Modern recognition of international human rights emerged at the end of World War II with the atrocities of Nazi Germany vividly in mind. The United Nations was formed and among its express purposes was the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. These basic concepts were incorporated into the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948. The Universal Declaration is the best known and most cited human rights document in the world and is incorporated in the constitutions and laws of many countries.

Human rights law has since gained prominence as a universally recognized set of norms and standards applicable to our relations as individuals, within communities and among nations. Among the contemporary applications of international human rights laws is the evolving concept of corporate social responsibility, protection of refugees, asylum, human trafficking and tort claims in U.S. courts by aliens for violations of human rights occurring abroad.


Human Trafficking is modern-day slavery of victims forced, defrauded or coerced into labor or sexual exploitation. According to U.S. government statistics, about 600,000 to 800,000 people annually -mostly women and children-are trafficked across national borders which, does not count millions trafficked within their own countries.

Human Trafficking victims are ensnared by many means, including physical force, coercion, and false promises regarding job opportunities or marriages in foreign countries. Victims often suffer physical and emotional abuse, rape, threats against self and family, passport theft, and even death.

In addition to criminal sanctions, California allows victims of human trafficking to bring civil actions for actual damages, compensatory damages, injunctive relief, any combination of those, or any other appropriate relief, including attorney fees and costs. Additionally, victims may be awarded up to three times actual damages or ten thousand dollars ($10,000), whichever is greater and punitive damages.

Haeggquist & Eck, LLP provides legal representation to human rights victims and victims of human trafficking on a contingency fee basis. To find out how to put our team to work for you, call 619-342-8000 or email us for a free initial consultation.

Learn more about the U.S. Government’s efforts to combat trafficking.

Learn more about the efforts of non-profit organizations to combat trafficking.