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FSU Public Interest Law Center podcasts provide human trafficking trial advocacy advice

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FSU Public Interest Law CenterA new FSU Public Interest Law Center human trafficking podcast offers lawyers free trial advocacy advice from a trove of legal, academic, clinical, law enforcement, and other experts.

Produced through the Human Trafficking and Exploitation Law Project with the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, the eight-episode series is called: “Trial Advocacy Podcast: Supporting Survivors of Human Trafficking.”

The series is available for free on Spotify.

Human trafficking issues are complex and helping a survivor navigate the court system can require a multidisciplinary team, said FSU College of Law Clinical Professor Daynica Harley, who worked on the series.

“There are so many other things impacting the lives of the people that we work with,” Harley said. “So, it’s beneficial for lawyers to have an understanding of how these different focuses and perspectives come together, and what are the best practices for working with survivors of human trafficking.”

All lawyers could benefit by learning more about trauma and how it impacts people in legal proceedings, said FSU College of Law 3L Olivia Ingram, who also worked on the podcast.

“They can get a lot of knowledge, both prosecutors and defenders, people who practice all types of law, just so they can become more trauma aware,” Ingram said.

Second Circuit Assistant State Attorney Lorena Bueno, a Felony Division bureau chief and human trafficking expert, headlines an episode called “Navigating Human Trafficking Trauma in the Legal Process.”

Bueno, who is well-known among human trafficking advocates, said she promises every survivor she works with that she will always tell them the truth.

People who endure years of trauma have trust issues, Bueno says. Keeping an appointment with a lawyer isn’t always a priority for someone who lacks food or a safe place to sleep, Bueno said.

“Their time schedule and what they’re going through doesn’t necessarily always gel with the legal proceeding,” Bueno says. “They have dealt with things that you can’t even begin to understand.”

FSU Law Professor Terry Coonan, founding executive director of the Center for Advancement of Human Rights, offers a history of human trafficking prosecution in an episode titled “Human Trafficking 101.”

Prosecutors had few tools to go after human traffickers before Congress created The Trafficking Victim Protection Act of 2000, Coonan said. It followed the discovery of some 70 women who were forced to perform slave labor in a California garment factory, he said.

Coonan called it a “sea change.”

“Prior to that, if you had trafficked a young girl for sex work, you could maybe have gotten three or four-year sentence under federal law,” he said. “If you had trafficked heroin, you could have gotten a life sentence.”

The definition of trafficking, Coonan said, is the use of force, fraud, or coercion to exploit someone for either commercial sex or forced labor.

“They are unable to walk away from their exploitation,” he said. “That’s the definition of human trafficking.”

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