Services & Eligibility
The Institute offers direct services to low income persons in many different areas, including: administrative, family, general civil, housing, and immigration law. Immigration has been a major concern to people in this geographic area for many years; therefore, from its founding, and drawing on the Director's expertise in this field, the Institute has focused on immigration-related matters.
It also continues to develop and maintain professional relationships with other service providers in the community, especially other legal services providers representing various groups. Current Institute programs include:
CHIP (Cuban-Haitian Immigration Program)
Provides legal services to Cuban or Haitian entrants, parolees, or asylum applicants who reside in Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, or Palm Beach County, Florida, and who have been in the U.S.A. less than 60 months since their date of arrival. Funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement, and administered by the Florida Department of Children and Families since 1998.
KIP (Knowledge is Power Program) - Inactive*
Provides free direct legal services and educational workshops to established low-to-moderate income residents in areas adjacent to the University (Miami-Dade County Commission District 1); funded by the Miami-Dade County government. *Note: "KIP" is inactive this year.
MIP (Media Interchange Program)
Seeks to contribute to self-empowerment in the areas of media and communications for all Peoples, especially those from the indigenous, minority, and two-thirds worlds, through information referral, capacity building, partnerships, and other methods.
NIP (Neighborhood Integration Program)
Attempts to address the needs of foreign nationals not covered by the CHIP program. Funded by the Miami-Dade County government.
PIP (Pesticide Information Program)
SLIP (Slavery/Human Trafficking Information Program)
Human Trafficking - Background
In the year 2000, the U.S. Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which reads, in part: "(1) As the 21st century begins, the degrading institution of slavery continues throughout the world. Trafficking in persons is a modern form of slavery, and it is the largest manifestation of slavery today. At least 700,000 persons annually, primarily women and children, are trafficked within or across international borders. Approximately 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States each year. (2) Many of these persons are trafficked into the international sex trade, often by force, fraud, or coercion. The sex industry has rapidly expanded over the past several decades. It involves sexual exploitation of persons, predominantly women and girls, involving activities related to prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and other commercial sexual services. The low status of women in many parts of the world has contributed to a burgeoning of the trafficking industry. (3) Trafficking in persons is not limited to the sex industry. This growing transnational crime also includes forced labor and involves significant violations of labor, public health, and human rights standards worldwide." (22 U.S.C. 7101).
The St. Thomas University School of Law - through its Graduate Program in Intercultural Human Rights and its Human Rights Institute - is committed to educating both its students and the public about this worldwide problem, and about initiatives addressing solutions. Below is a working list of several kinds of resources on combating human trafficking, currently available in the community.
Florida Freedom Partnership (FFP)
FFP provides a rapid-response, comprehensive support system for trafficked persons, while building the capacity of the South Florida community to better understand and respond to the needs of trafficked persons. FFP has launched a public education campaign to deliver critical, accurate, and balanced information to six counties in South Florida – Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Collier, and Monroe – while raising awareness of human trafficking at the national, state, and local levels. FFP leads training seminars on human trafficking for law enforcement personnel, social service agencies, and community based-organizations. To help combat human trafficking, FFP offers case management, safe and appropriate housing, legal services, medical care, and clinical interventions to trafficked persons in South Florida. Victims may contact FFP's information line directly or be referred by law enforcement, DOJ, service providers, or good Samaritans.
Conferences, Meetings, Trainings, and Activities
Additionally, Human Trafficking Working Groups meet regularly in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and other counties throughout the state. For more information on activities near you, call the Florida Freedom Partnership at telephone 1-866-443-0106.
LL.M. Degree in Intercultural Human Rights
This one-year program is designed to offer in-depth instruction on the critical issue of our time: the protection of human dignity across political, social, economic, and cultural lines.
Pro Bono Services
Provides placement for students from the STU School of Law in the programs funded by Miami-Dade County and the State of Florida Refugee Services. Helps students fulfill their mandatory pro bono service requirement.
HELP (Hispanic Enhancement of Lives Program) - Inactive*
Provides pro bono legal services in cooperation with HALS (the Hispanic American Law Society) of the STU School of Law, through supervised research and client interviews. If you are interested in completing pro bono hours with this Program, please contact either the HELP Coordinator at the Institute, or Career Services at the STU School of Law. *Note: "HELP" is inactive this year.
To be eligible for any service program:
- Individuals must reside in Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, or Palm Beach County, Florida; and
- Must have low income.
To be eligible for the CHIP Program:
- Individuals must reside in Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, or Palm Beach County, Florida;
- Must be Cuban or Haitian, and must have been in the U.S.A. less than 60 months after their date of arrival; and
- The total amount of income calculated for the family of each client must not exceed 185% of the federal poverty level.
To be eligible for the NIP Program:
- Individuals must reside in Miami-Dade County, Florida.