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Spotlight on CSE Institute Research Assistants, Jessica DiBacco and Jamie Pizzi

Posted: February 28, 2018

Jessica DiBacco and Jamie Pizzi began their relationship with The CSE Institute during their first year at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. Their essays were chosen to be featured as a part of the CSE Institute’s inaugural first year “Student Blog Series”. Jessica’s essay, “‘Sex Worker’: Empowering or Exploitative?”, focused on the harms associated with the use of the term “sex worker” to describe those involved in commercial sexual exploitation. Jamie’s essay,  “Not ‘invisible,’ but ‘hidden in plain sight'”, described some of the common misconceptions that can cloud the public’s ability to identify victims of human trafficking.

In the Fall of 2016, Jessica became an extern for The CSE Institute where she used her flawless research skills to help draft the Amicus Curiae Brief to the Supreme Court of The United States for the now infamous, Jane Doe v. case. Her diligence did not go unnoticed and Jessica was asked to remain with The CSE Institute as a research assistant for the semesters ahead. During the Spring 2017 semester, Jessica coordinated and compiled the research necessary to publish our policy paper titled,  “Recommendations for Anti-Demand Legislation for Commercial Sexual Exploitation”.

Most recently, Jessica continued to further the mission of The CSE Institute by drafting a policy paper on the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (“SESTA”). She has also spoken about SESTA on the Cross Examined Life Podcast, which aired February 28, 2018. Following her upcoming graduation from law school, Jessica plans to focus on prosecuting crimes against children. “Jessica’s impeccable research, writing, and organizational skills have made her an essential part of the CSE Institute team.  She coordinates all of our long-term complex projects by leading the team through deadlines and ensuring that all of our work is done in a timely fashion,” said Shea M. Rhodes, Esq., Director and Co-Founder of The CSE Institute.

Jamie became an extern for The CSE Institute in Spring of 2017. Her background in graphic design and journalism became essential to inner workings of The CSE Institute. Ms. Pizzi drafted an assortment of news articles for The CSE Institute website and designed the 2017 Report on Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Pennsylvania. Following this hard work, Jamie was also asked to remain with The CSE Institute as a research assistant. In this position, she made sure the CSE Institute’s website news articles remained current throughout the Summer of 2017 and assisted the CSE Institute’s Director with various projects.

During the Fall of 2018, Jamie shifted gears and began editing news articles for the website in addition to drafting content. In December of 2017, Jamie co-authored a piece titled, “Hyperbole over humanity – what SESTA’s opponents have gotten wrong”, that was published by national news source, The Hill. “Jamie’s work with the CSE Institute is essential for our day to day operations.  She manages all of the CSE Institute externs in drafting news updates for the website and handles all media focused advocacy. Without her leadership, we would not be able to keep the trains on schedule,” added Shea M. Rhodes, Esq.  Jamie hopes to obtain a career that will allow her to help victims of sex trafficking and continue working towards the eradication of commercial sexual exploitation upon graduating law school this May.


All views expressed herein are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law or of Villanova University.

Category: News

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