St. Thomas School of Law’s Intercultural Human Rights Program, Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section Team Up for Comprehensive Human Trafficking Education October 7 CLE Course in Miami

Sep 28, 2011

Above:  Colodny Fass Shareholder and Florida Bar Public Interest Law Section Continuing Legal Education Chair Maria Elena Abate

Attorneys, lawyers, law enforcement personnel, healthcare providers, teachers, students, researchers, religious institutions and other interested members of the public are invited to attend the Florida Bar’s Public Interest Law Section’s complimentary October 7, 2011 Continuing Legal Education course on human trafficking. 

The half-day forum is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at St. Thomas University, Convocation Hall, 16401 NW 37th Ave. in Miami Gardens.

Led by St. Thomas University School of Law’s Graduate Program Director and Professor Dr. Roza Pati, and coordinated by Ana Isabel Vallejo, J.D./LL.M., the program will begin with a showing of the short acclaimed film, The Fields of Mudan, which depicts international child sex trafficking, and then provide an overview of the topic of human trafficking and the role of Florida attorneys.  Attendees will learn the definition of human trafficking and applicable federal and Florida law.  An overview of the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking cases in Florida also will be given.

Colodny Fass’s Maria Elena Abate, the Florida Bar’s Public Interest Law Section Continuing Legal Education Chair, advised that the course has been approved for 4.5 General Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits and for up to 3.5 credits toward Criminal Trial and Criminal Appellate Certification.

Attorneys will be particularly interested in the course’s instruction on related human trafficking civil and legal remedies.  Instruction will be given on employment law relief, along with how to file a human trafficking civil action, which comprises client interviewing, complaint filing, identification of trafficker assets, trial and recovery.

Participants will learn about key aspects of immigration law and the relief and remedies available to help trafficking victims.   Ethical considerations in the coordination of legal relief will be reviewed as well.

Online registration is available at:  For more information, contact:  Ana Isabel Vallejo at 305-623-2320 or

About St. Thomas University’s Efforts to End Human Trafficking

A series of conferences and workshops is currently ongoing around the globe to expand awareness of the alarming statistics on how smuggling and illegal immigration has aggravated the epidemic of human trafficking.  

Meanwhile, to address the role of academia in the crisis, Miami’s St. Thomas University President, Monsignor Franklyn M. Casale, has been reaching out for public-private sector partnerships on the issue, stressing that higher learning institutions can serve as incubators, think tanks and informational portals.

Under St. Thomas Professor Roza Pati’s direction, its School of Law’s Intercultural Human Rights Program has graduated students who now work in various areas of public service as attorneys and advocates focusing on servitude, abuse and migration.  Students seeking to earn their graduate degree are involved in the U.S. Department of Justice-funded Human Trafficking Initiative grant, for which they conduct research, gather data and provide training to the private sector and developing partnerships.

Representing academia as a keynote speaker in the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See and in Columbia this past July, Monsignor Casale has pointed to the necessity of further in-depth study, inasmuch as human trafficking leaves no paper trail for the authorities to follow, no bank transactions to track, and not even suspicions of tax evasions.

A recent study by the International Labor Organization reveals that at least 2.45 million persons across the globe are subject to trafficking.  Out of this number, 1.2 million are children.

There is an accompanying rise in illegal immigration – to the U.S., as well as to other developed countries – with transnational victims being trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation, such as in cases of mail order or foreign bride schemes.

Florida cases include forced labor in camps (agricultural issues), nursing homes, restaurants, bars, construction sites and factories.  Fearing for their lives and the well being of those they left behind, victims keep silent on their condition.