Research and Strategy Specialist

Position: Research and Strategy Specialist

Compensation: Commensurate with experience

FLSA Status: Full-time, Exempt

Reports to: Data Analysis Program Director

Location: Washington DC

Other: Please submit a cover letter that includes any salary requirements.


About Polaris

Polaris knows that human trafficking is a complex business and in order to end it, we need tools to understand the scope, size, and systems of modern slavery. We cannot effectively eradicate an industry that generates $150 billion in profits and victimizes some 21 million people if we don’t fully comprehend the trafficking networks that are leading people into forced labor or commercial sex against their will. We’re building the most accurate maps possible of human trafficking networks, using publicly available information and insights learned from hotlines. We look beyond seemingly isolated incidents and reveal nationwide patterns that lead us to the top of the human trafficking pyramid.  Using this information, Polaris then designs campaigns to disrupt human trafficking networks. Attacking these networks at their core gives more survivors the chance to reach the help they want and need, and prevents vulnerable people from becoming victims of modern slavery. With the right tools, we can root out and eradicate modern slavery to create a world where all people are free.


The Data Analysis Program has the exciting task of utilizing data to inform and direct our approach to the fight against human trafficking with the ultimate end-goal of eradicating the crime of modern day slavery.


About the Opportunity

The Research and Strategy Specialist will use qualitative and quantitative methods to understand the operations of particular types of trafficking with the goal of quickly identifying and creating targeted action plans to disrupt and prevent these activities. The Research and Strategy Specialist will also work to develop multidisciplinary partnerships and create targeted packages designed to motivate these actors to support or participate in intervention efforts. A successful candidate will be a creative and critical thinker who approaches data with a strategic lens and is able to process diverse sources of information and expeditiously pinpoint significant findings to catalyze impact. This individual should have excellent written and verbal communication skills and excel at producing high-quality products in short time frames. This position will be ideal for someone who enjoys designing creative but pragmatic approaches to complex problems and feels comfortable engaging and communicating with a wide range of actors.


Specific Responsibilities

  • Use a variety of quantitative and qualitative analysis and research methods to identify actionable recommendations, that will be used to develop anti-trafficking intervention and prevention efforts on both the micro- and macro-level focused on eradication;

  • Specialize in understanding the dynamics, operations, and systems of specific industries which are believed to have high rates of exploitation and labor trafficking;

  • Collate and digest diverse data sources to quickly identify anti-trafficking intervention points using a systems perspective (non-mathematical);

  • Create written materials for a wide variety of non-technical audiences explaining research findings and recommendations clearly and concisely with a focus on motivating these actors towards taking desired actions;

  • Develop partnerships within civil society and the private and public sectors and gather information about areas for intervention;

  • Use results of analysis to build action plans targeted to and packaged for specific audiences including corporate entities, advocacy organizations, social service providers, funders, law enforcement, and government officials;

  • Assist in data review and cleanup as needed; and

  • Assist with other duties related to the work of the team as needed.


Required Qualifications

  • Minimum three years of academic and/or professional experience in data analytics, intelligence analysis, network analysis, geospatial analysis, financial analysis, social science research, or other research-related fields;

  • Highly developed written and verbal communication skills with a strong focus on being able to explain complex technical information to a non-technical audience;

  • Comfort with a range of data analysis and visualization tools, such as Excel, Paxata, Palantir, and Tableau;

  • Strong proficiency and comfort working with new and diverse technologies;

  • Ability to synthesize large volumes of material and classify information based on established schema;

  • Emotional maturity and demonstrated discretion in handling sensitive and confidential information;

  • Demonstrated ability and willingness to engage in positive collaboration with individuals and groups with diverse cultures, backgrounds, and communication styles;

  • Strong writing and public speaking skills;

  • Flexibility, comfortable with change, and the ability to juggle competing priorities;

  • Solutions oriented with a commitment to innovation and creative problem-solving; and

  • A natural self-starter with the ability to meet tight deadlines and deliver results quickly.


Preferred Qualifications

  • Demonstrated Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese or Tagalog language proficiency;

  • Demonstrated experience and proficiency working with databases and analytics platforms such as Salesforce and Access,  including experience running data reports or data queries;

  • Academic or professional knowledge of human trafficking, labor rights, or related social issues;

  • Experience conducting interviews and focus groups with vulnerable populations and survivors of trauma; and

  • Familiarity with non-profit fundraising processes including grant reporting, grant proposal writing, and corporate engagement.



  • Survivors of human trafficking encouraged to apply;

  • Subject to a criminal background check;

  • Subject to a probationary term contingent on training performance; and

  • Request for three professional and/or personal references.


Values Statement

The work of Polaris is grounded in a set of values and organizational beliefs that provide a common starting point for all of our activities. At Polaris, we look for talented individuals who are passionate about combating all forms of human trafficking and who will strive to embody and model these values within the Polaris community and in the anti-trafficking field. Please take a moment to make yourself familiar with these values and our mission statement before submitting your application. You can find a full description of our values here.