Shea M. Rhodes, Esq.

Director and Co-Founder Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Shea M. Rhodes, Esq. has dedicated her career to combating violence against women, protecting the rights of those who are oppressed or exploited, and championing human rights. She is the statewide legal expert on Pennsylvania laws related to sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. As the Co-Founder and Director of the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE Institute) at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law, Ms. Rhodes works with and on behalf of victims and survivors of commercial sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

The CSE Institute serves as the information clearinghouse for the Pennsylvania Alliance Against Trafficking in Humans (PAATH), a collective of Pennsylvania’s community partners, victim service organizations, and law enforcement working to implement Act 105 (2014), Pennsylvania’s comprehensive human trafficking statute. In connection, Ms. Rhodes provides administration services for PAATH. Ms. Rhodes is also a member of several anti-trafficking initiatives, locally and internationally, including Philadelphia’s Anti-Trafficking Coalition, the Pennsylvania Anti-Human Trafficking Advocacy Work Group (PAHTAWG), Shared Hope International’s JuST Response Council, and sits on the Steering Committee for World Without Exploitation (WorldWE). She also sits on the Board of Directors for Dawn’s Place, a residential treatment program for women who are victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking.

Prior to forming the CSE Institute in 2014, Ms. Rhodes served the Philadelphia community as an Assistant District Attorney for nearly ten years. During that time, she was on the team that founded Project Dawn Court, a criminal justice diversion program for women who have multiple convictions for the crime of prostitution. She continues to sit on the Oversight Committee for Project Dawn Court. She also developed a Law Enforcement Working Group to facilitate collaborative investigations and prosecutions of human trafficking cases between local, state, and federal agencies in the Philadelphia region. Before joining the District Attorney’s Office, Ms. Rhodes served as a staff attorney for the Crime Victim’s Law Project where she provided legal assistance and advocacy to adult and child victims of rape, sexual assault, and stalking.

Ms. Rhodes regularly conducts trainings and presentations throughout the Commonwealth and regionally. Ms. Rhodes’ written materials, including policy papers, legal resources, and newsletters, can be found on the CSE Institute website. She is a graduate of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law and the University of Kansas.