Professor Cathy Zimmerman

PhD, MSc, MA

migration, violence and health

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

Professor Cathy Zimmerman is a behavioural and social scientist and leads research on migration, violence and health. She is a founding staff member of the Gender Violence & Health Centre at LSHTM. Professor Zimmerman's research focusses on human trafficking, exploitation and gender-based violence (see: Cathy and her team have produced policy and service-focused evidence from multiple corners of the world, including  Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, India, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom and multiple European countries. She has been recognised for the impact of her research on policies and services ( and Professor Zimmerman's current work focuses on child domestic workers under the MILLBY Research Programme on violence against women and girls in Southeast Asia. Professor Zimmerman's previous European studies generated the first data on the health risks and outcomes among trafficking survivors. Her team's Mekong multi-site research remains the largest study on human trafficking and health, to date. Professor Zimmerman and colleagues recently completed five-year intervention evaluation research: the DFID-funded Study on Work in Freedom Transnational (SWIFT) Evaluation of the International Labour Organization's "Work in Freedom" programme in South Asia (SWIFT: Previously, Professor Zimmerman, working with Kings College Institute of Psychiatry, produced evidence for England's Department of Health to help the National Health Service (NHS) respond to the health needs of people who are trafficked. She is the author of the World Health Organization's WHO Recommendations for Interviewing Trafficked Women, IOM and LSHTM's Caring for Trafficked Persons: Guidance for Health Providers and other international resource materials for law enforcement, service providers and health professionals. Dr. Zimmerman also worked in Cambodia from 1993 to 1998 where she established the first local non-governmental organization against domestic violence against women and children.


Department of Global Health and Development
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


Centre for Evaluation
Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre


Professor Zimmerman lectures on migration and health, human trafficking, gender-based violence, conflict and health, research ethics and supervises MSc and PhD students.


Professor Zimmerman has conducted multi-country research on the health of trafficked women and adolescents, which generated the first-ever data on the health risks and outcomes associated with trafficking. Her current Invisible Girls research is focussed on intervention development for child domestic workers. Professor Zimmerman's recent research includes an intervention impact assessments of Internaional Labour Organization's Work in Freedom programme in India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Lebanon and Jordan (SWiFT). a multi-region study on exploitation, trafficking, and Migrant Health (EXTREMHE); a study on health and trafficking, exploitation, abuse and migration in Cambodia, Viet Nam and Thailand (STEAM). Collaborating with King's College Institute of Psychiatry, she is co-leading a multi-methods study (PROTECT) for England's Department of Health to help prepare the NHS to respond to the health needs of people who are trafficked in England. Previously, she led two multi-country studies (qualitative and quantitative) on the health risks and consequences of women who have been trafficked in Europe and research on on Asylum-seeking Women, Violence and Health in Europe.

Her work has been recognised for the impact that it has on programming and policy-making:….  

She is the author of the WHO Ethical and Safety Recommendations on Interviewing Trafficked Women and co-edited: Caring for Trafficked Persons: Guidance for Health Care Providers. These documents can be found at

From 1993 to 1998, Cathy founded and managed a local non-governmental organisation in Cambodia and carried out primary research, both qualitative and quantitative studies and a legal analysis, on domestic violence. She worked with local projects in Cambodia on child abuse, and trafficking in women and children. From 2000-2002,

Research Area
Child health
Health inequalities
Occupational health
Research : policy relationship
Sexual health
Social and structural determinants of health
Adolescent health
Behaviour change
Global Health
Impact evaluation
Development studies
Policy analysis
Social Sciences
Disease and Health Conditions
Mental health
Sexually transmitted disease
Cote d'Ivoire
Czech Republic
United Kingdom
Myanmar (Burma)
East Asia & Pacific (developing only)
Europe & Central Asia (developing only)
European Union
Latin America & Caribbean (all income levels)
Middle East & North Africa (all income levels)
South Asia

Selected Publications

Evaluations of Interventions with Child Domestic Workers: A Rapid Systematic Review.
Kyegombe N; Pocock NS; Chan CW; Blagbrough J; Zimmerman C
International journal of environmental research and public health
Human trafficking and violence: Findings from the largest global dataset of trafficking survivors.
Stöckl H; Fabbri C; Cook H; Galez-Davis C; Grant N; Lo Y; Kiss L; Zimmerman C
Journal of Migration and Health
The use of Bayesian networks for realist evaluation of complex interventions: evidence for prevention of human trafficking
Kiss L; Fotheringhame D; Mak J; McAlpine A; Zimmerman C
Journal of Computational Social Science
Occupational health outcomes among international migrant workers: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Hargreaves S; Rustage K; Nellums LB; McAlpine A; Pocock N; Devakumar D; Aldridge RW; Abubakar I; Kristensen KL; Himmels JW
The Lancet. Global health
UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health.
Abubakar I; Devakumar D; Madise N; Sammonds P; Groce N; Zimmerman C; Aldridge RW; Clark J; Horton R
Health of men, women, and children in post-trafficking services in Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam: an observational cross-sectional study.
Kiss L; Pocock NS; Naisanguansri V; Suos S; Dickson B; Thuy D; Koehler J; Sirisup K; Pongrungsee N; Nguyen VA
The Lancet Global health
Human trafficking and health: a conceptual model to inform policy, intervention and research.
Zimmerman C; Hossain M; Watts C
Social science & medicine (1982)
Migration and health: a framework for 21st century policy-making.
Zimmerman C; Kiss L; Hossain M
PLoS medicine
See more Publications