Human Trafficking Program

tag cloud with text abuse, children, poverty, victim fear, despair, exploitation, human, international, abused, forced marriage, rights, women, trafficing, servitude, crime, fear, business, women, emotional, forced labor

Our Mission

We serve the unseen and underserved populations most vulnerable to Human Trafficking

  • The only law school based program in our area providing direct services to adult and juvenile victims of human trafficking and other sex crimes.
  • Represent survivors of human trafficking in the Cleveland Municipal Court Fly Court and the Cuyahoga County Recovery docket.
  • Serve as the primary Guardian Ad Litem for the Cuyahoga County Juvenile Safe Harbor Docket.
  • Provide education and training to lawyers, legislators, service and healthcare providers, law enforcement and the general public regarding human-trafficking issues.
  • Engage in outreach to community centers/social service agencies and public training to identify victims otherwise overlooked in jails, rehabilitation facilities and LGBT specific organizations. We represent not only victims but also those at high risk for victimization.

Human Trafficking Symposium

August 29, 2019, Cleveland Botanical Gardens

The Human Trafficking Program hosts yearly symposia at Case Western Reserve University. This year’s symposium is co-hosted with the Collaborative to End Human Trafficking and will focus on interdisciplinary strategies for fighting sex and labor trafficking. Key note speakers from law, social work, nursing, medicine, the hospitality industry and banking will lead small group sessions focused on sharing current work and developing specific interdisciplinary plans for Northeast Ohio.

Health and Human Trafficking 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.

The Health and Human Trafficking Clinic focuses on both preventive and curative aspects of the law. Third-year law students enroll in the clinic for a full year. We help those most vulnerable members of the community. Targeted populations for the clinic include members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (+) (LGBT) community, human trafficking victims, refugees and individuals with mental health and or substance abuse problems. Utilizing a trauma-informed approach while addressing the legal needs of their clients, students focus on interdisciplinary collaborations with both the social work and medical professionals. Student interns represent clients in criminal charges on the special juvenile and adult human trafficking dockets, in recovery court, eviction, or asylum cases, name changes, benefits applications or guardianship cases.

In addition to individual representation, students are engaged in outreach to community centers/social service agencies and public training to identify victims otherwise overlooked in jails, rehabilitation facilities and LGBT specific organizations. We represent not only victims but also those at high risk for victimization.

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.

Human Trafficking Lab

Second and third-year students in the Human Trafficking Lab address local, national and international issues in labor and sex trafficking. Among the questions explored are: (i) is it useful to think of trafficking as modern slavery; (ii) why are we failing to prosecute perpetrators; (iii) should sex work be legalized; (iv) have the successes in closing down Backpage and other cyber sites of trafficking made victims safer or harder to find? Students will also have the opportunity to observe the adult and juvenile human trafficking court dockets and meet with practitioners specializing in this area, including banking personnel who are striving to use money laundering and fraud techniques to identify traffickers. Each student will focus on a specific issue to further research.

Students’ research projects may arise from issues raised by our clinic, by victims, current legislation, advocacy groups, government agencies and others. Specific topics have included: (i) barriers in identifying 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) ways to evaluate, increase and improve specialized dockets for trafficking survivors and others; (vi) international barriers to prosecuting perpetrators of labor and sex trafficking. Students can expect direct or indirect exposure to aspects of criminal, juvenile, human trafficking, municipal, housing, civil and family law.