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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. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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