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Remedies for Trafficking Victims: Civil Litigation in the Federal Courts

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Produced on March 17, 2016

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Course Information

Time 1h 1m
Difficulty Intermediate

Course Description

“Remedies for Trafficking Victims: Civil Litigation in the Federal Courts” provides in-depth training for attorneys bringing suits under 18 USC §1595, the federal private right of action. Using a case-study approach, the course examines labor and sex trafficking civil cases litigated in the federal courts. It also provides insights into important civil precedents, recent amendments to the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), and resources available for civil litigators representing trafficking survivors. Participants will gain knowledge about the range of state and federal claims typically brought in addition to federal trafficking statutory claims (Chapter 77 of Title 18).


The course materials draw extensively from The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center’s database of all federal trafficking cases brought since the private right of action’s inception in 2003. This program, the first session in a two-part series, covers civil trafficking case development, pleadings, myths about trafficking commonly held by juries, the interplay between immigration and civil litigation, the interplay between criminal cases and civil cases, and the impact of trauma. Session II focuses on federal criminal trafficking prosecutions and mandatory restitution for trafficking survivors.


Learning Objectives:

I.     Comprehend the federal private right of action, its history, and its relationship to federal human trafficking criminal statutes

II.     Understand elements of pleadings in trafficking cases

III.    Know additional causes of action typically brought in federal complaints alleging human trafficking

IV.    Grasp important civil precedents and common outcomes

V.     Understand myths about human trafficking and the impact of these misconceptions upon juries and judges

VI.    Recognize the interplay between immigration, criminal, and civil trafficking cases

VII.   Grasp the implications of trauma on plaintiffs in civil cases

VIII.  Become familiar with the extraterritorial reach of federal trafficking statutes and strategic litigation for abuses beyond U.S. borders

IX.    Identify common defenses raised in trafficking cases

Credit Information

After completing this course, Lawline will report your attendance information to {{ accredMasterState.state.name }}. Please ensure your license number is filled out in your profile to ensure timely reporting. For more information, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements page . After completing this course, {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} attorneys self-report their attendance and CLE compliance. For more information on how to report your CLE courses, see our {{ accredMasterState.state.name }} CLE Requirements FAQ .


Martina E. Vandenberg

The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center

Martina E. Vandenberg is the founder and president of The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center (HT Pro Bono). Vandenberg established HT Pro Bono in 2012 with generous support from the Open Society Foundations (OSF) Fellowship Program. 

Prior to becoming an OSF Fellow, Vandenberg served as a partner at Jenner & Block LLP, where she focused on complex commercial litigation and internal investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. She served as a senior member of the firm’s Pro Bono Committee. 

Vandenberg has spent two decades fighting human trafficking, forced labor, rape as a war crime, and violence against women. Vandenberg has represented victims of human trafficking pro bono in immigration, criminal, and civil cases. She has testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, the Helsinki Commission, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Armed Services Committee on an array of human rights issues. Through HT Pro Bono, Vandenberg has trained more than 1,800 pro bono attorneys nationwide to handle human trafficking matters. 

A former Human Rights Watch researcher, Vandenberg spearheaded investigations into human rights violations in the Russian Federation, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Uzbekistan, Kosovo, Israel, and Ukraine. She is the author of two Human Rights Watch reports, “Hopes Betrayed: Trafficking of Women and Girls to Post-Conflict Bosnia & Herzegovina for Forced Prostitution,” and “Kosovo: Rape as a Weapon of ‘Ethnic Cleansing.’” As a researcher for the Israel Women’s Network, she investigated and published the first report documenting human trafficking into Israel. While living in the Russian Federation in the 1990s, she co-founded Syostri, one of Russia’s first rape crisis centers for women.

Vandenberg has received multiple awards for her leadership against human trafficking. In 2012, the Freedom Network USA presented Vandenberg with the Paul and Sheila Wellstone Award for her “outstanding leadership and dedication in working to combat human trafficking and slavery in the United States.” In 2013, she received the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation’s Stevens Award for outstanding service in public interest law. In 2015, she received the Katharine & George Alexander Law Prize. She also received Albert E. Jenner, Jr. Pro Bono Award for her successful representation of trafficking victims in United States federal courts and her advocacy before Congress. Vandenberg currently serves as a co-chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Trafficking Task Force. 

A Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar, Vandenberg has taught as an adjunct faculty member at the American University Washington College of Law and at the Oxford University Human Rights Summer Program. She is a graduate of Pomona College (B.A.), Oxford University (M.Phil), and Columbia Law School (J.D.).


Alane M.

Very informative and speaker was great

Amy A.

Great class on an incredible topic. Will look for an update to this talk from this attorney

Christopher R.

Nice overview of case law and current developments, thank you.

Nanci T.

Excellent faculty and material!

Lisa B.

This dealt with a very difficult topic in a respectful and insightful way.

Christopher K.

Pretty specific subject area but interesting

Patricia D.


Diane H.

Nice job!

John N.

Excellent presentation.

Laura c.

Brillant presentation! Excellent!

Richard R.

Superb. Professional and compassionate delivery and message. A must study and review for any attorney

carlos s.


Sheila G.

Excellent and thoughtful program! Thank you.

Lisa O.

This presentation was outstanding. I would highly recommend this to others.

Nicholas S.

Very complete and heart felt!

Karen K.

An excellent presentation, rich in substance (case law, statutory, and data) and shared with the viewer in an extremely compassionate and coherent manner.

Victoria I.

This was incredibly informative.

Jamilee K.

The presenter was by far one of the best I've seen in a long time. She is fascinating to listen to.

Susan C.

Fabulous speaker

Karen B.

Very well done presentation by someone who clearly devotes her life and energy and mental gifts to serving abused people. Thank you for this presentation and for the passion accompanying it.

Kelly R.

Really great presentation

Sharon A.

Interesting presentation

Jeffrey H.

Passionate presentation

Gino S.

Very good presentation

Krissie A.

great speaker

Stephen K.

Both legally valuable as we as having societal value. Presenter a dedicated individual to an important cause - kudos to her

Pamela M.

Fantastic and informative

Lisa E.


Eric P.

Outstanding presenter. Excellent program. Great use of examples.

Lisa Y.

great presentation!

Patricia B.

Excellent presentation!

Joan F.

Eye opening. Clearly presented.

Gerard M.

one of the best presentations ive seen very informed speaker a real insight into a serious problem the speaker is trying to make better

Julie A. B.

Sign me up!

pat g.

Excellent presentation

Mary F.

This presenter and course was one of the best CLEs I have taken. I recommend a series on this topic conducted by this presenter.

Fredda B.

One of the best presentations, on any topic, that I have viewed thus far. 6183665

Jerome L.


Kai D.

Great, well organized and thoughtful presentation ! Good job.

Helen B.

Very well done. Thank you.

Michael B.

good presenter

John A. M.

Outstanding, well organized, high content presentation on a very important topic. Highly recommended.

Diane E.

significant content--glad I took both classes

Elizabeth E.

Very knowledgeable and articulate instructor

Carla D.

Excellent presenter

Rodney S.


Richard C.

Martina is very knowledgeable and highly skilled in imparting it to others.

Henry S. S.

This presentation was excellent. I learned a great deal about an area of law that I knew very little about. Very informative.

priscilla w.

this was great, informational. wished I knew someone doing this my area, I would volunteer

Sheila B.

I want more presentations on this subject...perhaps with information on how many judgments are recovered by the victims. Excellent presentation!

Susan M.

Highly recommended. I plan to take Part 2 as well.

John L.


Sara M.

Excellent course

Kiman L.

Well done.

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