Our Work

Thousands of men, women, and children throughout the United States are trapped in the brutal underworld of human trafficking. But armed with sound legal advice, they can rebuild their lives.

HT Pro Bono employs a rights-based approach, returning decision-making power to survivors. Advised by qualified pro bono counsel, victims can hold their traffickers accountable. No trafficking survivor should have to face criminal and civil cases without an attorney.

Thousands of men, women, and children throughout the United States are trapped in the brutal underworld of human trafficking.

HT Pro Bono serves as a bridge between talented lawyers ready to volunteer their services to assist victims of human trafficking and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) providing social services to trafficking survivors. HT Pro Bono has developed a nationwide network of law firms willing to provide pro bono legal services. HT Pro Bono accepts referral requests from social services agencies supporting trafficking survivors. If your agency would like to make a referral, please contact us by email at mvandenberg@htprobono.org.

Since it inception, HT Pro Bono has trained more than 900 lawyers, creating a “bench” of expert pro bono attorneys throughout the country. As of March 2014, more than 90 cases had been referred to pro bono counsel.

HT Pro Bono provides extensive mentoring and technical assistance to attorneys handling human trafficking cases in the United States. Attorneys accepting pro bono case referrals also receive free access to HT Pro Bono’s comprehensive federal trafficking case law database. The current database includes all federal civil cases filed in the United States under 18 U.S.C. §1595. A second database holding all federal criminal trafficking cases brought in the United States is under construction. HT Pro Bono also undertakes in-depth research on implementation of U.S. anti-trafficking law.

HT Pro Bono has trained more than 900 lawyers throughout the country and referred more than 90 cases to pro bono counsel.

HT Pro Bono has adopted a multi-pronged strategy to combat trafficking in the United States:

The Center joins forces with non-governmental organization partners to combat trafficking through policy reform. HT Pro Bono spearheads a coalition against trafficking by diplomats, seeking to end impunity for those diplomats who exploit victims in the United States.

Strategic Litigation
HT Pro Bono coordinates impact litigation—cases that will affect future rulings. Careful monitoring of legal dockets nationwide permits intervention in cases where critical principles are at issue. In one such instance, HT Pro Bono arranged for a pro bono firm to brief a labor trafficking case on appeal to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. In another case, HT Pro Bono identified counsel to assist Senator Marco Rubio in filing an important amicus brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals.

HT Pro Bono undertakes in-depth research projects —often in partnership with pro bono law firm counsel —on implementation of U.S. law. Most recently, HT Pro Bono partnered with WilmerHale to investigate mandatory restitution orders (September, 2014) for trafficking victims in federal criminal cases.

HT Pro Bono educates judges, lawyers, practitioners, social workers, and service-providers nationwide. Through frequent media appearances, the Center also educates the public on the realities of trafficking into forced labor, forced prostitution, and the commercial sexual exploitation of children. HT Pro Bono attorneys speak frequently at public fora and participate in Human Trafficking Task Forces training programs on request.