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Students learn about combatting human trafficking


Children enslaved by the chocolate industry in Africa. Female immigrants forced into prostitution in the U.S. It may come as a surprise that human trafficking is as prevalent as it is in the U.S. According to this report by the Department of State, the majority of the victims are women and children. In fact, hundreds of thousands of victims are children, and Florida ranks as one of the most notorious states for human trafficking in the country. The crimes of human trafficking cross boundaries and impact people across the globe and here at home.

These troubling everyday scenarios became part of the lesson of international law professor Luz Nagle’s recent seminar class at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Fla., that brought students together from Australia, Colombia and the U.S. to collaborate on research into the far-reaching impact of human trafficking among women.

“Human trafficking was a new subject for all of them,” said Professor Nagle, who confronted drug lords firsthand as a judge in Medellín, Colombia, before her academic career. “One of the students in the group shared with me that the class transformed him as a person.”

The law students learned about the multi-billion dollar industry of human trafficking and legal instruments used to protect human trafficking victims.

“It is a business generating billions of dollars annually for sophisticated organized crime groups, corrupt individuals, disorganized, small-time, or one-off operators, and all those who transfer, harbor, receive, or exploit trafficked people,” Professor Nagle explained.

The students studied how international, regional and national laws are designed to protect people from organized crime. They examined United Nations conventions created to protect women and children from child labor, human trafficking and prostitution, and discrimination. They also studied the U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 and its subsequent reauthorization acts, and developments in Florida law to combat human trafficking.

“The highlight of the course was that the students learned from all the actors involved in a human trafficking crime, from investigating, to prosecuting, to assisting victims, to defending the accused,” said Professor Nagle.

Professor Nagle has mentored students who have been selected for human rights appointments around the world. In 2012, Juan M. Zarama’12, who graduated with distinction from Stetson’s International Law LL.M. program, was selected to work with the prestigious International Bar Association Legal Internship Programme in Human Rights .

Learn more about the field of international human rights from Professor Luz Nagle and students here.

Learn about international advocacy at Stetson by watching a video with professors and students here.

For more information about international law at Stetson, visit the Center for Excellence in International Law. Watch a brief video interview with students to learn more about the LL.M. in International Law at Stetson Law.