The Human Trafficking Practice & Research Fellows Project at the School of Social Work’s Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) aims to advance understanding of human trafficking crimes, improve lives of survivors and provide students with opportunities to engage in research and policy initiatives. The project seeks to strengthen community partnerships and improve services through research and policy. Founded on the premise that the field has unmet research needs, the project will align students with community partners and enhance students’ professional capacities for work in the human trafficking field.

Project objectives: 1) supervise 5-7 fellows a year, 6 hours a week; 2) advance student understanding through advocacy and research; 3) lessen burden of community practitioners; 4) hire part-time staff member to supervise.

Within this project, the Expert Witness Program Initiative (EWPI) has the goal of providing pro bono expertise in cases of intimate partner violence in Texas. Critical in expounding the complexities of intimate partner violence, expert witnesses are instrumental in advancing the criminal justice system’s understanding of these crimes. EWPI program objectives are: 1) provide pro bono consultation in at least 6 cases a year; 2) collaborate with practitioners serving victims; 3) provide expert services to victims who would otherwise be unable to afford an expert witness.

With translational, meaningful work as IDVSA‘s a central goal, the Human Trafficking Practice & Research Fellows Project will develop three to five products (e.g. toolkits, presentations and/or publications) that will be informative and practically applicable to the field.