Douglass Fellowship


Inspired by Frederick Douglass’s commitment to freedom, education, and advocacy, the Human Trafficking Institute (Institute) provides an opportunity for law students chosen through a competitive process to participate in a nine-month fellowship program focused on developing future leaders in the anti-human trafficking movement and providing resources to those currently combatting human trafficking around the globe.

Douglass Fellows (Fellows) will serve from September through May each academic year.


1. Research & Writing
Fellows will have the opportunity to support the Institute’s research efforts to provide clear, data-driven materials for scholars and criminal justice practitioners engaged in combatting human trafficking.

Some of the projects include: working on amicus briefs to the United States Supreme Court or Circuit Courts of Appeal in cases impacting human trafficking law; researching current trends in human trafficking law; assisting in the research and publication of an annual Federal Human Trafficking Report on the current state of human trafficking cases in the United States; analyzing successful models of human trafficking enforcement; researching methods for measuring prevalence; and, analyzing and compiling human trafficking statistics.

The Institute will work with each Fellow on the development and placement of a publishable piece of scholarship or advocacy. These writing projects can range from law review or journal articles to an Op-Ed piece. The Institute will assist Fellows interested in receiving credit from their home academic institution by providing necessary materials as needed.

2. Mentorship
To encourage each Fellow’s personal research goals and career objectives, the Institute will pair each Fellow with a mentor who currently works in the anti-trafficking sector. Mentors will come from different components of the anti-trafficking sector, ranging from those leading anti-trafficking NGOs, prosecution units, law enforcement units, victim service providers, and government offices. Where possible, mentorship matches will be made based on the Fellow’s articulated interests. Mentors will make themselves available at least six times during the fellowship year to provide in-depth guidance, insight, and counsel to the Fellow.

3. Advocacy
Recognizing the importance of advocacy, each Fellow will coordinate an Institute event at their educational institution (Advocacy Event). The Fellow and the Institute will work together on the agenda, target audience, and speakers for the Advocacy Event. The goal of each Advocacy Event is to raise awareness about human trafficking, provide accurate and compelling information to the community, and inspire others to work to decimate the prevalence of human trafficking.


1. Orientation
In September, the Fellows will gather with the Institute Team for a two-day orientation in the metro-Washington, D.C. area. During this orientation, the Fellows will receive an overview of the human trafficking landscape, the Institute’s work, current research projects, as well as instructions about workflow and logistics.

2. Research
Each Fellow is expected to provide approximately 10 hours a week on Institute research projects. Institute Team Members will work with each Fellow to tailor the research projects to their interests and work with them regarding their class schedules. Fellows will participate in a bi-weekly conference call with the Institute’s Associate Legal Counsel, about their progress, challenges, and updates.

3. Advocacy
The time commitment surrounding the Fellows’ advocacy event will vary.

4. Institute Spring Event
Each Fellow will attend the Institute’s Spring Event with the Institute’s Team Members, Board of Directors, Partner Country leaders, mentors, and key supporters.

The Institute will work with the Fellow’s educational institution and other entities to secure a $5,000 stipend to support the Fellow’s work and expenses to participate in the program.

Subject to each Fellow’s interests and the Institute’s needs, it may be possible for one or more Fellows to travel to one of the Institute’s country projects.

Applicants must submit a cover letter, résumé, transcript, and writing sample to the Institute for consideration. The Institute will assess applicants based on academic achievement; leadership potential; research and writing ability; and demonstrated commitment to human rights and anti-trafficking efforts.