Innovations In The Fight Against Human Trafficking: Perspective and Proposals – Panel 3

Roundtable: Forging New Paths for Our Future

By: Molly Rogowski



Denise Brennan, Professor of Anthropology, Georgetown University

Kathleen Kim, Professor of Law, Loyola Law School, Los Angeles

Kate Mogulescu, Supervising Attorney, Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project, Legal Aid Society

Ivy O. Suriyopas, Director of Anti-Trafficking Initiative, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Juhu Thukral, Director of Law and Advocacy, The Opportunity Agenda



Melynda Barnhart, Professor of Law, New York Law School


This panel discussed the next steps that need to be taken in order to continue the fight against human trafficking. The panelists started their discussion by giving a recap of the day’s events and reviewing some of the topics that came up over and over again throughout the symposium. The first panelist, Denise Brennan, challenged the group by asking everyone to think about the small shifts that can be taken both in practice and perception of what human trafficking is that can bring about change. According to Ms. Brennan, in order to really make a difference, discussions and actions combating human trafficking need to take into account victims who are sometimes left out of the anti-trafficking movement, for example, migrant workers. She spoke about how the movement to gain protections and rights for migrant workers needs to put those who are struggling every day at the very core of that movement. Ms. Brennan stressed the importance of day-to-day organizing and prevention and how we need to push for anti-retaliation protections so that workers can organize and advocate for their rights.… <Read More>

Innovations In The Fight Against Human Trafficking: Perspective and Proposals – Keynote

Lunch Keynote – Putting Survivors First: Innovative Legal Strategies in Human Trafficking Cases

By: Fema Birch

Speaker, Martina Vandenberg, Founder & Director of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center, 2012 Fellow of Open Society Institute


Trafficking in persons occurs in many forms. The two predominant forms of trafficking are for the purposes of labor and sex. As a prosecutor, the goal is to stop instances of trafficking by convicting those responsible for the crime. Because sometimes the prosecutor’s primary goal is obtaining the conviction and the prosecutor does not represent the victims, the victims can be without a voice. These victims are often displaced and are financially unable to go home. In many cases, the victims face potential immigration consequences. In these matters, victims are unable to afford representation and one is not appointed for them.

Martina Vandenberg stated that trafficking cases should not just be centered on the convictions for the criminal but the victim of the crime. In many instances when a victim is not represented by an attorney the restitution judgment is low and may not be enough to help the victim. Only 60% of trafficking victims receive restitution. Generally restitution is considered when the prosecutor asks for it, and in many cases the prosecutor may not ask for restitution especially in cases when the victims are not represented. On average, the restitution for sex trafficking cases is $213,000 and $46,000 for labor trafficking cases, which must be divided amongst the victims. In U.S.<Read More>

News Round-up February 20th, 2015

Domestic Violence Fatality Rate Drops in New York City:

  • On February 2, The Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence released a report showing that domestic-violence homicides, also known as family-related homicides have declined 36% in the past decade. The report is the result of efforts by the Fatality Review Committee (FRC), established in 2005. The FRC is chaired by Rosemonde Pierre-Louis, the Commissioner of the NYC Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, and the staff is comprised on members of ten city agencies, two representatives from social services agencies and two survivors of domestic violence. The FRC provides the opportunity for various city agencies to work together to combat domestic violence by reviewing statistics and making recommendations on where to improve.
  • In 2013, there were 62 domestic violence homicides, which accounted for almost twenty percent of homicides reported in New York City. The report shows that Brooklyn and the Bronx have the highest rates at 36% and 25% respectively, and that homicides tend to occur more frequently in areas with high poverty or other “low socioeconomic indicators.”
  • The decline in domestic-violence homicides can be attributed in part to the NYPD’s response to 284,660 domestic violence incidents, and also the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence’s initiatives: New York City Housing Authority Domestic Violence Response Team (NYCHA DVRT) and the Coordinated Approach to Preventing Stalking (CAPS). NYCHA DVRT provides rapid responses to high risk domestic violence situations and promotes awareness by outreach programs with partners such as the New York City Family Justice Centers.
<Read More>

Innovations In The Fight Against Human Trafficking Symposium/ Panel II/Labor: The Continuum of Exploitation


By: Cristina Carreno



Jaribu Hill, Executive Director of the Mississippi Workers Center for Human Rights

Janie Chaung, Professor of Law at Washington College of Law at American University

Linda Oalican, Executive Director of Damayan Migrant Rights Association and Board Member of the National Domestic Workers Alliance

Shannon Lederer, Director of Immigration Policy at American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations


Tiffany Williams, Coordinator of the Beyond Survival Campaign, National Domestic Workers Alliance


The following quote from an article on set the tone for this panel discussion:

“Combating human trafficking is a cause that is in need of substantial redefinition. This requires the dissolution of many different models and the promotion of a larger political vision. We have no doubt that human trafficking, forced labor and slavery are all very serious and urgent problems. But they are problems that need to be understood as extreme manifestations of global patterns of injustice, exploitation, discrimination, and inequality, rather than as isolated and deviant exceptions.”

The panelists, four women working in the area of labor and human rights as it relates to trafficking, each brought their unique experiences, interests and expertise to the discussion.

Jaribu Hill discussed what she is seeing and doing in the South around trafficking. She spoke about misconduct of corporations in relation to trafficking, and the need to do more than just shaming the responsible corporations. She discussed the need to regulate and legislate against unsavory corporate behavior.… <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>