OSU Law School Fights To Raise Awareness On Human Trafficking - WCMH: News, Weather, and Sports for Columbus, Ohio

OSU Law School Fights To Raise Awareness On Human Trafficking

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COLUMBUS, Ohio -

According to the Ohio Attorney General's Office the average age of human trafficking victims is 13-years-old. It is an issue the Moritz College of Law at OSU is tackling through its own programs as well as a week long program aimed at educating about the problem.

Starting the week of January 20, 2014, OSU's law school will host a series of events aiming to raise awareness about human trafficking. The events are free and open to the public. Although some events do require tickets. The event features seminars as well as a film showing.

Additionally in 2013 the school established the Greif Fellowship in Juvenile Human Trafficking aimed at providing legal representation and advice to child victims of human sex and labor trafficking in Ohio.

Nikki Baszynski is the first person to hold the fellowship and says it is often hard to convince teenage victims of trafficking that they need help.

"What's difficult is that clients often don't identify as victims. And so finding clients has been it's own challenge," Baszynski said.

According to the fellowship's website:

"The state has the unfortunate distinction of being a leader in the number of victims affected by this lucrative, black-market business...Juvenile victims can face serious legal issues once they become involved with a trafficker, ranging from the equivalent of adult criminal charges to running afoul of child protective services for placing their own children in risky situations and environments."

Baszynski says she takes cases from across Ohio and advocates at both the state and federal level for her clients adding that child victims often face charges.

"Delinquency actions where I've actually had clients who were charged with solicitation even though they hadn't turned 18 yet. They weren't willingly selling themselves," Baszynski said.

Kimberly Jordan is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Law at Moritz as well as Director of the Justice for Children Project.

"Juveniles often feel that their voice is not being heard in the legal system. And so we really want to seek to build that relationship with them and see they can get the assistance and help that they need," Jordan said.

A schedule of events for Human Trafficking Awareness week is available on the law school's website.

Individuals or organizations interested in referring potential clients should call (614) 292-3326.

If you think someone is a victim of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

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