Since our official launch in September 2015, the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation has accomplished a tremendous amount in reaching our initial goals established in Phase I of our strategic plan.
- We have trained over 700 members of the law enforcement, prosecutors, defense counsel, judiciary, and victim services community throughout Pennsylvania, facilitating a uniform approach on the implementation of Act 105 (2014) Pennsylvania’s comprehensive anti-trafficking legislation.
- We have provided technical assistance to both law enforcement and non-governmental organizations and have engaged in extensive policy education and advocacy for pending state legislation SB851, “Safe Harbor.”
- Additionally, the CSE Institute continues to collaborate with other anti-trafficking organizations to develop informational presentations that reach regional and national audiences and remains an avid contributor to several statewide anti-trafficking work groups.
We have established a new Justice for Victims Clinical Fellowship, scheduled to begin with the 2016/2017 academic year as we move into Phase II of our strategic plan which includes providing direct legal services to victims and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation.
The Justice for Victims Fellow will serve victims of commercial sexual exploitation and the Commonwealth through two main objectives. First, the Fellow will provide direct services to victims in a clinical setting alongside pro bono attorneys. Likewise, the Fellow will serve as a staff attorney at the Defender Association of Philadelphia to provide legal representation to participants in the Project Dawn Court. Second, the Fellow will research and produce concrete data on the breadth of commercial sexual exploitation in Pennsylvania and determine solutions to the complex legal needs of victims and survivors. In addition, the Justice for Victims Fellow will train and educate the legislature, service providers, and other stakeholders as the legal and social responses to sex trafficking continue to shift.
The goal of staffing the new Justice for Victims Clinical Fellowship for a 2-year period can be realized upon the Institute’s ability to raise sufficient funds. The Philadelphia Defenders’ Association has already committed to providing $50,000 over the 2-year period towards the Fellow’s salary.
We are excited to announce a leadership gift received from local lawyers to support the new Justice for Victims Fellowship. Julie A. Uebler and Steven R. Wall have made a gift of $50,000 to initiate the fundraising for this important project and motivate other philanthropists to join in their effort. Together, Julie and Steve were inspired to donate to the Justice for Victims Fellowship because of their confidence in the Institute’s ability to meet its mission to improve the legal system’s response to commercial sexual exploitation.
With this pioneering gift, we are well on our way to raising the $200,000 needed to fund the Fellowship. We are immensely grateful for Julie and Steve’s generosity and leadership, and invite others to join them in sponsoring the Institute’s initial Justice for Victims Fellow.
To make a donation in support of the Fellowship, click here.
To sign up for updates relating to the Institute’s work, click here.