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 JustFamilies.org.

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. As the Founder and Director of the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center, Vandenberg spoke about the re-victimization society and addressing challenges trafficking survivors face in the legal system.

After lunch, the symposium organizers placed easel sheets around the room and asked the audience to reflect on the discussions and to explore different topics and innovations. Audience members and speakers took the opportunity to write out a host of different topics. Around the room audience members began writing ideas, principles and problems on each topic.

The day concluded with Panel III- Roundtable: Forging New Paths for Our Future with Melynda Barnhart, Denise Brennan, Kathleen Kim, Kate Mogulescu, Ivy O. Suriyopas, and Juhu Thukral discussing how to move forward and to achieve beneficial innovations.