Andrea Nichols

Andrea Nichols

Lecturer in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
research interests:
  • Human Trafficking in the United States
  • Criminal Justice Policy
  • Victim Advocacy

contact info:

mailing address:

  • Washington University
    MSC 1078-0137-02
    One Brookings Drive
    St. Louis, MO 63130-4899

Dr. Nichols’s teaching and research interests broadly include sex trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation/sex work and intimate partner violence.

Her practitioner-centered research examines community-based responses, as well as social work and criminal justice practices. Her commercial sex industry related scholarship aims to provide a nuanced approach to understanding the fluid continuum of agency and victimization and the varied experiences of those involved in commercial sex by choice, as a constrained choice, or through trafficking.

Nichols’s second book, Sex Trafficking in the United States: Theory Research Policy and Practice, offers a comprehensive review of the contemporary discourse examining sex trafficking in the United States. Researchers, students, and practitioners will find one volume that encompasses a comprehensive review of key components of the field. The book explains the nuances of sex trafficking, competing views of commercial sex, and criminal justice and social service responses to sex trafficking. The book also details the theoretical and political debates that are present internationally as well as nationally, examines outcomes of various models of prostitution policy around the globe, and highlights the anti-trafficking movement and anti-trafficking organizations operating both internationally and nationally. Nichols also explores the link between identity-based oppression, societal marginalization, and the risk of victimization, as well as the contribution of weak social institutions and social safety nets to increased risk of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation.

Nichols’s most recent book, Social Work Practice with Survivors of Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation, is an edited volume, in which expert practitioners, survivors, and researchers model the best practices for working with survivors, using case examples and illustrative guides. Intended as a teaching tool for students or a supplementary manual for organizations, this book emphasizes interventions and treatments, working with specific populations, programmatic design recommendations, preventative work, and outreach interventions. Researchers, students, and practitioners will find a guide to the emerging field of practice with sex trafficking and exploitation survivors.

Nichols’s current research focuses on responses to juvenile justice involved domestic minor sex trafficking, stressing the importance of providing effective aftercare. Nichols works to expand the knowledge base in this area by examining benefits and challenges to various approaches used in the juvenile justice system. Drawing from in-depth interviews with criminal justice and social service practitioners who work with trafficked minors, her research aims to highlight best practices, as well as recommendations for change.

Selected Publications


Nichols, Andrea, Edmond, Tonya, and Heil, Erin. (Eds.) (2018). Social Work Practice with Survivors of Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Gerassi, Lara and Nichols, Andrea. 2017. Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation: Prevention, Advocacy, and Trauma-Informed Practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing.

Nichols, Andrea J. 2016. Sex Trafficking in the United States: Theory, Research, Policy and Practice. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Heil, Erin and Nichols, Andrea J. 2015. Human Trafficking in the Midwest: A Case Study of St. Louis and the Bi-State Area. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Nichols, Andrea J. 2014. Feminist Advocacy: Gendered Organizations in Community-Based Responses to Domestic Violence. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Selected Articles

Nichols, Andrea, Gerassi, Lara, & Snider, Kelly. 2018. "What’s in a Name? Benefits and Challenges of the Anti-Trafficking Language in Practitioner Perspective." Journal of Human Trafficking. Special Edition. Media & Human Trafficking: Negotiating Meaning, Representation, and Change. Barbara Friedman, Ed., 4(1), 73-85.

Nichols, Andrea & Heil, Erin. 2017. "Challenges to Prosecuting Buyers as Traffickers in Human Trafficking Cases: Implications of  U.S. v Jungers and U.S. v. Bonestroo." Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence, 2(4), 1-18.

Gerassi, Lara, Nichols, Andrea, &  *Michelson, Erica. 2017. "Lessons Learned: Benefits and Challenges in Community Based Responses to Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation." Journal of Human Trafficking, 3(4), 285-302.

Nichols, Andrea J. and Heil, Erin. 2014. "Challenges to Identifying and Prosecuting Sex Trafficking Cases in the Midwest United States." Feminist Criminology, 9(2), 1-30.

Nichols, Andrea J. 2014. "No-Drop Prosecution in Domestic Violence Cases: Survivor-Defined and Social Change Practices." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 29(11), 2114-2142.

Nichols, Andrea J. 2013. "Meaning-Making and Domestic Violence Victim Advocacy: An Examination of Feminist Identities, Ideologies, and Practices." Feminist Criminology 8(3),177- 201. +Best Article of the Year Award Winner 2014, Feminist Criminology

Nichols, Andrea J. 2013. "Survivor-Defined Practices to Mitigate Revictimization of Battered Women in the Protective Order Process." Journal of Interpersonal Violence 28(7).

Selected Book Chapters

Nichols, Andrea J. (2018). "Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of LGBTQ* People: Implications for Practice." In Nichols, Andrea, Edmond, Tonya, and Heil, Erin. (Eds.) Social Work Practice with Survivors of Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation. Columbia University Press.

Nichols, Andrea J. (2018). "Prevention and Outreach to At-Risk Groups." In Nichols, Andrea, Edmond, Tonya, and Heil, Erin. (Eds.) Social Work Practice with Survivors of Sex Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation. Columbia University Press.

Nichols, Andrea J. 2016. "Global Inequality and Human Trafficking: The Organ and Tissue Trade." In Heil, Erin and Nichols, Andrea J. 2016. (Eds.) Broadening The Scope of Human Trafficking. Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press.

Nichols, Andrea J. 2014. "The Intersectional Nature of Transgender Victimization: Police Abuses Against Transgender Sex Workers." In The Handbook of LGBT Communities, Crime, and Justice, edited by Dana Peterson and Vanessa R. Panfil. Springer Publishing.

Selected Honors and Awards

2018. Early Career Scholarship Award
Midwest Sociological Society

2017. Invited Testimony, Congressional Briefing. Human Trafficking and the Impact on Children and Families. Trafficking Survivors Relief Act of 2017. (H.R. 459) (S. 104).  Washington D.C.

2015. New Scholar Award
American Society of Criminology, Division on Women and Crime

2014. Carnegie Award, Missouri Professor of the Year
Carnegie Foundation, Council for Advancement and Support of Education

2014. Best Article of the Year Award, Feminist Criminology
American Society of Criminology, Division on Women and Crime

Selected Grant Projects

Principal Investigator, Strategic Plan to Address Human Trafficking in Missouri and Metro East St. Louis: Resource Development, Needs Assessment, and Innovative Solutions. With Co-Investigator Dr. Kathleen Preble, and research team. Missouri Collaborative Against Human Trafficking (2019-2020).

Principal Investigator, A Systems Analysis of Juvenile Justice Involved DMST. Midwest Sociological Society (2017-2018).

Gephardt Institute, Small Change Grant. Development of St. Louis Metro Area Human Trafficking Resource Guide. With Clementine Obama and Heidi Volkl (2017-2018).

Coordinator, Anti-Trafficking Initiative, Brown School of Social Work. Roblee Foundation (2015-18).

Co-Investigator, Human Trafficking in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area. With Dr. Rumi Price and Dr. Tonya Edmond. Washington University Institute for Public Health. PH Cube Award (2015-17).

Recent Courses

Sex Trafficking