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"Understanding Human Trafficking" Series

are honored to present

"Understanding Human Trafficking:

Common-Sense Legal Reforms"

Series Overview

Please join the Connecticut Bar Foundation, Connecticut Bar Association’s Committee on Human Trafficking, and Quinnipiac’s Human Trafficking Prevention Project for our series, “Understanding Human Trafficking.”  The series explores the interactions between trafficking victims and the legal system—starting with the criminal justice system—and delves into ongoing debates at the state and federal level about what reforms are needed to assist victims in escaping trafficking, in rebuilding their lives after they have escaped, and in preventing trafficking in the first instance.

Using force, fraud, and coercion, traffickers compel their victims to commit a range of illegal acts and then threaten to expose them to criminal prosecution. Victims are regularly arrested and prosecuted for a range of crimes resulting from their trafficking. Even years after they escape their traffickers, their criminal histories continue to haunt them, limiting access to employment, housing, education, and other areas of civic life. 




Human Trafficking Prevention Project: Introduction to Human Trafficking Training

January 28, 2022, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM (Eastern Daylight Time)

The Human Trafficking Prevention Project (HTPP) is a student-run organization at Quinnipiac University School of Law. The organization began in 2017 when a small group of students created an Introduction to Human Trafficking Training and presented it to hotels across the state of Connecticut. HTPP has since expanded its reach and now trains a variety of audiences including healthcare workers, lawyers, social workers, educators, and the general public. In addition to its training efforts, HTPP also collaborates with the Connecticut Bar Association, the Connecticut Bar Foundation, and leading anti-trafficking organizations to sponsor panels on topics relating to human trafficking and to advocate for survivor-friendly legislation.

HTPP's Introduction to Human Trafficking training seeks to educate audiences about various aspects of human trafficking, including how it is defined under state and federal law, who can be targeted, and how to identify human trafficking and report human trafficking. It is intended for all audiences.


For more information about Human Trafficking Awareness Week 2022, please click here.

Labor Trafficking at Home: Involuntary Domestic Servitude in the U.S.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022, 6:00pm ­– 8:00pm (Eastern Daylight Time)

The Quinnipiac University School of Law Human Trafficking Prevention Project—along with the Connecticut Bar Foundation and the Connecticut Bar Association—presented the second panel of Awareness Week 2022: “Labor Trafficking at Home: Involuntary Domestic Servitude in the U.S.”

When Americans think about human trafficking, we tend to focus on sex trafficking. And yet, experts estimate that labor trafficked persons (persons subject to forced labor) account for roughly two-thirds of all trafficked persons worldwide. Trafficking experts point to involuntary domestic servitude—which can affect live-in nannies, home health aides or personal care aides, maids, etc.—as the predominant form of labor trafficking in the U.S. and in Connecticut in particular.

Because it involves work in a private residence, involuntary domestic servitude can be especially difficulty to detect and thus presents unique vulnerabilities for victims. Domestic workers, especially women, face various forms of abuse, harassment, and exploitation, including sexual and gender-based violence. Victims are often underpaid—if they are paid at all—and many start their first day of work already facing enormous debt (known as debt bondage); others encounter employers who insist on confiscating their passports; and all find themselves isolated and often alone in the residences where they work, without freedom of movement or ability to leave their employment. Our patchwork of federal and state laws fails to protect most domestic workers, who do not receive basic protections extended to other workers—including a single day off per week.

To explore various dimensions of this pressing issue, our panel included four inspiring women with lived experience and/or legal expertise in connection with involuntary domestic servitude.




Resource Materials

Finding Common Ground: Debates Around Sex Trade Reform, Decriminalizing Prostitution, and the Fight Against Trafficking


The Quinnipiac University School of Law Human Trafficking Prevention Project—along with the Connecticut Bar Association and Connecticut Bar Foundation—presented this first panel of Human Trafficking Awareness Week 2022: “Finding Common Ground: Debates Around Sex Trade Reform, Decriminalizing Prostitution, and the Fight Against Trafficking.”

Anti-human trafficking experts remain deeply divided on questions of legalizing or decriminalizing prostitution, sex trade reform, and how to draw the line between voluntary sex work, exploitation, and trafficking.  There is general agreement among advocates that the criminalization of the sex trade—the current model in the United States—is not working.  However, experts disagree over how best to reduce violence and other harms associated with the sex trade, while protecting trafficked persons and others trapped in the industry.  Extrapolating from models in other countries—such as New Zealand, the Netherlands, and various Nordic countries—advocates can be theoretically divided into the following camps: legalization, full decriminalization, partial decriminalization, and outright criminalization.  

To explore these debates, we invited three experts on anti-trafficking and sex trade reforms—first, to explain and dissect the four models; second, to explore their contrasting views based on their expertise as advocates working with trafficked individuals or individuals in the sex trade, as well as their own lived experiences; and, finally, to identify areas of common ground and opportunities for meaningful reform, both in our state and nationally.




Resource Materials

Hidden in Plain Sight: The Faces of Labor Trafficking in Connecticut


The Connecticut Bar Foundation, Connecticut Bar Association’s Committee on Human Trafficking, and Quinnipiac’s Human Trafficking Prevention Project presented the fourth panel in our series, “Understanding Human Trafficking.”

When Americans think about human trafficking, they often focus on sex trafficking.  And yet, experts estimate that victims of labor trafficking—i.e. forced labor—account for roughly two-thirds of all trafficking victims worldwide.  Most Americans assume that labor trafficking happens mostly abroad, in Asia, Africa, or Latin America.  For this and other related reasons, labor trafficking is woefully under-reported and under-prosecuted in the U.S., and around the world.

To explore what forms labor trafficking takes in Connecticut and the region, we invited three legal advocates, each with a unique perspective on labor trafficking and the people trapped by it.  Drawing on their work with victims, and their expertise bringing legal cases on behalf of these individuals, our panelists shed light on what labor trafficking looks like in Connecticut and surrounding states—from the migrant farmworkers who pick our crops, to the domestic workers who maintain our households, from the unaccompanied children crossing the border, to the immigrant spouses trapped in abusive marriages, and the workers who have helped build our nation.  Panelists also discussed how our labor and immigration laws impact labor trafficking, and the fine line between labor exploitation and labor trafficking.

Our panel featured experts who work with survivors of various forms of labor trafficking, including:




The Movement to End Child Marriage: Where Does Connecticut Stand?

April 23, 2021, 12:00 PM TO 2:00 PM (EASTERN DAYLIGHT TIME)

Anti-trafficking advocates include “forced marriage” as a form of human trafficking. The International Labour Organization estimates that over 15 million people worldwide find themselves in forced marriages. Child marriage—which overwhelmingly involves girls—is a subset of forced marriage associated with the greatest risk for abuse.

But to what extent is child marriage a problem in the U.S. and, more specifically, in Connecticut? Between 2000 and 2015, over 200,000 minors were married in the U.S.  Starting in 2018, four states have enacted total bans on child marriage, notwithstanding opposition from those who have argued that such bans represent an unwarranted intrusion on the fundamental right to marry. In 2017, Connecticut enacted a partial ban, allowing minors between the ages of 16 and 18 to marry with judicial approval based on a petition by a parent or guardian. Proposals to enact a complete ban on child marriage in Connecticut have thus far failed.

Our panel—The Movement to End Child Marriage: Where Does Connecticut Stand?—features a range of experts:



Resource Materials

Stories from the Underground: How Trafficking Survivors Experience the Criminal Justice System


The second panel in the series highlighted the stories of two trafficking survivors as they struggled to navigate the criminal justice system in their respective states.  The panel explored the obstacles that trafficking victims face as they interact with the criminal justice system, moving from arrest to prosecution and conviction, and then to criminal record relief, including applications for pardons and vacatur.





Fighting Human Trafficking by Decriminalizing Victims: Expanding Connecticut's Vacatur Laws


The inaugural panel began the series with a look at how expanding vacatur laws -- allowing victims of human trafficking in Connecticut to apply to "vacate," or set-aside, their criminal convictions -- can help to decriminalize trafficking survivors and enable them to re-join their communities as full members.

This panel featured a range of experts: 



Resource Materials