Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Murphy is an Associate Professor of English and the Director of the Modern Slavery Research Project at Loyola University New Orleans, where she and a team of researchers work to provide data-informed, community-based, survivor-centered research that improves community response to modern slavery in the United States and internationally. She is the author of Survivors of Slavery: Modern-Day Slave Narratives (Columbia University Press, 2014), which highlights the voices of over 40 survivors of 21st century slavery. In her most recent study, she interviewed 641 homeless and runaway youth about their experiences of labor and sexual exploitation, and provided a four-pronged blueprint for how homeless service providers can best assist youth at risk of trafficking. She is a sought-after trainer and public speaker who has educated and motivated thousands of community activists, students, law enforcement officers, service providers, and medical professionals to respond compassionately and effectively to the needs of survivors of trafficking. As a consultant, she provides stakeholders assistance with community-based research, curriculum design, and awareness projects in the field of modern slavery, human trafficking, and other social justice issues.
Tracks down the sources of the misinformation being spread that runaway and homeless youth are likely to be trafficked for sex within 72 hours of leaving home. Provides a nuanced and survivor-centered portrait of the human trafficking –both sex and labor– that affects the homeless youth population.
Provides a detailed account of labor and sexual exploitation experienced by homeless youth in Covenant House's care in ten cities.
Links the discourse surrounding human trafficking that we find in media such as the HBO television show The Wire to the “white slave trade” scare of the early 20th century to suggest that Bush-era immigration fears and conservative sexual mores influence the discussion of human slavery today, as they have for over a century.