State-Level Interventions for Human Trafficking: The Advocates for Human Rights

Reference work entry


The Advocates for Human Rights works to end human trafficking with a human rights framework using research, documentation, and advocacy both locally and internationally. The Advocates’ decades of experience working to end violence against women and to protect the rights of migrants and asylum seekers underpins its anti-trafficking work. The Advocates partners with nongovernmental organizations, pro bono practitioners, university researchers, and government agencies to build practical approaches based on human rights principles. These strategies center on the needs of victims while ensuring accountability for those who violate the human rights of people directly affected by trafficking.

The Advocates for Human Rights was founded in 1983 by a group of Minnesota lawyers who recognized the community’s spirit of social justice as an opportunity to promote and protect human rights in the United States and around the world. Today The Advocates has produced more than 75 reports on a wide range of issues documenting human rights practices and offering policy recommendations. The Advocates works with partners overseas and in the United States to restore and protect human rights and holds Special Consultative Status with the United Nations.

For more than a decade, The Advocates has used a human rights approach to identify gaps in legal protections relating to human trafficking, engage stakeholders to identify sound strategies, and work with policymakers to implement change. The Advocates researches the laws and documents and analyzes the experiences and opinions of stakeholders, including people in government, NGOs, and those with lived experience. The organization develops and evaluates its policy proposals to ensure health, safety, dignity, and justice for those affected by the laws. This analysis necessarily entails balancing the rights of all stakeholders. The human rights approach helps avoid the polarizing ideological positions which plague the anti-trafficking discourse by focusing on the actual impact identified by people directly affected by public policies relating to trafficking, prostitution, immigration, and other related issues.

Today Minnesota has a robust, diverse, and engaged community working to prevent and respond to human trafficking and is representative of a good intersectional practice example of the fourth “P”: partnership working.


Law Sex trafficking Youth Minnesota Partnership working Labor trafficking Health 


  1. International Labour Organization (2017) Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage.
  2. Minnesota Department of Health (2014) Advancing Health Equity in Minnesota: Report to the Legislature, St. Paul.
  3. Minnesota Department of Public Safety (2013) No Wrong Door: A Comprehensive Approach to Safe Harbor for Minnesota’s Sexually Exploited Youth, St. Paul.!2012%20Safe%20Harbor%20Report%20(FINAL).pdf.
  4. Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center/University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (2012) Early Intervention to Avoid Sex Trading and Trafficking of Minnesota’s Female Youth: A Benefit-Cost Analysis.
  5. Minnesota Office of Justice Programs (2017) Human Trafficking in Minnesota: A Report to the Minnesota Legislature, St. Paul.
  6. Owens, Colleen et al. (2014) Understanding the Organization, Operation, and Victimization Process of Labor Trafficking in the United States, Urban Institute, Washington DC.
  7. The Advocates for Human Rights (2008) Sex Trafficking Needs Assessment for the State of Minnesota, Minneapolis.
  8. The Advocates for Human Rights (2013) Safe Harbor: Fulfilling Minnesota’s Promise for Sexually Exploited Youth, Minneapolis.
  9. The Advocates for Human Rights (2016) Asking the Right Questions: A Human Rights Approach to Ending Trafficking and Exploitation in the Workplace, Minneapolis.
  10. The Advocates for Human Rights (2017) Discover Human Rights: A Human Rights Approach to Social Justice, Minneapolis.
  11. Wilder Research (2005) Critical Issues in Domestic Violence, St. Paul.

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer International Publishing AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Advocates for Human RightsMinneapolisUSA

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