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Blomquist: Lawyers Confront Human Trafficking

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blomquist-kerryOne of the great benefits of being an IndyBar member for me is the chance to be around other lawyers; and great lawyers at that. My professional world at the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence does not allow me the opportunity to be with other members of my profession, so I get my lawyer “fix” through the bar. I get to step out of the fast paced survivor centered work I love, and for lack of a better way of saying it, play in the sandbox. Dance with the Devil. See how the other half lives.

So imagine my surprise when I was donning my snazziest pair of pumps at the recent ABA Midyear Meeting, priming myself for some big time important lawyer networking, when the keynote speech was designed to — get this — get lawyers educated and engaged about the issue of human trafficking.

Oh lordy. They are preaching to the choir. Channeling my inner advocate, it was everything I could do to not yell “Testify!” in the middle of the presentation. Because this much I know from my day job: Human Trafficking is tied as the second largest and fastest growing criminal industry in the world. It generates roughly $32 billion per year for traffickers and victimizes 27 million men, women and children annually. And despite all of these staggering statistics, if this issue isn’t on your radar, it is incredibly easy to overlook.

That is why, in 2013 the American Bar Association is addressing this issue head on. A series of resolutions passed by the ABA’s House of Delegates at the February Midyear meeting encourages the creation of policies to protect victims. One of those resolutions urges bar associations to develop more training programs to help identify trafficking victims.

Let’s face it people, your IndyBar is a leader in the world of metro bar associations. We are 5,000 strong and others bars look to us for best practices and innovations in programming. The State of Indiana has stepped up its fight against human trafficking since Super Bowl 2012 with stronger and smarter laws and better victim outreach, support and assistance. It is this bar president’s opinion that we can help by educating and empowering our colleagues to recognize human trafficking when we see it, and then as importantly, to know what to do as a result.

So, knowledge is power.

Human trafficking comes in two forms: sex trafficking and labor trafficking. Victims are most often women and children, although men are definitely victims as well. The average age of a victim entering the trafficking industry is 12-14 years old. The range of tactics used by the perpetrators of trafficking include physical and emotional violence; isolation; financial abuse; threats to persons, family and others; withholding of food, sleep, medical care; sexual abuse and exploitation; and using children to manipulate and control their victims. Trafficking is modern day slavery and it is found in many industries including:

The sex industry
Factories, restaurants, hotels
Health and beauty industries
Forced labor in agricultural or construction industries
Domestic servitude as servant, housekeeper, or nanny

Like intimate partner violence, it reaches every age, culture, race, ethnicity, income level and indeed, location. Be certain on this, human trafficking is happening in Indiana.

ABA President Laurel Bellows: “As a result of these resolutions, I am proud to say that it is the new policy of the ABA to fight human trafficking and protect victims by mobilizing lawyers, judges, bar associations and law enforcement.” Look for an IndyBar CLE on this issue, because knowledge of this issue, by IndyBar colleagues and constituents, matters.•

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  1. I like the concept. Seems like a good idea and really inexpensive to manage.

  2. I don't agree that this is an extreme case. There are more of these people than you realize - people that are vindictive and/or with psychological issues have clogged the system with baseless suits that are costly to the defendant and to taxpayers. Restricting repeat offenders from further abusing the system is not akin to restricting their freedon, but to protecting their victims, and the court system, from allowing them unfettered access. From the Supreme Court opinion "he has burdened the opposing party and the courts of this state at every level with massive, confusing, disorganized, defective, repetitive, and often meritless filings."

  3. So, if you cry wolf one too many times courts may "restrict" your ability to pursue legal action? Also, why is document production equated with wealth? Anyone can "produce probably tens of thousands of pages of filings" if they have a public library card. I understand this is an extreme case, but our Supreme Court really got this one wrong.

  4. He called our nation a nation of cowards because we didn't want to talk about race. That was a cheap shot coming from the top cop. The man who decides who gets the federal government indicts. Wow. Not a gentleman if that is the measure. More importantly, this insult delivered as we all understand, to white people-- without him or anybody needing to explain that is precisely what he meant-- but this is an insult to timid white persons who fear the government and don't want to say anything about race for fear of being accused a racist. With all the legal heat that can come down on somebody if they say something which can be construed by a prosecutor like Mr Holder as racist, is it any wonder white people-- that's who he meant obviously-- is there any surprise that white people don't want to talk about race? And as lawyers we have even less freedom lest our remarks be considered violations of the rules. Mr Holder also demonstrated his bias by publically visiting with the family of the young man who was killed by a police offering in the line of duty, which was a very strong indicator of bias agains the offer who is under investigation, and was a failure to lead properly by letting his investigators do their job without him predetermining the proper outcome. He also has potentially biased the jury pool. All in all this worsens race relations by feeding into the perception shared by whites as well as blacks that justice will not be impartial. I will say this much, I do not blame Obama for all of HOlder's missteps. Obama has done a lot of things to stay above the fray and try and be a leader for all Americans. Maybe he should have reigned Holder in some but Obama's got his hands full with other problelms. Oh did I mention HOlder is a bank crony who will probably get a job in a silkstocking law firm working for millions of bucks a year defending bankers whom he didn't have the integrity or courage to hold to account for their acts of fraud on the United States, other financial institutions, and the people. His tenure will be regarded by history as a failure of leadership at one of the most important jobs in our nation. Finally and most importantly besides him insulting the public and letting off the big financial cheats, he has been at the forefront of over-prosecuting the secrecy laws to punish whistleblowers and chill free speech. What has Holder done to vindicate the rights of privacy of the American public against the illegal snooping of the NSA? He could have charged NSA personnel with violations of law for their warrantless wiretapping which has been done millions of times and instead he did not persecute a single soul. That is a defalcation of historical proportions and it signals to the public that the government DOJ under him was not willing to do a damn thing to protect the public against the rapid growth of the illegal surveillance state. Who else could have done this? Nobody. And for that omission Obama deserves the blame too. Here were are sliding into a police state and Eric Holder made it go all the faster.

  5. JOE CLAYPOOL candidate for Superior Court in Harrison County - Indiana This candidate is misleading voters to think he is a Judge by putting Elect Judge Joe Claypool on his campaign literature. paragraphs 2 and 9 below clearly indicate this injustice to voting public to gain employment. What can we do? Indiana Code - Section 35-43-5-3: Deception (a) A person who: (1) being an officer, manager, or other person participating in the direction of a credit institution, knowingly or intentionally receives or permits the receipt of a deposit or other investment, knowing that the institution is insolvent; (2) knowingly or intentionally makes a false or misleading written statement with intent to obtain property, employment, or an educational opportunity; (3) misapplies entrusted property, property of a governmental entity, or property of a credit institution in a manner that the person knows is unlawful or that the person knows involves substantial risk of loss or detriment to either the owner of the property or to a person for whose benefit the property was entrusted; (4) knowingly or intentionally, in the regular course of business, either: (A) uses or possesses for use a false weight or measure or other device for falsely determining or recording the quality or quantity of any commodity; or (B) sells, offers, or displays for sale or delivers less than the represented quality or quantity of any commodity; (5) with intent to defraud another person furnishing electricity, gas, water, telecommunication, or any other utility service, avoids a lawful charge for that service by scheme or device or by tampering with facilities or equipment of the person furnishing the service; (6) with intent to defraud, misrepresents the identity of the person or another person or the identity or quality of property; (7) with intent to defraud an owner of a coin machine, deposits a slug in that machine; (8) with intent to enable the person or another person to deposit a slug in a coin machine, makes, possesses, or disposes of a slug; (9) disseminates to the public an advertisement that the person knows is false, misleading, or deceptive, with intent to promote the purchase or sale of property or the acceptance of employment;

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