EVERY TRAFFICKING VICTIM IN THE UNITED STATES
SHOULD HAVE ACCESS TO JUSTICE.
“I feel like the powerful people are on my side now.”
—Trafficking Survivor, referred by HT Pro Bono
The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center (HT Pro Bono) trains talented pro bono attorneys to represent trafficking victims in the United States. It makes referrals on a case-by-case basis, providing mentoring and extensive technical assistance for complex civil, immigration, and criminal cases. HT Pro Bono attorneys monitor the developing case law, focusing on impact litigation in the federal courts. HT Pro Bono also conducts research and maintains a comprehensive database on federal civil trafficking cases. It works in concert with other groups to promote policy reform that will end the scourge of trafficking.
In the thirteen years since Congress created a civil remedy, trafficking victims have filed just 231 cases. Pro bono attorneys work with trafficking survivors to hold traffickers accountable, gain restitution, and reclaim their lives.
New Report Released
Ending impunity, securing justice: Using strategic litigation to combat modern-day slavery and human trafficking
Across the globe, stories of human trafficking and modern-day slavery dominate headlines and provoke community outrage.
But how can outrage be turned into action? How can we break the scandalous trade in human lives? How can we put an end to modern-day slavery?
In recent years, strategic litigation has been used to hold both states and private actors accountable for these gross violations of human rights. It is one of the most promising mechanisms—if not the most promising method—to secure justice for victims, punish perpetrators and drive lasting reform.
In May 2015, the Freedom Fund and the Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center brought together leading human rights lawyers, advocates, and litigators from around the world to consider how to use strategic litigation to combat trafficking and modern-day slavery.
This conference report shares key issues discussed at the meeting, including lessons learned from successful litigation. It also highlights a number of persistent gaps that must be bridged in order to identify, prepare, and successfully prosecute cases that can lead to systemic change.
Strategic litigation is not just the domain of human rights lawyers and civil litigators. It is founded on close partnerships with all those committed to ending human trafficking and modern-day slavery: investigative journalists, human rights researchers, academics, and grassroots non-governmental organizations, to name just a few.
Victims in need of assistance should contact:
The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline at 1-888-373-7888.
NEWS & HIGHLIGHTS
- U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking has released its annual report on human trafficking, with survivor advocates’ recommendations for law and policy (October 2016).
- HT Pro Bono partner, the Freedom Fund, publishes report on how donors can invest in strategic litigation: “Fighting Impunity, Funding Justice” (10/5/2016).
- International Bar Association President, David W. Rivkin, thanks HT Pro Bono for their leadership in publishing the IBA report “Human Trafficking and Public Corruption” (September 2016).
- Human Trafficking Victim and Dechert Pro Bono Client Awarded Nearly $1 Million (9/27/2016).
- Michigan Federal Court orders half-million dollar judgment against psychiatrist for allegedly “knowingly financially benefiting” from human trafficking (9/23/2016).
- For Client Held as Unpaid, Live-In, Round-The-Clock Source of Domestic Labor, Ropes & Gray Reaches a Confidential Settlement (9/23/2016).
- HT Pro Bono reports on Diplomatic Immunity and the Abuse of Domestic Workers: Criminal and Civil Remedies in the United States (August 2016).
- Read the new article published by HT Pro Bono: “Breaking the Law: The Failure to Award Mandatory Criminal Restitution to Victims in Sex Trafficking Cases“ (2016).
- HT Pro Bono Releases Fact Sheet on Trafficking of Persons with Disabilities (4/12/16).
- Susan Petersen Kennedy appointed to HT Pro Bono Board of Directors (January 2016).
- Modern-day slaves are suing the traffickers Martina E. Vandenberg and Nick Grono. Special to CNN (1/8/2016).
- Ending impunity, securing justice: Using strategic litigation to combat modern-day slavery and human trafficking—report by HT Pro Bono and the Freedom Fund (2015).
- New HT Pro Bono Report: “When ‘Mandatory’ Does Not Mean Mandatory: Failure to Obtain Criminal Restitution in Federal Prosecution of Human Trafficking” (2014).
- HT Pro Bono Partners with Innovative Law Firm in Charlotte, NC Offering Pro Bono Services to Trafficking Survivors.
- HT Pro Bono honored by Maryland Women’s Law Center.
- HT Pro Bono Leads Coalition Combating Trafficking by Diplomats in the U.S.: See our op-ed in the The Washington Post, on abuse by diplomats (1/1/14).
- HT Pro Bono receives 501(c)(3) certification as nonprofit organization.
- Creating a Bench of Pro Bono Attorneys: HT Pro Bono has trained more than 2,000 highly skilled attorneys throughout the U.S. using a rights-based approach that empowers trafficking survivors.