Curriculum vitae

Melissa Hope Ditmore
P.O.Box 20853 New York NY 10009 USA
Email: mhd at melissaditmore com


  • Over ten years experience in research and advocacy on global health, gender, violence, migration and development
  • Skilled researcher, policy analyst, trainer, organizer, public speaker, advocate
  • Experience working with marginalized populations with a variety of community-based organizations culminating in reports and peer-reviewed publications
  • Experienced program manager and administrator, particularly with emerging organizations and organizations in transition, including fundraising, monitoring and evaluation, and hiring
  • Author and editor of numerous publications related to gender, development, violence, HIV/AIDS, mobility and trafficking in persons, and human rights
  • Experienced instructor and mentor on research methods and research ethics


  1. Ph.D., CUNY Graduate Center, Department of Sociology (19972002)

    My thesis explored the consequences of the conflation of trafficking and prostitution in international and U.S. domestic policy.

    • 2000-2001 co-recipient of the Helena Rubinstein Dissertation Proposal Award
    • 1999 research award recipient from The Jewish Foundation for the Education of Women
    • Presented policy analysis and research at various symposia, conferences and universities
  2. Universiteit van Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society (1998)

  3. B.A. Linguistics, Cornell University (1992)

Current community service

  • Red Umbrella Project, Member of the Board of Directors (Treasurer)
  • HOOK Online, Member of the Board of Directors (Treasurer)
  • Prostitutes of New York, Community Liaison


  1. Advocacy Adviser, International Council of AIDS Service Organizations and Civil Society Working Group on HIV in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, New York, August 2013December 2014
    • Coordinating events and advocacy related to MDGs in order to promote the inclusion of HIV post-2015, with a broad spectrum of actors including governments and multilateral organizations.
    • Representing the Civil Society Working Group on HIV in the Post-2015 Agenda at meetings of the UN Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals and other UN meetings including the Commission on the Status of Women.
    • Providing input to the new development framework being developed, including about goals, targets and indicators.
    • Planning events for the High Level Meeting in New York in October 2013.
  2. Consultant, John Snow International, April 2011July 2014
    • Drafting guidance for best practices and monitoring and evaluation in HIV interventions for the Dominican Republic
    • Writing about effective HIV prevention in the field including policy analysis
    • Evaluating sex work projects to identify best practices, using criteria including effectiveness in HIV and STI prevention and treatment, numbers of people reached, and capacity building of sex workers
    • Writing about effective HIV-prevention programming with female sex workers for AIDStar website [link]
  3. Trainer, Harm Reduction Coalition, November 2013February 2014
    • Developing and implementing trainings for health care program personnel working with transgender people and sex workers of all genders
    • Hiring and managing co-presenters
  4. International Consultant, UNAIDS and National AIDS Secretariat of Sierra Leone, February 2013June 2013
    • Designing methodology for national population size estimation of sex workers, people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men in Sierra Leone, including questions about violence relevant to HIV
    • Training and supervising team of 24 data collectors and 6 data analysts
    • Writing final report and presentation [link]
  5. Research Consultant, Harm Reduction International, November 2012October 2013
    • Writing report about harm reduction for people who use drugs and people who sell sex [link]
    • Researching effective HIV and other blood-borne infection prevention in the field including policy analysis
    • Presenting at international conference June 2013
  6. Research Consultant, Urban Justice Center Sex Workers Project, March 2011October 2012
    • Analyzing funding streams (PEPFAR) and writing fact sheets and papers about funding streams and their implementation.
    • Developing and implementing protocols for interviews and focus group discussions about how people from Latin America end up in slavery-like situations.
    • Overseeing research staff.
    • Co-authoring written reports and papers.
    • Fundraising.
  7. Training Consultant, AIDS Project Management Group, May 2011February 2012
    • Conducting trainings for trainers in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan (February 12-25, 2012)
    • Developing and finalizing exercises, slides and manual for 5-day training about HIV prevention programming with sex workers.
    • Liaising with sex work networks.
    • Identifying appropriate personnel to conduct trainings.
  8. Research Consultant, Good Participatory Practice Project with TTAG, Thailand, June 2011November 2011
    • Developing and implementing protocols for interviews and focus group discussions to evaluate research practices and identify good participatory practices in clinical research with marginalized populations.
    • Co-authoring written reports and papers.
    • Fundraising
  9. Post-doctoral Research Fellow in Behavioral Sciences Training, National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., July 2009June 2010
    • Designed and implemented research project with drug users in Cambodia.
    • Writing academic papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals
  10. Researcher, Association for Progressive Communication Women’s Networking Support Programme, US Research Team, May 2009April 2011
    • Investigating access to information in the US, including both availability of information for end-users as well as information collected and used by corporations
    • Use of online research tools and recruiting participants online
    • Analysis of data
    • Report-writing
    • Proposal writing
  11. Researcher, Good Participatory Practice Project, March 2008April 2009
    • Developing protocol for Internet survey on good participatory practices in research with sex workers
    • Supervising French translation and coordinating and supervising Spanish and French interviewers
    • Co-authoring final report to be submitted to sex worker networks and AVAC
    • Fundraising and management of funds
  12. Consultant, AIDS Fonds Netherlands, January 2009August 2009
    • Writing a strategic plan for advocacy and spending for effective HIV prevention among sex workers
    • Developing protocol and consulting with sex workers on five continents
    • Evaluating HIV prevention programs for sex workers to identify and promote best practices
    • Hiring and supervision of assistants and translators
  13. Research Consultant, Urban Justice Center Sex Workers Project, September 2006January 2009
    • Finalizing report on law enforcement raids conducted in the US, report, including but not limited to finalizing text; choosing illustrations; hiring and supervising proofreader, external reviewer, graphic designer, and printer; and coordinating media release and strategy.
    • Writing and conducting a national report on the effects of anti-trafficking policy and implementation on outcomes for prosecution in the US.
    • Analyzing data.
    • Developing interview protocols for sex workers, trafficked persons, service providers and law enforcement.
    • Conducting interviews. Some translation involved.
    • Training interviewers and interview coders.
  14. Gender Consultant, Asian Development Bank, September 2007January 2008
    • Evaluating HIV-prevention efforts for infrastructure projects in India.
    • Writing country reports from India and Tajikistan on gender mainstreaming and HIV-prevention efforts on ADB infrastructure projects.
    • Research on HIV-prevention and gender mainstreaming needs and efforts related to ADB projects in India and Tajikistan. Conducting, coding and analyzing interviews.
    • Hiring and supervising assistants and staff in India and Tajikistan.
    • Recommending HIV-prevention methods for infrastructure projects in Tajikistan.
  15. Interim Director, Urban Justice Center Sex Workers Project, August 2008November 2008
    • All financial reporting and all contact with current and potential SWP funders.
    • Supervising staff of 6.
    • Implementing internal evaluation.
    • Overseeing hiring procedures for the Director’s position.
    • Updating and coordinating transition for ongoing policy projects and funding concerns with new Director, especially during the first month of the Director’s employment.
    • Coordinating joint NGO advocacy letter to national media outlets.
  16. Research Methods Trainer on Respondent-Driven Sampling, UNAIDS, November 2007November 2007
    • Teaching workshop on respondent-driven sampling (RDS) and analysis to researchers and program officers in Khartoum, Sudan.
  17. Research Consultant, Women's Network for Unity, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, December 2005October 2006
    • Designing and implementing research project with sex workers across Cambodia.
  18. Consultant, United Nations Population Fund, February 2006March 2006
    • Writing national strategy for condom promotion.
  19. Coordinator, Global Network of Sex Work Projects, January 2005September 2007
    • Development and implementation of activist agenda and strategy, including focused campaigns, to promote the rights of sex workers around the world.
    • Overseeing organizational consultation to develop democratic structure.
    • Frequent public and media appearances and statements.
    • Writing press releases related to campaigns.
    • Developing guidelines about sex work projects for donors and grantmakers.
    • Organized and coordinated presentations by sex workers at the 2006 International AIDS Conference, Toronto, Canada.
  20. Senior Research Fellow, Center for the Study of Women and Society, Graduate Center of the City University of New York, October 2003May 2006
    • Writing and editing policy analysis and ethnographic articles and reports about migration, health, and HIV.
    • Participating and presenting at CUNY events on research and methodological issues.


Peer-Reviewed Journals

  • Allman, D., Ditmore, M.H. & Kaplan K. 2014. Improving Ethical and Participatory Practice for Marginalized Populations in Biomedical HIV Prevention Trials: Lessons from Thailand. PLoS-One. In press
  • Ditmore, M.H. 2014. “Caught between the Tiger and the Crocodile:”: Sex Workers’ Experiences of Structural and Physical Violence. Studies in Gender and Sexuality 15(1):22-31 doi 0.1080/15240657.2014.877726.
  • Grov C., Rodriguez-Diaz C., Ditmore M.H., Restar A. & Parsons J.T. 2014. What kinds of workshops do Internet-based male escorts want? Implications for prevention and health promotion. Sexuality Research and Social Policy 11(1) doi 10.1007/s13178-014-0151-z.
  • Ditmore M.H. & Allman D. 2013. The Effects of Funding Restrictions on HIV Programming for Sex Workers. Journal of the International AIDS Society 16: 17354.
  • Ditmore M.H. & Allman D. 2011. “Who is Helsinki?”: Sex workers recommend better communication in clinical trials. Health Education Review. Highlighted in UNAIDS’ “HIV this Week” bulletin
  • Ditmore M.H. & Thukral J.T. 2012. Accountability and the Use of Raids to Fight Trafficking. Anti-Trafficking Review 1.
  • Miller L., Folayan M., Allman D., Nkala B., Mutengu L.K., RuizMingote L., Calazans G., Mburu R., Ntombela F. & Ditmore M.H. 2010. How Ethical Is Your Clinical Trial?. International Journal of Clinical Practice. 2010 August; 64(9): 1179–1182. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-1241.2010.02421.x.
  • Ditmore M.H. & Choun Neth. 2006. Unsafe Condoms. Reproductive Health Matters 28 (November 2006): 171-173.
  • Loff B., Jenkins C., Ditmore M.H., Overs C. & Barbero R. 2005. Unethical clinical trials in Thailand: a community response.. The Lancet 6 May 2005; 365: 1618-1619.
  • Ditmore M.H. & Wijers M. 2003. Crime, sex, money and migration: The negotiations on the United Nations Protocol on Trafficking in Persons. Nemesis 4 (Utrecht, Netherlands).
  • Ditmore M.H. & Saunders P. 1998. Sex work and sex trafficking. Sexual Health Exchange number 1.

In preparation

  • Ditmore M.H. Don’t Believe the Hype: Emotional appeals in anti-trafficking campaigns. In revision
  • Ditmore M.H. & Allman D. Its ‘Dark Ripple Effect’: Competing narratives of PEPFAR and sex work in southern Africa. Presented at the International AIDS Conference, Washington DC, July 2012
  • Ditmore M.H., Bradford S., Branham N. & Seng E. The Suspension of a Successful Needle and Syringe Program in Cambodia and Rising HIV among Women.


  • Ditmore M.H. Prostitution and Sex Work. In the series ‘Historical Guide to Controversial Issues in America’ (2011) Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Press.
  • Ditmore M.H. (editor) with Willman A. & Levy A. Sex Work Matters: Exploring Money, Power and Intimacy. (2010) London: Zed Books.
  • Ditmore M.H. (editor) Encyclopedia of Prostitution and Sex Work. (2006) Westport: Greenwood Press.

Book chapters

  • Ditmore M.H. Social Network Analysis. In ‘CUNY Women’. (2014) Palgrave.
  • Maternick A. & Ditmore M.H. Sex, Violence and the Border: Trafficking for Sex Work from Mexico to the United States. In ‘Global Human Trafficking’, Molly Dragiewicz (editor). (2014) Routledge.
  • Ditmore, M.H. Sex Work and Development. In ‘Development with a Body: Making Connections between Sexuality, Human Rights and Development’, Andrea Cornwall, Sonia Correa & Susie Jolly (editors). (2008) London: Zed Books.
  • Ditmore M.H. Sex Workers are Organizing in Kolkata. In ‘The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social’, Patricia Clough (editor) with Jean Halley. (2007) Chapel Hill, NC: Duke University Press.
  • Ditmore M.H. Trafficking in Lives: How Ideology Shapes Policy. In ‘Trafficking and Prostitution Reconsidered’, Kamala Kempadoo, Bandana Pattanaik & Jyothi Sanghera (editors). (2005) Boulder, CO: Paradigm.


Journals and Periodicals

Book Reviews

  • Review of Life Interrupted by Denise Brennan. Women’s Review of Books. ((forthcoming))
  • Review of I’ve Got to Make My Living by Christine Blair. Journal of Social History (December 12, 2012) 46(2):575-577.
  • Review of The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects by Roberto Abadie. Symbolic Interaction.
  • Review of Sex Trafficking by Siddarth Kara. Women’s Review of Books (September/October 2009) 26(5):23.
  • Review of Global Outlaws: Crime, Money, and Power in the Contemporary World by Carolyn Nordstrom. Theoretical Criminology (May 2008) 12(2):253-255.
  • Review of Sex at the Margins: Migration, Labour Markets and the Rescue Industry by Laura Maria Agustín. Theoretical Criminology (May 2008) 12(2):253-255.


  • Taking the Pledge. 2007 (video). Producer.

Thesis Supervision

  • Echols, Kevicha. The Power of the P. Widener University. Ph.D 2012
  • McCracken, Jill. Listening to the Language of Sex Workers: An Analysis of Street Sex Worker Representations and Their Effects on Sex Workers and Society. University of Arizona. Ph.D 2007
  • Koken, Juline. The meaning of the ‘whore’: How feminist theories on prostitution shape research on female sex workers. Second Doctoral Exam. Social-Personality Psychology, The Graduate Center, CUNY. Ph.D 2006