Human Trafficking Project

ABOUT THE PROJECT:

Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal enterprise in the world with an estimated value of more than $150 billion. Here in the United States, Ohio has the fourth largest number of reported human-trafficking cases.
To combat this epidemic, the Ohio Attorney General supported the creation of the Human Trafficking Law Project at Case Western Reserve University School of Law through a series of grants that support our unique, three-part mission.
Human trafficking is the second-largest criminal enterprise in the world with an estimated value of more than $150 billion. Here in the United States, Ohio has the fourth largest number of reported human-trafficking cases. To combat this epidemic, the Ohio Attorney General supported the creation of the Human Trafficking Law Project at Case Western Reserve University School of Law through a series of grants that support our unique, three-part mission.

Our Mission

  • Represent survivors of human trafficking and empower them to lead lives of meaning and fulfillment.
  • Advocate for state and federal legislative reforms that better assist human-trafficking survivors, penalize traffickers, and reduce the demand for sexual exploitation.
  • Provide education and awareness to lawyers, legislators, service and healthcare providers, law enforcement, and the general public regarding human-trafficking issues.

Our Clinic

The Human Trafficking Law Clinic works with community non-profits and local governments to provide free legal services to human trafficking survivors, regardless of age.

Many children exploited in human trafficking become victims twice – first when they are subjected to sexual exploitation, violence and rape, and again when they are treated as throwaways or criminals by society and the justice system. Our clinic, in partnership with the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court and the Safe Harbor Advisory Board, focuses on giving these children a fresh start, finding suitable, loving placements for them and charting them healthy, achievable life goals.

We also work to empower adult victims of human trafficking through our partnerships the Cuyahoga County Human Trafficking Court and the Advisory Committee for the Human Trafficking Docket. Once adults who are subjected to commercial sexual exploitation or labor trafficking are identified as trafficking victims, we provide these individuals with free legal representation and advocacy with their criminal, employment, housing, custody and other issues.

Under the supervision of clinic faculty, our law students not only provide legal advocacy, but work with human-trafficking victims to help them achieve their goals of leading meaningful, fulfilling lives while serving as advocates for them inside and outside of the courtroom.

Our Lab

Our students play a vital role in the clinic’s mission, giving them extensive experience in and exposure to a complex legal environment of national and local issues.

Students work with advocacy groups, state and federal legislators to identify gaps in the current laws, analyze their effects on basic human rights and craft collaborative solutions.

Students will work on semester- long research projects arising from issues raised by victims, current legislation, advocacy groups, government agencies, and others. Specific topics will generally fall within the following categories: (i) barriers in identifying sex-trafficking victims; (ii) avoiding criminalization of human-trafficking victims; (iii) solutions for expunging human-trafficking victims’ prior crimes; (iv) legislation necessary to provide human-trafficking survivors adequate services; (v) legal issues involved in internet sex-trafficking advertising; (vi) ways to increase and improve specialized dockets for trafficking survivors; and others. Students can expect direct or indirect exposure to aspects of criminal, juvenile, human trafficking, municipal, housing, civil, and family law.
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