John Rafferty, a third-year student and Public Interest Scholar at Villanova University School of Law, has been awarded a 2012-13 Fulbright Scholar grant to work with the International Organization of Migration (IOM) in its Quito, Ecuador office. A dedicated anti-trafficking advocate and human rights activist, Rafferty previously volunteered with the organization in 2011.
Upon his return to Ecuador, Rafferty will partner with government agencies and non-government organizations (NGOs) to spread awareness and understanding of Ecuador’s human trafficking policies and laws and the challenges facing the prosecution of such crimes. He will work to identify strategies that make counter-trafficking partnerships effective; facilitate discussions to better understand how victims are identified, protected and processed in cities that recognize the specialized needs of TIP (trafficking in persons) victims; and learn about the most effective research methods to determine the causes and motivations for TIP in individual cities.
“John Rafferty’s dedication to fighting human trafficking is an outstanding example of Villanova’s longstanding commitment to social justice,” said John Gotanda, Dean of the Villanova University School of Law. “John is using his legal skills to make a difference for thousands of trafficking victims near and far. The VLS community is proud of his achievements and his selection as a Fulbright Scholar.”
“It was such an honor when the director of IOM’s Counter-Trafficking program in Ecuador offered to partner with me in the creation of this project,” said Rafferty. “It was like a dream come true when the Fulbright program agreed that funding this project would facilitate better understanding with our neighbors to the south about what makes human trafficking such a lucrative and attractive industry in our hemisphere.”
Prior to being named a Fulbright Scholar, Rafferty received a 2012 Independence Foundation Public Interest Law Fellowship to work with the Philadelphia-based Friends of Farmworkers. Both organizations have graciously voiced their support for Rafferty’s Fulbright work and have expressed their belief that his project in Ecuador will make him a more experienced advocate for victims of trafficking. Rafferty will begin representing victims of labor trafficking in Pennsylvania upon his return to the U.S. in 2013.
To learn more about the Fulbright Program, visit http://fulbright.state.gov.