Alene Moris Women’s Center

A photo of Dr. Sutapa Basu, executive director of the UW Alene Moris Women’s Center

Sutapa Basu, PhD

Director, Alene Moris Women’s Center, University of Washington

Read Sutapa’s Welcome Message

Sutapa Basu, Ph.D. is the executive director of the University of Washington Alene Moris Women’s Center, a vital place where women and men partner to build a community culture of gender equity. Under Dr. Basu’s leadership, the UW Women’s Center is one of the country’s largest university-based women’s centers. Dr. Basu is recognized as a global leader and advocate for women’s issues, girls’ education, gender equality, sustainable development, and human rights, particularly for those who have been victims of human trafficking abuse. Her areas of academic specialization are women in developing economies and international development, and she addresses these topics through the lenses of post-colonial feminism and anti-racism. Ending global human trafficking and violence against women and children are central goals of her research and activism. Committed to marrying her scholarship and professional praxis Dr. Basu ensures that through educational, professional, and personal support programs, women and girls have the choices and material resources to make the best decisions for their future.

In 2001, under Dr. Basu’s leadership, the UW Moris Women’s Center hosted the first-ever anti-human trafficking conference attended by over 300 participants in Washington state. Because of Dr. Basu’s anti-human trafficking work in India, extensive activism, and scholarship, human trafficking was framed as a public health issue at this pioneering conference. This was a vital intervention within the fields of public health, anti-trafficking legislation, and political economy. As Dr. Basu stated in her opening keynote speech, “a public health focus helps make the cost of this illegal but profitable trade more visible. There is a great need for more intervention and services to deal with the health problems of trafficked women.” Since this conference, health has become one of the major frameworks for contextualizing human trafficking. Dr. Basu has also helped create the first statewide anti-trafficking task force and legislation, established/implemented in 2003 and 2005, respectively. Following Washington state’s lead, similar legislation has passed in all 50
states. Read more

Dr. Basu’s lifetime work is grounded in a dedication to empowering women to take leadership roles, demand better working conditions, and to seek support against domestic violence, as well as improving education and family health for women and children. She is committed to implementing this ethos in every aspect of her life, including her role as a mentor. Dr. Basu is proud to have mentored many women over the years and continues to provide guidance and support to the next generation of women leaders.  In her words: “Women worldwide need support systems, and many have taken on leadership roles that have defied cultural norms. In every society, women account for nearly two-thirds of aggregate labor. Despite the inequities, we are seeing women taking on more responsible roles and leadership positions in civil societies”.

Dr. Basu has received many awards for her advocacy and advancement of women in society, including:


  • United Nations Human Rights Award
  • Women of Inspiration, Seattle Storms
  • Florence Merrick Award, North West Women’s Law Center
  • Women Helping Women Award, Soroptimist International
  • Woman of Year Award, Northwest Asian Weekly
  • Community Voice Award, International Examiner
  • Role Model Empowering Young Women as Leaders, Women of Color Empowered
  • Excellence Award, The Junior League of Seattle for commitment to service in the Greater Seattle Community


Dr. Basu serves on many boards and committees on the UW campus and Washington state community, see below for a selected list.

Public Service

  • After School Girl’s project Board;
  • Anti-Dowry Movement, India, Board Member and Volunteer;
  • Asian Pacific Women’s Caucus;
  • Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) 9th International Forum, Guadalajara, Mexico;
  • DARSHN (Microcredit organization for women) Advisory Board;
  • Diversity Committee, University of Washington;
  • Every Women’s Delegation to Cuba, Member of the Delegation;
  • Executive Ethics Board, State of Washington, appointed by Governor Gary Locke;
  • Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing, China, Representative of the University of Washington;
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center Community Advisory Council Board;
  • HEAL TRAFFICKING (Health, Education, Advocacy, Linkage) Board Member;
  • Indian American Political Advocacy Council;
  • International Women’s Forum;
  • KCTS Advisory Board;
  • King County Civil Rights Commissioner, appointed by Governor Gary Locke;
  • King County Women’s Programs, appointed by King County Councilmember Ron Sims;
  • Leading a case study in Kerala, India, examining the effects of trafficking on local women;
  • Northwest Women’s Law Center;
  • Pan Asian International Women’s Coalition;
  • President’s Advisory Committee on Women of Color;
  • President’s Advisory Committee on Women, University of Washington, appointed by UW President;
  • Special Committee on Faculty Women, University of Washington, appointed by Chair of UW Faculty Senate;                       
  • The Bankura Women’s Samities Co-op Program, West Bengal, India: Worked with Women and Community-Supported Agriculture in the Villages;
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) ADVANCE Center for Institutional Change, University of Washington;
  • UW Department of Global Health Resource Center Advisory Board;
  • UW Women’s Center Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force;
  • Voice of People Organization: Program Development and Fund Raiser, India;
  • Washington state Task Force Against the Trafficking of Persons;
  • Women + Business, Board;
  • Women in Academia Council;
  • Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), Affiliate Participate in their annual meetings. Advise on issues regarding Indian women and work;
  • Women of Vision, Power and Potential Conference, University of Washington;



  • Forthcoming book documenting experiences of immigrant women in Washington state (University of Washington Press)
  • “Human Trafficking and Supply Chains: Report to Legislature.” (Washington Department of Commerce 2017)
  • “Sex, money, brutality.” Contexts Magazine (American Sociological Association 2014)
  • “Human trafficking and Bangladesh factories” Seattle Times 2013
  • “Trafficking in Women and Children,” in Race, Culture, Psychology and Law,” K. Barett and W. George, editors (Sage Publications 2005).
  • “Trafficking of Women and Children: Challenges and Solutions,” Conference Proceedings (University of Washington 2002).
  • “Macroeconomic Policies: Effects on Women’s Lives in India,” Sisters of Color International Journal, (November 2000).
  • “Pioneering Hindu Women in India: Overcoming Barriers and Claiming Their Places in Today’s Society,” in Remarkable Women Perspectives on Female Talent Development, K. Arnold, K. Noble and R. Subotnik, editors (Hampton Press 1996).