Dr. Marcel van der Watt Joins the NCOSE Team

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is thrilled to announce that Dr. Marcel van der Watt, internationally acclaimed counter-trafficking specialist, has joined the organization as a Senior Research Analyst. 

With more than 18 years of operational and research experience in the field of organized crime, human trafficking, and sexual exploitation, Dr. van der Watt will be a valuable addition to our team. He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will help us continue to fight sex trafficking and eradicate all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation.

Dr. van der Watt’s background as a police investigator, hostage and suicide negotiator, and human trafficking case consultant continues to inform his work with survivors of the sex trade. His first-hand experience will also greatly benefit our efforts to address the role of consumer-level demand in driving sexual exploitation.

Dr. van der Watt previously worked as a senior lecturer in the Department of Police Practice at the University of South Africa and for ten years as member of the South African Police Service. In addition to publishing and presenting his work on international platforms and training multidisciplinary professionals from more than 30 countries, Dr. van der Watt has also consulted in and provided expert testimony in several sex trafficking cases. He has engaged with both the Presidency and the Multi-Party Women’s Caucus in South Africa’s Parliament on matters related to implicit harms, myths, and laws associated with the sex trade. 

Dr. van der Watt earned his Ph.D. in Criminal Justice at the University of South Africa in 2018. He has served as case consultant for the National Freedom Network since 2011, becoming a director in 2018, and as a member of the Global Resource Epicentre Against Human Trafficking (GREAT) in Canada since 2013, becoming the Director for Research in 2016. Dr. van der Watt is also a Research Fellow with the University of the Free State’s Center for Human Rights in South Africa. 

He was recently awarded the Influential Scholar Award by the 17th Annual International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference in 2020. Dr. van der Watt was also recognized in the Top 35 under 35 Africans awarded by the Young People in International Affairs in 2014.  

“I am thrilled at the opportunity to actively contribute to NCOSE’s legacy by augmenting the collective efforts of team members to achieve a world free from sexual abuse and exploitation. 

Learning from some of the foremost champions in the field, elevating the voices and experiences of survivors as critical considerations in policy-making, and underscoring the role of men in the demand-driven sexual exploitation landscape are but some of the factors that most excite me about working at NCOSE.” 

Dr. Marcel van der Watt

We are excited that Dr. van der Watt will be joining us in our office in Washington, DC. To learn more about his work, click here.

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



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