Visiting Professor of Law
Melynda H. Barnhart is a Visiting Professor of Law at NYLS. Her areas of scholarship and teaching include legal skills, human trafficking, immigration and nationality law, criminal law, and administrative law. Prior to joining NYLS in 2010, she was an Abraham Freedman Fellow at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University, where she taught first-year Legal Research and Writing, as well as Crimes and Immigration. She also taught first-year Lawyering Process at the University of Connecticut School of Law in 2017.
Professor Barnhart has worked as an advocate for many years; she pressed for greater human rights protections for human trafficking victims before the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, and other local, national, and international forums. Before she joined academia, she served as the Director of Anti-Trafficking Initiatives for the International Rescue Committee, where she oversaw a national service program that assisted more than 200 trafficking survivors in rebuilding their lives. From 2003 to 2005, she developed and ran one of the first statewide comprehensive service programs for trafficked persons in the United States, and trained thousands of attorneys, law enforcement personnel, governmental staff, and social workers on how to handle trafficking cases.
Professor Barnhart’s scholarship focuses on ground-level responses to human trafficking in the United States. Her 2015 New York Law School Law Review article, “The Next Fifteen Years,” summarizes practical suggestions from leading anti-trafficking advocates on how to further protect and enforce the human rights of trafficked people. Her 2009 article, “Sex and Slavery: An Analysis of State Human Trafficking Laws,” in the William & Mary Journal of Women and the Law, addressed the growth of state legislative involvement in combating trafficking.