Williamson, C. (Eds.) (2011), Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: Africa, Middle East, Asia, & Oceania. Landham, MD: Lexington Publishers, Inc.
  2. Dalla, R. L., Baker, L. M., DeFrain, J., & Williamson, C. (Eds.) (2011), Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking: North America, Latin America, Europe, and Global. Landham, MD: Lexington Publishers, Inc.
  3. Dalla, R. L., DeFrain, J., Johnson, J., & Abbot, D. (Eds.) (2008). Strengths and Challenges of New Immigrant Families: Implications for Research, Policy, Education, and Service. Lanham, MD: Lexington Publishers, Inc.
  4. Dalla, R. L. (2006). Exposing the “Pretty Woman” Myth: A Qualitative Investigation of Street-Level Prostituted Women. Lanham, MD: Lexington Publishers, Inc.
Journal Articles (Representative Samples) 1:
  1. Dalla, R. L. and *Kennedy, H. R. (2015). “I Want to Leave—Go Far Away…I Don’t Want to Get Stuck on the Reservation”: Examining Developmental Trajectories and Indicators of Well-Being among the Adolescent-Aged Children of Navajo Native American Teenage Mothers, Journal of Adolescent Research, 30, 113-139. DOI:10.1177/0743558414552322
  2. *Kennedy, H. R., & Dalla, R. L. (2014). Examining Identity Consolidation Processes among Ethnic Minority Gay Men and Women. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, 26 (4), 465-501.
  3. Dalla, R. L., *Bailey, K., *Cunningham, A., *Green, N., & *Vyhlidal, J. J. (2013). “I’ve devoted my entire life to my daughter—and she knows it.” Exploration of Identity Development among Now-Adult Navajo Native American Adolescent Mothers. Identity: An International Journal of Theory and Research, 13(2), 159-186. DOI: 10.1080/15283488.2013.776963
  4. Dalla, R. L., *Marchietti, A. M., *Sechrest, E. A., & *White, J. L. (2010). “All the Men Here Have the Peter Pan Syndrome—They Don’t Want to Grow Up”: Navajo Adolescent Mothers’ Intimate Partner Relationships...A Fifteen Year Perspective. Violence against Women, 16(7), 743-763.16(5), 579-600. DOI: 10.1177/107780121037486
  5. Baker, L., Dalla, R. L., & Williamson, C. (2010). Exiting Prostitution: An Integrative Model. Violence Against Women, 16(5), 579-600. DOI: 10.1177/1077801210367643
  6. Dalla, R. L., *DeLeón, J. G., *Stuhmer, T., & *Léon, M. (2010). Rural community longevity: Capitalizing on diversity for immigrant residential stability. The Business Journal of Hispanic Research, 4(1), 43-55.
  7. Dalla, R. L., *Jacobs-Hagen, S. B., *Jareske, B. K., & *Sukup, J. L. (2009). Examining the Lives of Navajo Native American Teenage Mothers in Context: A Twelve to Fifteen Year Follow-Up. Family Relations, 58(2), 148-161. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2008.00543.x
  8. Abbott, D. & Dalla, R. L. (2008). “It’s a choice, simple as that”: Youth Reasoning for Sexual Abstinence or Activity. Journal of Youth Studies, 11(6), 629-649. DOI: 10.1080/13676260802225751
  9. Dalla, R. L., Huddleston-Casas, C., & *León, M. (2008). Investigating Psycho-Social Well-Being among Ethnically Diverse Rural Women: Expect the Unexpected. Great Plains Research, 18(2), 143-154.
  10. *Siemer, K., & Dalla, R. L. (2007). Predicting likelihood to use EAPs in small businesses. Journal of Employee Assistance, 37(3), 13-15.
  11. Dalla, R. L. (2006). “You can’t hustle all your life”: An exploratory investigation of the exit process among street-level prostituted women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, 276-290. DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2006.00296.x
  12. Dalla, R. L., *MoulikGupta, P., Lopez, W., & Jones, V. (2006). “It’s a balancing act!”: An exploration of the school/work/family interface among rural Nebraska, bilingual para-professional educators. Family Relations (Special Collection: Working with Latino Families in the United States), 55, 390-402. DOI: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00410
  13. Carter, D. J., & Dalla, R. L. (2006). Application of transactional analysis: Street-level prostituted women as mental health care clients. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity, 13(1), 95-119. DOI: 10.1080/10720160600586424
  14. Dalla, R. L., Lopez, W., Jones, V., & Xia, Y. (2006). Individual and familial stressors among rural Nebraskan, bilingual paraprofessional educators. Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, 5(2), 127-141. DOI: 10.1177/1538192705285
  15. Dalla, R. L., *Ellis, A., & Cramer, S. C. (2005). Immigration & Rural America: Latinos’ perceptions of work and residence in three meat-packing communities. Community, Work & Family, 8(2), 163-185. DOI:10.1080/1366880050004963
  16. Dalla, R. L., & *Christensen, A. (2005). Latino immigrants describe residence in rural Midwestern meat-packing communities: A longitudinal assessment of social and economic change. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 27(1), 23-42. DOI: 10.1177/0739986304272354
  17. Dalla, R. L., Villarruel, F., Cramer, S., & Gonzalez-Kruger, G. (2004). Rural community change, strengths, and challenges: Long-term residents describe impacts of rapid immigration. Great Plains Research / Special Issue– New Immigrants in the Great Plains: Strengths and Challenges, 14 (2), 231-252.
  18. DeFrain, J., Dalla, R. L., Abbott, D. A., & Johnson, J. (2004). We welcome the new immigrants. In DeFrain, J., Dalla, R., L., Abbott, D. A., & Johnson, J. (Eds.), Great Plains Research: A Journal of Natural and Social Sciences, 14(2), 335-346.
  19. Dalla, R. L. (2004). “I fell off [the mothering] track”: Barriers to ‘effective mothering’ among street-level prostituted women. Family Relations / Special Issue: Complexity of Family Life Among Low Income and Working Poor, 53, 190-200. DOI: 10.1111/j.0022-2445.2004.00009.x
  20. Bischoff, R., & Dalla, R. L. (2003). Responding to the need for training in Positive Youth Development: The Great Plains Idea. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 95(4), 19-22.
  21. Dalla, R. L., Xia, Y., & *Kennedy, H. (2003). “You just give them what they want and pray they don’t kill you”: Street-level sex workers’ reports of victimization, personal resources and coping strategies. Violence Against Women, 9(11), 1367-1394. DOI: 10.1177/1077801203255679
  22. Dalla, R. L. (2003). When the bough breaks: Examining intergenerational parent-child relationship patterns among street-level sex-workers & their parents & children. Applied Developmental Science, 7(4), 216-228. DOI: 10.1207/S1532480XADS0704_1
  23. Dalla, R. L. (2002). Night moves: A qualitative investigation of street-level sex work. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 26, 63-73. DOI: 10.1111/1471-6402.00044
  24. Dalla, R. L. (2000). Exposing the ‘pretty woman’ myth: A qualitative investigation of the lives of female streetwalkers. Journal of Sex Research, 37(4), 344-353. DOI: 10.1080/00224490009552057
Book Chapters:
  1. Dalla, R. L. & *Kreimer, L. (In Press). Sex Trafficked Women in the Midwestern United States and Mumbai, India: Worlds Apart or Strikingly Similar? In Dombrowski, Crawford (Eds.) Health Disparities: Global Scope, Midwestern Evidence
  2. Dalla, R. L., DeFrain, J., Johnson, J., & Abbot, D. (2008). Introduction (pp. 1-6) and Epilogue (pp. 411-425). In R. L. Dalla, J. Defrain, J. Johnson, and D. Abbott (Eds.), Strengths and Challenges of New Immigrant Families: Implications for Research, Policy, Education, and Service. Lanham, MD: Lexington Publishers, Inc.
  3. Dalla, R. L., & Gamble, W. C. (2007). Teenage mothering on the Navajo Reservation: An examination of intergenerational perceptions & beliefs. In S. J. Ferguson (Ed.) Shifting the center: Understanding contemporary families (3rd) (pp. 389-404). New York: McGraw Hill.

1 Student co-authors represented with asterisks.

International Activities

CYAF (Child, Youth and Family Studies) is committed to creating an environment that prepares students to be successful, culturally competent, global citizens. International engagement—through a variety of learning opportunities—are encouraged and supported within the department.

As a member of the CYAF faculty, I have benefited tremendously from our departmental GLOCAL mission (Global Scope / Local Impact) evident through my extensive travel opportunities focusing on teaching, disseminating research, collecting data, and expanding and solidifying international relationships.


Beijing, Guanzhou, and Shanghai, China (fall, 2006). In the fall of 2006 I had the opportunity to spend 18 days in China. The central purpose was to participate in a Domestic Violence conference with training on service delivery, although much additional sight-seeing and travel were embedded in the trip—including hiking the Great Wall of China and visiting the Summer Palace. While there, I was interviewed by a Chinese journalist in Shanghai about my research with prostituted women. The interviewed appeared in a Shanghai-based periodical--Xinmin Weekly.

New Castle, Australia (spring, 2008). In the spring of 2008 I traveled to New Castle, Australia with close colleagues (see Drs. Susan Churchill and Julia Torquati) to participate in the annual International Family Strengths conference. While there- I was invited to conduct a live radio broadcast about my research with prostituted women—the show aired on ABC [Australia Broadcast Corporation, a radio/television news program equivalent to National Public Radio (NPR)].

Bangkok, Thailand (Spring, 2010). As my research interests into the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation increased, I traveled to Bangkok—a megatron for sexual trafficking—to learn more about trafficking processes, source and destination communities, as well as intervention and outreach. I traveled with a group from South Dakota. We volunteered at Nightlight- an agency in Bangkok that helps trafficked women develop employable skills. As part of this trip, we participated in an annual “Valentine Outreach” in the many red-light areas of Bangkok.

India (2012; 2013; 2014; 2015): My research interests with women trafficked into the commercial sex industry led me India. India is a source, transit and destination country for human trafficking—and Mumbai is an epi-center of trafficking activity. Thus, in summer of 2012 I traveled to Mumbai, working with an NGO—Prerana—to collect interview data from women working in the red-light and infamous brothels of Kamathipura and Falkland Road.
I have traveled to India three times since that first trip. The most notable journey was a three-week Study Abroad excursion in May of 2014:

In addition to service outreach activities with survivors of trafficking Mumbai and Delhi, we also visited the Taj Mahal, rode elephants to the Amber Fort in Jaipur, hiked the World Heritage Allora and Elantra rock caves, and searched for Tigers in the Ranthambore National Tiger reserve (we found some!!). A similar journey—focused again on the global dimensions of human trafficking—is scheduled for summer, 2017! Contact me for details:


I am privileged to be the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Human Trafficking—a quarterly, peer-reviewed and international journal published by Routledge/Taylor and Francis! My Introductory Statement- which appeared in the inaugural issue dated March, 2015, is below. Please visit our website to learn more:

Journal of Human Trafficking (JHT) is founded on the principle belief that the generation, dissemination and application of new knowledge is fundamental to the eradication of human trafficking and allied forms of slavery. Accordingly, JHT was envisioned as: (1) a repository for innovative and applied knowledge on all aspects of human trafficking and modern-day slavery; (2) a centralized resource for academics, scientists, policy makers, practitioners, and students alike seeking the latest empirical discoveries and field-tested “best practices”; (3) a bridge in the chasm between theory, applied research, and practice; and (4) a platform from which to contemplate the power and impact of multidisciplinary perspectives.

Human Trafficking Journal

We set an ambitious agenda. Still, the real power and potential of JHT is evident in its contributors and allies. JHT is fortified with an embarrassment of riches—so-to-speak—reflected in our editorial board and administrative team. Our collective expertise spans the gamut from prevention and intervention, to partnerships, practice, and prosecution within and across all types of trafficking-related phenomena, and together we represent nineteen countries and seven geo-cultural areas of the world! JHT was clearly built with meticulous attention to both form and function in order to create a journal markedly distinct from its predecessors and equipped with the capacity to effect change and make a difference.

I am confident that JHT will become THE quintessential resource for cutting-edge scholarship, innovative inquiry, and pioneering practice necessary to advance the anti-trafficking movement. Our inaugural issue sets the pace. The cornerstones of JHT—innovative inquiry (see, for instance, Dubrawski, Miller, Barnes, Boecking, & Kennedy; and Kempadoo) and field-tested practice (e.g., Vandenberg & Skinner) are boldly demonstrated here. Likewise, attention to the scope of anti-trafficking phenomena—from protection and prevention (e.g., Capron & Delmonico) to policy (e.g., Cho) and partnerships (e.g., Lagon)—are given voice by our inaugural contributors. Ultimately however, JHT is intended to help identify gaps in research and practice, and set strategies for action. Nowhere is this mandate more evident than in the manuscript authored by Picarelli. Perspectives from a diverse array of disciplines and sub-disciplines—including medicine, law, and computer technology as well as criminal justice and gender studies—and strata of society (i.e., academia, practice, government and service/non-governmental organizations) are reflected here, as well. Finally, as an international journal committed to global representation, authors for this issue were solicited from both within and outside the United States. The inauguration of JHT is auspicious indeed.

The road from proposal development to production, however, was not without challenges; the journey was arduous at times, and the outcome uncertain. Still, despite obstacles and stumbling blocks, unsolicited words of encouragement, inspiration and support—from all corners of the globe—sustained my belief in the value, significance, and potential impact of our mission. A representative sample illustrates:

  • Congratulations for all your effort in developing such a much-needed journal. This journal is long overdue in the academy!
  • The Journal of Human Trafficking will add much needed discussion on the pressing issues of trafficking. I am excited to see the Journal’s potential.
  • I think your goals for this journal are excellent, and the emphasis on empirical research and the breadth of the focus will offer a fascinating contribution to the field.
  • I applaud your efforts to lead the movement to acquire a peer reviewed body of work that can be used to collaborate data and set research agendas in both the U.S. and abroad… As you know, this is an area that is sorely lacking.

And, my personal favorite:

  • I stumbled across your effort to create a journal for human trafficking, and I just wanted to thank you. As an Iowa pastor, I used to think nothing good could come out of Nebraska, but you have certainly dispelled that presupposition! :) One of the great difficulties we have had with law enforcement and politicians around the country has been the availability of peer-reviewed data which can inform decision- and policy-making. I cannot help but think such a journal will be a powerful tool for forcing people in power to act. They are sometimes affected by the personal stories of survivors, but they are often blown away by quantifiable data. Thank you so much for your effort to get this done!

The global community invested in advancing anti-trafficking scholarship and practice via sound inquiry and open dialogue—those whose voices are represented in the comments above—are clearly primed for the release of our inaugural issue! I am honored to play a role in this worthy pursuit and privileged to partner with such an esteemed, and inspiring, team.

Rochelle L. Dalla, Editor, Journal of Human Trafficking
Professor, Department of Child, Youth & Family Studies
University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE USA


I am 5th generation native of Durango, Colorado—located in the far, southwest corner of the state and nestled between high mountains and rock-cut cliffs. For much of my childhood, I was surrounded by multiple generations—grandparents and great-grandparents—on both my maternal and paternal sides. It was wonderful! My mother, father, stepfather and sister still live there and we visit regularly. Durango is home to about 25,000. It is internationally regarded as one of the best places for mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing, and fly fishing in the summer months, and skiing at the famous Purgatory Ski Resort during the winter. Durango is also home to one of the only coal-run narrow guage railroads still in existence! In short- tourism is the biggest industry there. I grew up working part-time jobs in various hotels (i.e., in housekeeping), restaurants (i.e., as a server) and other service industries (i.e., sales, etc…). I learned quickly that education was key to career advancement!


I left Durango after high-school graduation to attend the University of Colorado-Boulder; I graduated in May of 1991 with a double major in Psychology and Cultural Anthropology. Go Buffs!

University of Colorado logo

I began my doctoral work in August of 1991 at the University of Arizona, majoring in Human Department and Family Studies. My master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation focused on adolescent parenting among Navajo, Native American teenage mothers. Graduate school was liberating and exhilarating—and paved the way for my faculty work at the University of Nebraska!

Arizona University logo

I live in Omaha – which I have called home for over 20 years now!! I am married to Damian, an engineer, and we have an amazing (and spicy!) son named Logan. Logan is always on the move and stays active with baseball, soccer, skiing, ice skating/hockey, gymnastics, swimming, and guitar!