Trafficking

Our international practice

We live in a globalised world where modern technology and travel have removed borders and barriers. Much of this movement contributes positively to prosperity and the richness of human experience. But one major cost is that modern-day exploiters have more license to commit sexual violence and manipulate the vulnerable.

Our firm provides legal representation to the survivors of these types of cross border violations of human rights. We have a track record of pursuing justice through civil remedies in England and multiple US states, in cases that stretch through Europe and beyond. Experienced legal staff supported by linguists, mental health professionals, economists, and investigators work hard to listen, to care, and to deliver justice.

Phil Davis on our international case workPhil Davis on our international case work
Phil Davis, Chief of Staff – introduction to our representation of survivors of cross border violations of human rights.
Countering Human Trafficking - Dr. Ann OlivariusCountering Human Trafficking – Dr. Ann Olivarius
Dr. Ann Olivarius, Senior Partner, on taking cases of human trafficking, modern slavery and sexual violence.

Cases from Romania

To protect anonymity, the names of all clients and some identifying details have been changed.

Daniella’s story

Daniella's storyDaniella’s story

Stefan’s story

Stefan's storyStefan’s story

Charles’s story

Charles fled a state-run orphanage in rural Romania at age 10 and, for two years, lived homeless on the country’s train system, begging for food and hiding in the toilets. One day after arriving in the capital city, he met an American church worker on the street who offered him a warm meal from a local McDonalds. The man started talking to Charles about God and salvation, and told him that, if he were to come live with him, he could offer Charles new clothes, a warm home, a hot bath, and regular food. Young and vulnerable, Charles accepted. He was abused by the church worker for the next 10 years. With his case now settled, Charles has the prospect of a far brighter future than he had previously thought possible.

Peter’s story

Peter lived at home with his father in Romania until the age of 8. They were very poor and often didn’t have enough food to eat each day. One day, a Western social worker appeared at their door. He persuaded Peter’s father to release Peter into his “care” under the promise of a brighter future filled with constant food, a warm shelter, and education. The American man was a pedophile, and sexually abused Peter until he reached adulthood. With our help, Peter was able to find the courage to confront and speak about his abuse and to recognize that none of it was his fault. Today with his case settled legally, he is providing a loving home for his own family. He wants them to have the chances he was denied.

Lucas’s story

Lucas' storyLucas’ story

Alexander’s story

Alexander's storyAlexander’s story

John’s story

John, a Romanian orphan, was plucked off the street of Bucharest at age 12 and taken on a trip to the US by an American couple. In America, the boy was used to raise donations for Romanian street children. John had never travelled internationally and was excited to see the US. However, while he was there, the man abused John multiple times.

John suffered psychologically from his experiences as a child. As a direct result of a legal settlement, he was able to afford and obtain long term benefit from therapy.

Elena’s story

Elena's storyElena’s story

Anton’s story

Anton was abused as a child in Bucharest for nearly five years. As an adult, as direct result of the  abuse, he suffers from deep depression, a crippling sense of shame about what happened to him, and severe health issues. Through our work, Anton can now afford life-saving surgery and has been given a new chance at life. He says we saved his life.

Harrison’s story

Harrison was abused between the ages of 10 and 17 by a foreign missionary at his local community center. Confused and trapped, Harrison had no real home to return to, so simply accepted that the abuse was part of his life. Upon reaching adulthood, Harrison had very little education or job training, so turned to sex work. As a result, he became deeply depressed, anxious and struggled with low self-esteem.

Harrison found it very difficult to speak about what happened to him. When he spoke to us, he was reporting his abuse for the first time. He now says the experience enabled him to see a light at the end of what has been a very long dark tunnel.

David’s story

David was abused by an American pedophile at his home in Bucharest. David turned to sex work in his adulthood, and has since struggled greatly from anxiety, low self-esteem, and addiction. The shame David feels is deep seated and never leaves him. Since his case was settled, we have helped David find a mental health professional to help him confront the memories of his past and an economist to help him plan his future.

Case against the University of Illinois

We have a live trafficking lawsuit against the University of Illinois for deliberately overlooking two Chinese women’s allegations of sexual violence and harassment in order to safeguard future revenue from Chinese students.

Gang “Gary” Xu, a former professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (“UIUC”) emotionally and physically abused his students, many of whom were Chinese nationals who depended on him for their funding and visas.

Trafficking at the University of IllinoisTrafficking at the University of Illinois
Lawyers, plaintiffs, University alumni and prospective students discuss the University’s failure to protect its students.

It felt like the university brought us to campus not for an education but for Professor Xu’s personal pleasure and profit

Ely Zhao, plaintiff in trafficking lawsuit against UIUC

Some of our other cases

To protect anonymity, the names of all clients and some identifying details have been changed.

Sheila – a business executive

Our client Sheila is a non-UK citizen living in London who advanced rapidly in a technology-led segment of international business. Sheila presented her new product to a multinational firm headquartered London’s financial district. The HQ staff directed Sheila to travel to their office in another country to conduct a negotiation for its purchase. The senior executive she was directed to negotiate with at that business meeting drugged her at a dinner and raped her. Sheila’s case is at the evidence assembly stage.

Martha Lee – “a devout believer”

We have represented clients abused by clergy from multiple denominations. Abuse by Roman Catholic priests has been reported around the world, but we have seen cases involving many other religious groups, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Haredi Jews, various Protestant churches, and others. In one case “Martha Lee,” a Chinese woman, was raped by her divine leader and the doctrine of her faith demanded her subjection to his will. Our investigation into this case is continuing.

I will always be grateful for your unwavering support of me. Equally, I will always be grateful for showing me how to find my voice and strength.

Title IX case against UCLA, client confidential

It was such a weight off our shoulders; suddenly somebody else with a lot more experience was managing the case.

Sandeep Mander, Mander v. Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead

We really thought that there was nothing that anybody could do for us. We were wrong.

Dr Celeste Kidd, Aslin et al v. University of Rochester et al

To get the result you got you must be as tough with your legal opposites as you are kind and understanding to your clients.

AOA client, confidential

Compared with other law firms I’ve worked with, no one matches the combination that McO has of experience, brilliance, ferocious fighting and deep empathy for their clients.

Dr Holly Atkinson, Atkinson et al v. Mount Sinai Health System, Inc. et al

Because my case could not bear public scrutiny, a very powerful institution used massive financial resources to try to crush me for asking for my disability rights. This was a huge mistake, as they didn’t know that I would obtain McO representation. I couldn’t ask for better representation.

Disability Rights client, confidential

I would like to say from bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you to all the team. Now I can go and forget my former employer. God bless you all.

Unfair Dismissal client, confidential