RADNOR The Villanova University School of Law is addressing the way Pennsylvania's legal system responds to commercial sexual exploitation with the launch of a new institute this month.
The Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, also called the CSE Institute, is celebrating its official launch with a Sept. 16 reception. Designed to provide education and technical assistance to those who respond to commercial sexual exploitation, the institute is focused on teaching a victim-centered, multidisciplinary approach, according to a statement.
In its pilot phase last year, the institute conducted training for more than 500 people in the state, including police and prosecutors, among others. The center is to focus on more training this year and, in addition, will provide legal technical assistance and aggregate data on sex crimes.
"Commercial sexual exploitation is not a distant problem," the institute said in a statement on its website. "It is a problem that resides in our own backyard."
According to the institute, this goes by many labels: human trafficking, sex trafficking, modern-day slavery, and forced prostitution. The institute estimates that Philadelphia's underground sex economy ranges anywhere from $98 million to $831 million.