An Arizona public-information campaign sponsored by Clear Channel features billboards educating on human trafficking.

An Arizona public-information campaign sponsored by Clear Channel features billboards educating on human trafficking.

If you drive through the Valley of the Sun, you may have spotted a number of billboards that highlight the tragedy of human trafficking.

Sponsored by Clear Channel Outdoor, the signs were touted earlier this month by new Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who (with Cindy McCain) unveiled an anti-human trafficking campaign. You can read more about the Clear Channel partnership here.

According to a press release:

“These efforts to raise awareness about human trafficking come just weeks before the Super Bowl comes to town. The influx of fans serves as an opportunity for traffickers, but also for law enforcement to seek the public’s help in combating this terrible crime.”

“The United States Department of Justice considers Phoenix one of the top human trafficking areas in the country. Most victims are forced into sex trafficking before they are 15 years old.”

“While the spotlight of the nation’s largest sporting event is on Arizona, Brnovich intends to make it clear that his office will be ramping up efforts to end this crime against humanity.” “‘Enslaving innocent children for sexual exploitation and profit is despicable,’ said Brnovich. ‘This type of crime against some of our most vulnerable must never be tolerated.’”

(More from the release is at the bottom of this post.)

State Bar of Arizona SBA_Logo_ColorLawyers who seek more information on the challenges faced by these crimes might want to attend a State Bar CLE on January 27. It is titled “Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery in Arizona.”

As it’s described:

“This program will focus on the growing trend of human trafficking in Arizona and throughout our country. With the Super Bowl planned for February 1, 2015 in Glendale, this topic is more relevant than ever. Attendees will have an eye-opening experience to hear from a victim of childhood trafficking.

Topics:

  • Overview of what human trafficking is.
  • Discussion about the prevalence of human trafficking nationally, in Arizona, and surrounding the Super Bowl, including statistics and several real world case examples.
  • Overview of some of the common signs and indicators surrounding human trafficking.
  • Discussion about the recent federal Arizona District Court decision enjoining Arizona’s Human Smuggling law, and the implications of that decision on other Arizona anti-human trafficking laws.
  • Overview of federal immigration programs that may permit the victims of human trafficking to remain in the country while assisting in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking offenses.
  • Overview of other Arizona criminal laws that may be implicated in a human trafficking situation.
  • Discussion about some of the other available resources on the topic of human trafficking.

The instructors are:

  • Bill Hughes, Chief Criminal Deputy for Yavapai County, Arizona, and a past President of the Yavapai County Bar Association
  • Arizona Justice Ann A. Scott Timmer
  • Carolyn Jones, a speaker on the topic of sex trafficking

You can get more information and register here.

And here is the rest of the Attorney General’s release:

“General Brnovich has hired Zora Manjencich to coordinate anti-human trafficking efforts for the Attorney General’s Office. Manjencich spent nine years at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office handling high- profile sex crimes in the East Valley. She tried and convicted a child predator who was featured on ‘America’s Most Wanted’ and earned the Crime Victims’ Rights Special Award.”

“Cindy McCain believes Brnovich’s presence at the event will highlight his commitment to thwarting human trafficking in Arizona, just three days into his term.”

“‘Mark and I have discussed this issue in depth and I know he is committed to aggressively prosecuting those who dare to traffic our children for sex,’ said McCain. ‘I am grateful for his commitment and look forward to working with him in the coming years to stop trafficking in our state.’”

Project Always logo - fights human trafficking and youth homelessnessA unique opportunity presents itself to attorneys this Friday and Saturday—the free chance to learn about human trafficking and perhaps to get some credit doing it.

The April 25-26 event will be staged by Project Always, a nonprofit law firm. Here is how they describe themselves:

“Project ALWAYS is a nonprofit law firm committed to providing free legal services and system reform advocacy to empower homeless children and youth and survivors of sex trafficking. Working through referrals from our social service partners, we help clients lift the legal barriers that stand in the way of opportunity, security, and self-sufficiency.”

At the site, you can read more about the Arizona firm, including its founding by attorney January Contreras and its leadership by former Judge Barbara Mundell. The Project also receives support from the Hickey Family Foundation and the Project’s fiscal sponsor, the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education.

Barbara Mundell, founding board chair of Project Always

Barbara Mundell, founding board chair of Project Always

The training is titled Human Trafficking 101, and it covers immigration, criminal and civil remedies available to survivors of trafficking.

As the organizers say, the training includes “an in-depth overview of the legal issues facing victims of human trafficking, including criminal victim witness advocacy issues, immigration benefits, and civil remedies. Participants don’t have any registration fees, but must agree to take on one trafficking pro bono caseRegister online here under “News and Events,” or contact January Contreras at january@projectalways.org.

When:

Friday, April 25 & Saturday, April 26th 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Where:

CopperPoint Tower

3030 N. 3rd St.

8th Floor Auditorium

Phoenix, AZ 85012

Register:

Online, by end of business Monday, April 21

On March 14, a researcher spoke at ASU Law School about his experience with human trafficking. But Charles Katz’s experience is not merely theoretical, however. His work—by him and his team—showed quite a bit of derring-do.

That night, Katz talked about the work he and others had done in the Philippines to assess the growth or decline of human trafficking in response to an interdiction effort known as Project Lantern, sponsored by the Gates Foundation. The evening’s conversation veered from eye-popping stories about the conditions in which young sex workers live, to eyelid-challenging sidebars on sample size and researcher bias.

All in all, a night at the university.

Charles M. Katz

Kidding aside, the presentation was well done, even if social scientists may have benefited more than the lawyers in the room. The lecture explained well the goals of Project Lantern—decrease child trafficking and increase local capacity to address it going forward.

Especially intriguing was the development of a “her space,” a location where the women and young girls who were found in brothels or elsewhere would be treated as victims rather than as criminals.

That discussion reminded me of a 2011 State Bar Convention seminar titled “Is Justice the Abuser?” There, some panelists talked about the challenges even American police departments have addressing sex workers as possible victims. Clearly, such a thing requires quite a mental shift. But without it, victims may be victimized twice.

Projects like this sound like they may be making an impact. Project Lantern included proposed changes at every level of the justice system, from policing, through prosecution and post-trial release, and even in statutory changes.

Unfortunately, as in most cases, the initial focus and research is just on the street-level policing. More research will have to be done to determine if all elements of the Philippine justice system have built their capacity to decrease or eradicate trafficking.

More photos are on the Arizona Attorney Magazine Facebook page.

One side note: I have come to appreciate the creative and imaginative programming to come out of the Center for Law and Global Affairs at ASU Law School. Professor Daniel Rothenberg is the Center’s Executive Director, and I tip my hat to him and his staff for their work.

I’d recommend you add the following upcoming Center event to your calendar:

  • On April 4 from 3:30-4:30, David Scheffer, Mayer Brown/Robert A. Helman Professor of Law from Northwestern University School of Law will discuss his experiences as the first U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes, his experiences negotiating the Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court and current challenges of international criminal justice.

Questions about the Center or its events? Suggestions on content for the future? Email cflaga@asu.edu    

In our house, a lecture scheduled for tonight—on human trafficking—is getting a lot of attention. In fact, 75 percent of our household plans to attend; will you be there?

Speaking at the ASU College of Law will be ASU’s Professor Charles Katz. His topic is documenting and analyzing human trafficking. The school says he will “talk about his research on human trafficking and its policy implications, including his research in Central America and the Caribbean and his experiences posing as a client to gather firsthand information on trafficking practices in the Philippines.”

The event is tonight, Wednesday March 14, with a reception at 6:00 p.m. and a presentation followed by questions from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. in the Faculty Center at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

For more information or to RSVP, email cflaga@asu.edu.

I have covered human trafficking before; in fact, ASU Law School put on a great conference on the topic last March.

But at home this spring, we’ve been privileged to watch our daughter Willa put together a paper and presentation on the topic of “Prostitution in Ancient Rome and India” (kids, these days). She’s a high school sophomore, and her work and what she found were both amazing (permit me a little gushing).

One of the facts she discussed was the relationship of prostitution to human trafficking. For example, during the heyday of the British East India Company, prostitution was actively supported, almost as a foreign policy. The large numbers of British nationals in India wanted to partake, but many preferred lighter-skinned women. Their interests were obliged by the massive transport of women to the country from as far abroad as England and Japan.

Deep-seated history such as that makes today’s problem a global and intractable challenge. I’m curious to hear about Professor Katz’s own experiences, especially undercover, to examine the problem.

Charles M. Katz

Katz is the Watts Family Director of the Center for Violence Prevention and Community Safety at ASU.

More information on the Center is here.

And here is more on Professor Katz and his work:

“Much of Charles M. Katz’s work focuses on police and prosecutorial transformation and strategic responses to crime. From 2004-10, Katz worked under contract with the Ministry of nation al Security of the republic of Trinidad and Tobago to develop a comprehensive strategic plan to address the nation’s gang problem, including the creation and training of a police gang unit, homicide unit and crime analysis unit. He also worked with the organization of American States to understand the crime problem in the Caribbean and develop a regionally-based response to gangs. From 2006-10, Katz served on the field team and methodological development team to evaluate human trafficking in Cebu, Philippines. He is currently involved in three projects in Central America and the Caribbean—examining the trafficking of persons by El Salvadorian gangs to the united States, assessing citizen insecurity throughout the Caribbean, including an assessment of police and prosecutorial capacity to respond to crime, and diagnosing the gang problem in seven Eastern Caribbean nations.”

Willa, Kathy and I hope to see you tonight.

Roxie Bacon at Human Trafficking conference, Mar. 11, 2011

It’s funny how news can start locally, wing its way around the country (or the world), and land right here back at home.

We saw this happen at least partially a few months ago, in regard to judges visiting Arizona from Turkey. They stopped by to chat, we at Arizona Attorney Magazine covered their innocuous (we thought) comments, and government opposition in Ankara got their paprika up.

For the record, we were not part of any cabal. That’s the story, and we’re sticking with it.

It got all déjà vu-ey recently, after we published a great piece on immigration by our own columnist Roxie Bacon. Let me explain.

Roxie is Roxana Bacon, accomplished immigration lawyer, former President of the State Bar of Arizona, and, most recently, an Administration official with the Customs & Immigration Service (inside the Department of Homeland Security). In fact, she had come out of retirement to take the top counsel job there. As she headed east, she had high hopes that the Executive Branch would do some serious good on the immigration front.

About a year later, she and her husband happily drove their Penske rental truck (no joke) back to Arizona, older and wiser.

When I asked her whether she was ready to get back into “column rotation” with our other writers, she agreed—and asked if I’d like something about her time in Washington.

Well, as they say, I may be dumb, but I’m not stupid. So it took me the time to draft an e-mail response to say, “Send it our way.”

Roxie did not disappoint. Professional yet passionate, she explained the sorry state of affairs. (You can read her column here.)

As they say in the trade, the story had legs. It was picked up in stories and blogs nationwide, and even was the subject of a news story in the Huffington Post on March 4. As that story indicated, there even was a response from the Department of Homeland Security, which had been none too pleased by Roxie’s candor. Risk-averse, thy name is DC.

Laura Rundlet at Human Trafficking conference, Mar. 11, 2011

This past week, more of that risk-aversion was on display. And that’s what brings the story full circle back to Arizona.

On this past Friday, ASU Law School hosted a daylong conference on human trafficking. (I previewed it for you here.) It put together terrific panels who explained the problem and explored solutions. (I’ll have more on the panels soon.) The schedule and speakers list are here.

The topic is tragic, and the expert brain power on display promised to be huge. But I was especially interested in the opening keynote address, to be delivered by our own friend and writer Roxie Bacon.

She was marvelous and her comments spot-on (again, more in a future post). She managed to be dire and uplifting in the same speech—not easy, that.

So she was great, but that was no surprise. The aha moment came at the end of the first morning panel. Moderated by law professor Daniel Rothenberg, its speakers gave an “Overview of Trafficking.” The speakers were a helpful combination of prosecutors, professors and policy experts.

The last of those to speak was a woman from the U.S. State Department. Laura Rundlet is the Coordinator of the Senior Policy Working Group on Trafficking in the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons.

From all of that, we understood her position: Trafficking = Bad.

It is worth pointing out that that position was not controversial, either in the room—packed with what appeared to be like-minded people—or in Washington. Speaker after speaker had already told us that trafficking was a non-partisan issue, one that horrified legislators on both sides of the aisle.

Which made an exchange during the Q&A portion so odd.

P.J. Crowley, formerly of the U.S. State Department

After all the speakers were done, and moments before a well-deserved coffee break, an audience member rose and tossed Ms. Rundlet the softest of softballs.

A key piece of effective federal legislation that fought trafficking—the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act—was due to be taken up for renewal by Congress, he said. What could she say to encourage attendees to contact their Congressional representatives to urge them to vote for this non-partisan law?

I was not videotaping, but I detected a deer-in-the-headlights look in her eyes.

“I’m not sure whether I can speak to that exactly,” she responded. “It is something that we will be working on diligently this year, and working with other agencies.”

The questioner look surprised.

“At this time, I don’t have any prepared remarks on the reauthorization,” she added less than helpfully.

“Just reauthorize it!” the speaker insisted, clearly thinking she had not understood his question.

In response, he got a wan smile. And then it was time for coffee.

I scratched my head at that one, but this weekend, we got another detailed lesson on the minefield that is Washington and the U.S. State Department. And that made me sympathetic to her hesitation to add a helpful comment—however true it could have been.

In the breaking story, a State Department spokesman was forced out after he made remarks that the White House apparently didn’t cotton to.

P.J. Crowley, in response to a question at a speaking engagement (on social media, of all things) criticized the U.S. Army’s treatment of a private Bradley Manning, “who is currently detained over suspicion he was complicit in leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks.”

Read the complete story here (why not – let’s make it a HuffPost day).

The story—and his sort-of firing—came about because he had called “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid” the Army’s detention tactics with the private, including having him sleep for multiple nights naked and with no blanket (the Army had claimed security concerns).

Putting to rest the notion that intelligent minds may disagree (even on what constitutes humane treatment), Crowley found his presence at Foggy Bottom was less than welcome. And so, three adjectives later, he was a part of State Department history.

Coincidence or not, l’affaire Crowley was coming to a boil just as panelists sat down for Friday’s Tempe conference. Any State Department official—and any Administration official—would have to have been aware of the object lesson unfolding back East, where talking without talking points—however safe it may appear—may not be safe at all.

And so at an ASU conference committed to eradicating human trafficking, hesitation crept in among the ardor. And that may say volumes about the atmosphere that pervades the United States Capitol—and the states that depend on its leadership.

From the ASU Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law:

Daniel Rothenberg

A lack of awareness, communication and understanding of the multiple levels of law related to human trafficking, the world’s fastest growing criminal industry, have stymied efforts to combat it by law enforcement, the judiciary, policy-makers, academics and social service and community groups.

The need for improved integration of these laws is the focus of a national conference, to be held on Friday, March 11, at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. “Combating Human Trafficking: How Coordinating International, Federal and State Law can Prevent and Punish Exploitation While Protecting Victims,” will be from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of Armstrong Hall on ASU’s Tempe campus.

For a conference schedule and list of speakers, and to register, visit here.

The interdisciplinary conference is presented by the College of Law’s Center for Law and Global Affairs and the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, and by the American Society of International Law. The event is being convened by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (ret.), and Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Ruth V. McGregor (ret.), Distinguished Jurist-in-Residence at the College of Law. It will mark the debut of the College of Law’s Project on Federalism and Separation of Powers in a Global Era.

“It is clear that the same old paradigms won’t work to combat the complex, global problem of human trafficking,” said Paul Schiff Berman, Dean of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. “This conference is therefore a pioneering effort that seeks new models for cooperation and coordination among local, national, and international actors.”

Sarah Buel

“Combating Human Trafficking” will bring together scholars and practitioners from around the world to address the need for enhanced coordination of laws in defining the crime of trafficking, prosecuting perpetrators, developing promising interventions and preventing trafficking.

“There’s a lot of interest in this, and we’re trying to coalesce that interest, and focus our efforts and energy so that Arizona becomes a case study for how to properly address human trafficking,” said Daniel Rothenberg, Executive Director of the Center for Law and Global Affairs. “We want to become the national example of how to bring together diverse interests and players, even though not everyone agrees on the elements – the research, law enforcement and the assistance to victims — of this problem, for a serious, thoughtful discussion,”

Sarah Buel, Faculty Director of the Diane Halle Center for Family Justice, said the issue of human trafficking is especially crucial in Arizona because the state is a hub for trafficking crimes. But the state also is home to concerned faculty, scholars, students and alumni at ASU, community partners, law enforcement and interested parties determined to eradicate trafficking through strategic regional, national and international planning.

“We have tenacious, passionate, multidisciplinary advocates seeking to strengthen, reinvigorate and broaden existing networks,” Buel said. “And we are confident that this conference will dramatically increase victim safety by developing more effective law, policy and practice.

“For the 13-year-old girl now forced into sex trafficking on the streets of Phoenix, this conference can engender new hope.”

In addition to Justices O’Connor and McGregor, the program features an impressive list of participants, anchored by Roxana Bacon, former Chief Counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, delivering the morning keynote, “Why Trafficking Matters,” and Alice Chamberlayne Hill, Senior Counselor to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who will give the afternoon keynote address.

The panels are:

  • Overview of Trafficking
  • Trafficking Prosecution at Different Levels of Governance and Jurisdiction
  • Trafficking Prevention and Protection at Different Levels of Governance and Jurisdiction
    Successful Programs
  • What Can be Done to Confront Trafficking in a More Coordinated Fashion?
     

Rothenberg said the conference is aimed at a broad audience, both individuals who work to prevent human trafficking, punish exploiters and protect victims, and people who are interested in human trafficking as a social issue.

“We hope this conference will help educate people about the fundamental problems of trafficking,” he said, “but also suggest there’s an array of complex, serious programs at multiple levels of jurisdictions, to compare them, and to suggest that one of the ways these programs are likely to be even more successful is through greater integration of these different levels of law.”

Read more about the conference here.

Register here.