You may remember this Human Trafficking Symposium that PILP 9 put together a few years ago. Last night, the Delivery of Legal Services Section’s Human Trafficking Subcommittee reconvened attorneys to discuss this important topic. The expert panel, which featured Julie Dahlstrom (Ascentria Care Alliance), Deb Bercovitch (Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General), Alec Zadek (Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.), and moderator Erin Albright (International Institute of New England), walked attendees through two case studies to highlight issues that attorneys may face when representing trafficking victims.
Beyond the Billable reached out to panelist and Human Trafficking Subcommittee Co-Chair Alec Zadek (Mintz, Levin Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo P.C.) to hear more about the training. Here’s what he had to say:
What do you hope attorneys learned from the program?
“I hope that the attorneys who attended the program became more familiar with the state and federal laws that criminalize human trafficking and learned creative ways in which they could help survivors of human trafficking.”
Why should attorneys get involved in pro bono human trafficking efforts?
“Based on my experiences, survivors of human trafficking often have complex legal needs that require substantial time and effort on the part of their attorneys, but do not have the resources to hire an attorney or attorneys who are capable of addressing their legal issues. An additional complication is that survivors often have had unpleasant experiences with the legal system and may feel disenfranchised from it. As a result of these factors, when you provide pro bono legal services to survivors of human trafficking, you have the opportunity to markedly improve that person’s life by helping with an obstacle hindering their success – whether it be representing them in a deportation proceeding, moving to seal a criminal record that is hindering their job opportunities, advising them regarding a criminal proceeding in which they may be called as a witness, or any other issue – and, equally as important, you have the opportunity to show your client that the legal system can be a powerful tool to protect their rights and benefit them.”