Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute

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The Mission of the Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute is to respond to human trafficking and social justice through teaching, research and engagement.

“With an international reputation, the Institute provides quality and relevant research, a premiere education, and effective community engagement.”


Additional Resources

Contact Us

Main Campus
College of Health & Human Services

Health & Human Services Building

Room HH 2638

2801 West Bancroft St./MS 119

Toledo, Ohio 43606

Phone: 419.530.5590

Fax: 419.530.4141
News from the htsji!

Institute director celia williamson featured on the womenace to society podcast with lisa landry!



New manual helps protect ohio domestic violence survivors and their pets

The Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) unveiled a new publication entitled “Representing Domestic Violence Survivors with Pets in Ohio: A Manual for Domestic Violence Attorneys & Advocates Helping Survivors Obtain Protection Orders.”The manual is designed to enable attorneys and advocates in Ohio to better assist pet-owning domestic violence survivors. It offers a step-by-step approach to simplify the inclusion of pets in protection orders, allowing survivors to take control of their lives and escape abuse along with their pets.


“This manual will be an essential addition to the resources we currently offer on animals and family violence,” said Cathy Liss, AWI president. “It is crucial for attorneys and advocates to be aware of the concerns voiced by domestic violence survivors about their pets, of how those concerns affect the survivors’ decisions, and, most of all, of how to help them use the protection order process on behalf of their companion animals.”


The resource explains why pets should be protected in cases of domestic violence, noting that abusers often harm companion animals—just as they harm their partners and children—to assert dominance and control. One survey found that 71 percent of pet-owning domestic violence victims reported that their abusers had threatened, injured or killed their pets. Victims often refuse to leave violent situations for fear of what will happen to their pets. When seeking assistance, they may not even mention that they have a pet because they assume that there are no resources available to care for their animals.


The manual discusses the general legal landscape surrounding the inclusion of companion animals in civil protection orders, gives specific details about the laws in Ohio and provides links to forms and outside resources. To date, AWI has published similar resources for 11 other states and the District of Columbia.


Under Ohio law, petitions for protection orders are granted in cases of domestic violence and child abuse. Any adult in the household may seek a protection order on behalf of any other family or household member, including a child. Although animal abuse is not specifically mentioned in the statute as a basis for requesting that a court issue a protection order, the court may order the respondent to stay away from the pet(s) and/or allow the applicant to request custody of them as part of a domestic violence protection order.


“Because domestic violence intake interviews typically do not involve questions about the presence of pets, pets are still rarely included in petitions and final orders,” said Nancy Blaney, director of government affairs for AWI. “With the creation of this manual, which covers every aspect of this issue concisely but thoroughly, our mission is to simplify the inclusion of companion animals in protection orders for attorneys and advocates, allowing survivors to take control of their lives and find safety for themselves and their pets.”


AWI is organizing a series of cross-trainings in March for animal control officers, social workers and advocates for victims of domestic violence, among others, in Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo.


The manual is available to view here.

The University of Toledo Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute in collaboration with the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition is calling a press conference. We want to make two issues clear. First, language is Important. What is in a word? Sometimes everything. We believe that the local media used inappropriate language to discuss the case regarding former Toledo Police Officer Michael Moore. In the coverage of this case, the alleged victim was called a “child prostitute” and “under-aged prostitute” by WTOL News. The language about the alleged sexual interaction between the then 14 year old child and former officer Moore was described by The Blade as one person paying to “have sex” with another. When an adult is alleged to have paid for sex with a child, the person is called an alleged child molester, the child is called an alleged victim of commercial sexual exploitation, and the act is called commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Language is a powerful way of denigrating oppressed populations who society views as less valuable. Despite both the federal law and Ohio law that says that youth who are involved in the commercial sex trade are victims of the crime of child sex trafficking, the Blade chose to characterize the alleged victim as an “admitted prostitute”. Admitting the label assigned by the oppressor doesn’t mean it’s true. For several hundred years the “N” word was used to describe a population of people and if you asked a slave back then if they were indeed the “N” word, they would have told you yes. In fact, in Ohio a 14 year old child that has sex with an adult for money is a child sex trafficking victim or at the very least a child that is so desperate for money that she needs our immediate help, not our denigration. The adult in these cases is the person that stands accountable, not the child.  Child sex trafficking is modern day slavery as identified by our federal government.

We are calling this press conference to ensure that our community knows the proper language to use when discussing the topic of commercial sex with a child.  Second, we are concerned that because of this that other children will not come forward to tell someone about their victimization. We want to assure child victims that may be out in our community that we want them to come forward and get help.

The Press Conference will be held at the Kent Branch Library (Collingwood and Cherry) at noon on Friday, May 25th.

The University of Toledo, Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute in collaboration with the Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition


Click here to see HTSJI and Dr. Williamson on The Universty of Toledo Features 


 There are only two sides - justice & injustice.

Hate should not be an american value.

 The institute participateD in THE u.s. commission on civil rights hearing about human trafficking in ohio

The report can be viewed here

Check out this video created for the University of Toledo! 

Click here to play video. The University of Toledo will hosts the 15th annual International Human Trafficking and Social Justice Conference.

UT's Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute hosts the annual conference for attendees to exchange ideas and engage survivors of human trafficking.

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Lucas County Human Trafficking Coalition Events

Monthly Meetings - Toledo

The coalition meets from 9:15-11:00 a.m. on the 3rd Wednesday of the month,
at the Kent Branch Public Library,

kent branch library

3101 Collingwood Boulevard, Toledo, OH 43610
(at the corner of Collingwood and Central). Library opens at 9:00 a.m

Recent Events & News

Sherrod Brown
 speaking at our "Ending Addiction Stigma" Event 

MacArthur Grant funded to the Lucas County Board of Commissioners for criminal justice reform! - The Human Trafficking and Social Justice Institute helped organize the community input for the grant 

Past events archive

Last Updated: 10/25/18