The course will provide an overview of the broad range of legal issues related to the growing international and domestic problem of human trafficking. Conservative estimates are that around a million people are trafficked in the world each year. Annually, at least twenty thousand people are trafficked in the United States for forced labor, including domestic services, agricultural and construction work, and sweatshops, leave alone trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation. This course will examine a broad range of issues including human trafficking and international law, domestic and international anti-trafficking agencies and organizations, criminal and civil litigation in trafficking cases, and immigration law related issues.
The course will start out with a theoretical examination of the definitional challenges involved in thinking about labor, coercion, and consent. The course will then examine slavery, peonage, and involuntary servitude in the law of nations and the U.S. We will also focus on the international legal framework, especially the Polermo Protocols, international agencies, and NGOs, as part of the effort to deal with this increasingly acute global crisis. In this context, we will also discuss displaced persons and international refugees as a major contributing factor to the problem of human trafficking. As part of our international treatment, we will analyze the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings, U.S. federal contractors and corporate accountability, and international crimes.
Grading will be based on class attendance and participation, which is mandatory, and a final exam or final paper. More than three unexcused absences will lead to denial of credit for the seminar. Students have two options for the final: 1) they can write a research paper due at the end of the exam period, which may fulfill the SAW requirement, or 2) they can elect to respond to a final analytical question posed by the instructor. The response to this question will be anywhere from 10-20 pages and might require a small amount of additional research outside of course readings.