Students Prepare for Careers in Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts
By Kara van de Carr, J.D., L.L.M., and Mari Lukkaroinen, M.S.W.
Cancer InCytes Magazine - Volume 4, Issue 1, Summer 2015
Published June 30, 2015
Managing Editor: Brandi T. Marsh, M.D., Ph.D.
Cover Art: Ping Cao
Tulane Law School in New Orleans, Louisiana has introduced a new interdisciplinary seminar on human trafficking. Former U.S. Diplomat and 1998 Tulane Law graduate Kara Van de Carr began teaching the course because she believes that to work in the anti-human trafficking effort, one needs more than legal expertise. Van de Carr is offering students the chance to learn critical aspects of human trafficking, both globally and domestically, and to apply that knowledge to class exercises and class presentations. The course takes a multidisciplinary approach to the complex issue of human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking and focuses on restorative justice and other remedies. Guest speakers, in-class discussions, exercises, and class presentations facilitate an in depth understanding of the multidisciplinary aspects of human trafficking. Presenters have included professionals from medicine, psychiatry, social work, and law enforcement, all of whom are actively working to end human trafficking. Van de Carr is also founder and President of the Board of Directors of Eden House. Eden House is the first home in Louisiana for human trafficking survivors and the only home for women trying to leave prostitution. Eden House is a safe haven for survivors and provides residents with a comprehensive two-year program to meet their individual needs.
Human trafficking victimizes 20.9 million people internationally and 1.5 million in North America every year (1). The need for compassionate and effective care from all who support the survivors of human trafficking also continues to grow. I wanted to offer law students the chance to learn critical aspects of human trafficking, both globally and domestically, but not just focused on the legal aspects of human trafficking. Human trafficking is so complex that, in order to understand your client and be a good advocate, you need to understand much more than the applicable law.
The course takes a multidisciplinary approach to the complex issue of human trafficking, particularly sex trafficking and focuses on restorative justice and other remedies. Guest speakers, in-class discussions, exercises, and class presentations facilitate a complete understanding of the multidisciplinary aspects of human trafficking.
The course provides the opportunity for rigorous study of human trafficking from a global, national, state and local perspective, including the review and examination of human trafficking statutes and procedural processes to address human trafficking and modern day slavery. The international United Nation’s Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, also known as the Palermo Protocol, and the United States Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) are just some of the law and policy students have analyzed.
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Louisiana is currently ranked number one in the U.S. for anti-trafficking legislation to protect victims of sex trafficking, according to Shared Hope International’s 2014 Protected Innocence Challenge: State Report Cards on the Legal Framework of Protection for the Nation’s Children (2). Students have met state legislators and attorneys and discussed the advancements Louisiana is making in ending human trafficking. One class had the students organize a mock legislative hearing with Louisiana State Representative Neil Abramson to discuss the merits and drawbacks of human trafficking as an affirmative defense against other related charges victims may incur.
The course also offers students a comprehensive investigation into the process of restorative justice and its application in the human trafficking arena through deliberative means, including learning about strategies such as supportive interviewing and listening skills. Presenters have included psychiatrists who work with trauma survivors and national trainers who educate law enforcement on identification of trafficking victims. Presentations from the F.B.I., the Assistant U.S. Attorney, and local law enforcement agents expose students to investigation and prosecution tactics. Students have replicated prosecutorial memorandums, created victim response plans, and prepared client interview questions: all in preparation to move into future work in anti-human trafficking efforts.
Learning the benefits and art of collaborative work with colleagues from other professional disciplines, such as medicine, psychiatry, social work, and law enforcement has proven invaluable, as Beth Ebersole, a third-year student, remarks: “The dynamic line-up of professional speakers was my favorite experience from this class. It is one thing to read case law or statutory provisions on human trafficking. It is quite another experience to be given an opportunity to engage with professionals who have working knowledge on how to prosecute traffickers, protect victims, and bolster efforts to eliminate the demand for human trafficking. These professionals... ...represented a growing diaspora of individuals whose job it is to suppress the increasing demand of human trafficking. This class has taught me that there is a place for me to do the same.”
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Understanding Holistic Services
In 2011, I founded (along with my fellow attorney Katherine Green) Eden House, a two-year residential program for women who have survived commercial and sexual exploitation. Eden House, a 501(3)(c) non-profit, is the first home in Louisiana for human trafficking survivors and the only home for women trying to leave prostitution. Eden House addresses the tragedy of human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation in the New Orleans community, in addition to the related issues of addiction, mental illness, and homelessness.
Eden House takes a holistic approach to empower its residents. A comprehensive spectrum of resources are provided, including housing, food, health care, legal services, psychotherapy, spiritual support, education, and job training; which are all part of each woman’s individual two-year recovery plan. The individual case management sets the Eden House program apart from all others. The goal is the all-encompassing recovery of each resident while preserving her individuality and dignity.
Students had the opportunity to visit and tour Eden House during their last class of the semester to better understand the holistic service delivery that each survivor of human trafficking requires. Research has shown that the best way to ensure that a woman does not return to a life of addiction and commercial sexual exploitation after recovery is to ensure that she has the means to support herself independently. Every dollar spent on treatment programs such as Eden House saves $7 in crime and criminal justice costs (3).
With education, job training, and ongoing support from the Eden House community, graduates of Eden House will be able to use their stories and skills as flourishing members of the community to educate the community about the problem of human trafficking at home and around the world. In this way, Eden House is a project that equips each of its graduates with the education needed to become skilled, capable members of our global community. It also gives the community the capacity to support those who have paid dearly in a culture that permits the buying and selling of women and children.
About the Authors
Kara Van de Carr is the Founder and Board President of Eden House. She is an attorney and former US Diplomat at the US Embassy in Jamaica charged with writing the Trafficking in Persons Report for Jamaica. She travels extensively, speaking on the issues of human trafficking and recovery, and assisting organizations that hope to establish similar residential programs throughout the U.S. Ms. Van de Carr received her B.A. from UC Berkley, her J.D. from Tulane Law, and an LL.M. from Georgetown Law School in International Law.
Mari Lukkaroinen is a Project Manager at Eden House. She provided academic support during the inaugural semester of the course. Ms. Lukkaroinen works with Ms. Van de Carr to establish residential programs like Eden House throughout the U.S. She received her HBSW and MSW degrees from Lakehead University in Ontario, Canada.
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1. National Human Trafficking Resource Center. What is Human Trafficking? Retrieved April 15, 2015 from
2. Shared Hope International. Protected Innocence Challenge: State Report Cards on the Legal Framework of Protection for the Nation’s Children. 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2015 from
3. Ettner, S. L., Huang, D., Evans, E., Rose Ash, D., Hardy, M., Jourabchi, M., & Hser, Y. I. Benefit–cost in the California Treatment Outcome Project: Does substance abuse treatment “pay for itself”? Health Services Research. 2006, 41(1), 192-213.