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Shea  Rhodes, JD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Shea Rhodes, JD

Director, Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation | Charles Widger School of Law | Villanova University


Shea Rhodes' expertise involves supporting survivors of human trafficking by fighting for prosecution of the purchaser of sex.






Kelley Hodge sworn in as interim DA (July 2017) John Ricciutti Presents: Shea Rhodes, Esquire



Areas of Expertise (4)

Human Trafficking


Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Criminal Law


Shea M. Rhodes, Esq., Director and Co-Founder of the CSE Institute, has been working with survivors of sexual violence,commercial sexual exploitation, prostitution and human trafficking for over twenty years. Ms. Rhodes is a member of several anti-trafficking initiatives, locally and internationally. She served as an Assistant District Attorney for the City of Philadelphia from 2003-2012, during which she co-created a nationally recognized prostitution criminal diversion program, the Project Dawn Court.

Education (2)

Villanova Law School: JD

University of Kansas: BA

Select Accomplishments (6)

2017 Freedom Fighter Award

The Valley Against Sex Trafficking

2015 Volunteer Award

Philadelphia Coalition for Victim Advocacy

2014 Pro Bono Publico Award

First Judicial District

2013 Unsung Heroine Award

Women's Way

2008 Crime Prevention Award

Center City District of Philadelphia

2003 Distinguished Advocate Award Recipient

Support Center for Child Advocates

Affiliations (5)

  • World Without Exploitation - Steering Committee Member
  • Shared Hope International JuST Council - Member
  • Dawn's Place - Board of Directors
  • Project Dawn Court - Oversight Committee Member
  • C.H.E.E.R.S. Program - Human Trafficking Youth Workshop Instructor

Select Media Appearances (6)

There’s No Evidence Sex Traffickers Use Tactics in Viral Warnings to Target Victims

Verify  online


The warnings shared on social media have not been linked to actual missing persons or abduction cases, Shea Rhodes, co-founder and director of the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE Institute) at Villanova University’s School of Law, said. “I think that if these sort of warning signs had any credibility to them, we would be hearing from the leaders with the Department of Justice,” Rhodes said. “...You can’t trace [the warnings] back to something based in fact.”

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The Florida spa raids were aimed at men, but women paid a far steeper price

The Boston Globe  


“We were really hopeful that this would send a message to society at large,” said Shea Rhodes, a former prosecutor in Philadelphia who now leads the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation, noting that “sex buyers have consistently gotten away with committing a crime.”

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Judge to rule on bail for Epstein

CTV News - Canada  


Shea Rhodes, Director of the Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSE Institute) at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law addresses the case of Jeffrey Epstein, who is awaiting trial for sex trafficking charges.

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Robert Kraft's plea deal offer for prostitution charges hinders real progress on sex trafficking

USA Today  online


As a society, we must face the reality that buying sex is far from a “victimless crime,” and that validating arguments to the contrary has dangerous ramifications. Op-ed co-written by Shea M. Rhodes, director and co-founder of the Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation.

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Advocate For Sex Trade Victims Reacts To New Bail Policy

KYW Newsradio  


Philadelphia's top prosecutor will no longer seek jail time before conviction for those charged with what he says are low-level offenses, including prostitution. But advocates for victims who are sex-trafficked say those offenses should be looked at, carefully … “It is a violent and vicious industry,” said Shea Rhodes, Director of Villanova’s Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation.

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Bill to fight online sex-trafficking seen poised to advance in U.S. Senate



Legislation in the U.S. Senate to crack down on websites accused of promoting sex trafficking won praise on Monday from experts and activists who said the measure was poised to move forward … Their deal will allow lawsuits against Backpage.com and others to proceed, said Shea Rhodes, director of Pennsylvania’s Villanova Law Institute to Address Commercial Sexual Exploitation.

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