During the 2015-2016 academic year, Villanova University School of Law launched the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, the CSE Institute. Prof. Michelle Madden Dempsey, Faculty Advisor to the CSE Institute, and Shea M. Rhodes, Director, are jointly responsible for the CSE Institute and supervising its student externs.
During its pre-launch and initial-launch phases, the CSE Institute concentrated on the following projects:
Data Collection and Reporting
- Gather information regarding the way in which cases of commercial sexual exploitation are identified and processed in the Pennsylvania criminal justice and social service systems, to identify which organizations are applying best practices in these cases.
- Draft and publish a white paper reporting on the state of CSE in Pennsylvania.
Education and Training
- Establish a curriculum and create materials for the training of local and national law enforcement agencies regarding best practices in response to commercial sexual exploitation.
- Plan and create webinars educating the public and stakeholders regarding Pennsylvania law and policy regarding commercial sexual exploitation.
- Work collaboratively with the Safe Schools Advocate of the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency to deliver educational programming to officers, educators and students within Philadelphia-area school districts.
Legal Research and Technical Assistance
- Perform legal research, draft legal memoranda, identify expert consultants, and develop strategies for litigating cases under Pennsylvania’s newly enacted civil cause of action for victims of the sex trade.
- Provide technical assistance to courts, as well as public and private attorneys representing the interests of victims of CSE in the criminal and civil justice systems.