School navigation

Law Courses Catalog

Human Trafficking

This course provides an overview of human trafficking law at the international, transnational, regional, national, and state levels. We will cover human trafficking as a domestic, transnational, and international crime as well as a grave violation of Constitutional and fundamental human rights. The legal frameworks the class will focus on in analyzing human trafficking include international treaties, customary international law, transnational and regional conventions, immigration law, and federal and state statutes governing trafficking in persons.

After tracing the historical development of slavery, peonage, involuntary servitude, and the Immigration and Mann Acts in the United States, we will focus on the contemporary Trafficking Victims Protection Act (2000) and its Re-Authorizations, the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA), and the Organized Crime Convention’s Palermo Protocol (2000). We will explore nations’ and U.S. states’ obligations to prevent and prosecute the crime of trafficking, to protect victims, and to partner with others in addressing these offenses and related issues.

In an increasingly global economy, the course will also address corporate liability and civil litigation for forced labor and modern-day slavery. We will study legal instruments to combat child sex tourism, child soldiers, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children as well as domestic and international jurisprudence in these realms. Cases within the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court include sexual slavery and sex trafficking, especially of children, and are being prosecuted as crimes against humanity and war crimes. Finally, students will learn the scope and nature of remedies available for victims of trafficking, including but not limited to criminal restitution, civil forfeiture and damages, immigration law/visa protections, and recourse or reparations through international bodies and tribunals.

Method of evaluation: Student evaluation will be based on a 15- to 20-page research paper (unless I give my approval to write your Capstone paper* for this course). This research paper will account for 75% of your final grade and is to be submitted by the last day of the exam period on a topic in human trafficking law of each student’s choice, subject to instructor approval. The final paper should be double-spaced, in Times New Roman 12-point font, with standard margins. Footnotes, not endnotes, should be single-spaced in 10-point font, and follow Bluebook citation form. Students are expected to refer to and properly cite original materials (treaties, caselaw, statutes, etc.) in their papers, not just secondary sources. The paper is due the last day of finals week. Class participation will account for 25% of your final grade. Class participation includes engaging actively in discussions, being prepared for in-class review of problems or exercises assigned from the text, and volunteering ideas that further analysis or understanding of the topics.

*Only a few students will be permitted to do Capstone papers for this course. There are separate deadlines for those writing a Capstone paper, as noted in the Syllabus.