Innovations In The Fight Against Human Trafficking: Considering Sex and Labor Trafficking Together– Open Source Innovation Development Session

By: Hayley Pine

During the Open Source Innovation Development portion of the Innovations in the Fight Against Human Trafficking symposium, a number of attendees spoke about ending the bifurcation between sex and labor trafficking. This idea is based on the concept that sex and labor trafficking are intertwined. Sex work should be viewed as labor. Part of the horror of sex labor trafficking is that it involves sexual exploitation as a means of maintaining control. Also, many trafficking experiences involve multiple forms of labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Therefore, the distinction between the two should be eliminated.

Society responds to labor trafficking and sex trafficking differently, so it may seem logical to separate them. However, one of the major differences between the two, which helps create this dichotomy, is the criminalization of sex work. Criminalizing sex work also creates other issues. Many of the problems associated with sex trafficking remain in the shadows because individuals involved in it are afraid to come forward for fear of criminalization.

In contrast to sex trafficking victims, labor trafficking victims have some level of recourse, because if they come forward with the work that they have been doing they will not be penalized. Women engaged in sex work also have little resources available to them because of the criminalization of sex work. There are resources that are available to victims of trafficking, but who falls into that category is often narrowly defined. Many women, unfortunately, are not included in that category, because they either: engaged in sex work voluntarily after being trafficked, or they entered into sex work voluntarily and were then trafficked.… <Read More>

Innovations In The Fight Against Human Trafficking Symposium: Introduction and Panel 1

By: Nicole Chamra


Introduction to the Topic – Innovation at the Front Lines

Florrie Burke, Founding Member and Co-Chair of the Freedom Network

Judge Pamela Chen, United States District Court Judge for the Eastern District of New York

Panel I – Innovations Now! Developments in the Field of Practice

Patricia Medige, Senior Attorney, Colorado Legal Services, co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network

Alexandra Patino, Director of the New York City Family Justice Center in Queens

Anita Ramasastry, Professor of Law, University of Washington School of Law

Dan Werner, Supervising Attorney, Southern Poverty Law Center

Moderator: Florrie Burke, Founding Member and Co-Chair of the Freedom Network


As an introduction to this day-long symposium, Florrie Burke and the Honorable Pamela Chen discussed the history of human trafficking cases. Judge Chen briefly touched upon a 1997 labor trafficking case in New York, and a 2003 sex trafficking case, which occurred in Mexico. These cases demonstrated that the United States was ill equipped to deal with trafficking cases. However, with today’s advances in technology, databases are used to file cases based on the type of trafficking activity. Judge Chen explained the difficulties associated with identifying victims and cooperating with other countries.

The focus is now on the survivors of trafficking and how they must not be ignored as human beings. The trafficking victim is not the “other.” Judge Chen closed her discussion by urging personnel to stop asking victims to tell their stories; instead, she said the focus should be on life after trafficking.… <Read More>

Overview: Innovations in the Fight Against Human Trafficking: Perspectives and Proposals

By Danielle Menendez

On October 10, 2014, New York Law School hosted a symposium to begin a discussion on “Innovations in Fighting Against Human Trafficking.” The full day event was co-hosted by the New York Law School Law Review and the New York Law School Impact Center for Public Interest Law. Please click here for the event program. A summary of the program appears below. For more information about each topic, please click on the links to other articles on

With a room full of students, professors, attorneys, and other interested parties, Florrie Burke, a consultant on addressing human trafficking and modern day slavery, and The Honorable Pamela Chen, a federal judge with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York, spoke about the history of human trafficking and how the practice has evolved over the years.

Panel I- Innovations Now! Developments in the Field of Practice included panelists Patricia Medige, Alexandra Patino, Anita Ramasastry, and Dan Werner, experts working in various human rights and trafficking areas. The panelists each gave a glimpse into how their individual professional practices advocate for trafficking survivors and migrant and labor workers.

Panel II- Labor: The Continuum of Exploitation was an animated and passionate discussion involving Tiffany Williams, Janie Chuang, Jaribu Hill, Shannon Lederer and Linda Oalican, each with different experiences working with migrant workers. Panel II answered a host of questions from the audience that dealt with different trafficking survivors and how to effectuate positive aid in recovery.

During lunch there was a keynote address – Putting Survivors First: Innovative Legal Strategies in Human Trafficking Cases by Martina Vandenberg.… <Read More>

Designing Process and Outcome Evaluations for Non-Profit Programs

By: Monika Lalezarzadeh


This year, New York Law School hosted the event “From Poverty to Opportunity”, a symposium marking the 50th anniversary of the Economic Opportunity Act. In collaboration with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), this symposium was part of an ongoing series of statewide public events, training programs and education seminars presented by the New York State Community Action Association (NYSCAA) to discuss anti-poverty strategies and best practices from the field.

One of the many workshops and panels that were conducted during the day- long symposium was, “Designing Process and Outcome Evaluations for Programs”. This session introduced participants to a framework for thinking about and developing outcome evaluation in ways that demonstrate impact, and contribute to continuous organizational improvement within and amongst non-profit organizations.

Speaker Randall Quan, Senior Partner at Community Resource Exchange (CRE), discussed overarching issues that plague some non-profit organizations: What does a successful outcome for a non-profit organization look like, and how do the non-profit organizations achieve such successful outcomes? Randall Quan began answering this broad question by discussing dysfunctional practices of some non-profit organizations. First, because of the charitable nature of their work, some non-profit organizations have trouble saying “no” to certain missions that are asked of them. It is also difficult for some organizations to stay focused on their target population and mission. It is important for each organization to know its target “niche” and attain successful outcomes with its target mission, rather than divert its resources towards causes and populations that do not fulfill its mission.… <Read More>

Weekly Round-up December 2nd, 2014

311 App Update Allows Tenants to Submit Heat and Hot Water Complaints via Mobile Devices:

  • On November 26, 2014, the 311 Executive Director, Joseph Morrisroe,  the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) Commissioner, Anne M. Roest, and the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) Commissioner, Vicki Been, announced an update to the 311 Mobile Application. The new update allows tenants to make heat and hot water complaints from the application on their phone. The 311 Mobile Application is available to Android and iPhone users.
  • The application is user friendly, and making a complaint is as simple as opening the application, clicking on “complaints,” and then on, “Heat or Hot Water.” The tenant will then enter: his or her address and personal contact information, as well as information about the owner of the property (if available), the kind of condition, and whether one unit or the entire building is experiencing the problem. Once the tenant submits the complaint, it is forwarded to HPD in the same manner as a complaint made in the call center or online. Users can track the progress of their complaint by checking the complaint screen in the 311 mobile app.
  • Before filing a complaint, a tenant should make the building owner, managing agent, or superintendent aware of the problem. If the heat or hot water is not restored, then the tenant should make a complaint with HPD via the 311 app, call center, or online website.
  • Once a complaint is filed with HPD, attempts will be made to contact the manager or building owner to get the heat or hot water running.
<Read More>