Bridging The Legal Gap Between Survivors & Services
Human trafficking is the intentional exploitation of another human being for profit by forcing or coercing them to engage in sexual conduct or forced labor. Sadly, it happens every day in the United States. Human trafficking is often a “hidden crime” because survivors fear coming forward. Traffickers often use harsh physical and psychological tactics that not only cause short-term pain and trauma but can have a lasting impact, including PTSD, Stockholm Syndrome, anxiety, depression, substance abuse issues, and more. Often survivors are forced to break the law and then are punished as criminals making it harder for them to find employment, housing, and access to education. At Human Trafficking Justice and Freedom International, we believe survivors should not be criminalized due to the crimes they committed while being victimized. If survivors are not at fault for crimes they were forced to achieve, they should never have been arrested and charged; having their record vacated or expunged would right the wrongs and allow them the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
Make Justice Happen
Human Trafficking survivors are in desperate need of legal services, such as expungement/vacatur, family law (to include temporary and permanent restraining orders), and child custody services, to name just a few. It is a fact that most trafficking survivors lack the financial resources to access essential legal services. The result is that justice is permanently elusive and outside of their grasp. The Human Trafficking Justice and Freedom International (HTJFI) seeks to provide access to justice for these survivors.
We ask lawyers to partner with HTJFI as volunteers who will provide legal services to survivors for low bono or pro bono rates. We are also asking leaders from the bar association to give us an opportunity to speak at your bar association event to share our organization’s vision with your members and invite them to participate.
Informed by attorneys and survivors, the mission behind our training program is a critical component of our legal advocacy work. All attorneys and volunteers must attend our comprehensive legal training. We offer introductory and advanced training to arm volunteers with the tools necessary to address complex issues. We also provide outreach training to law enforcement, faith-based organizations, and community groups as a solution to educating others on how to identify survivors, the issues they face, and how to become a part of the solution to eradicating human trafficking. For more information on our training, please sign up for our monthly newsletter and check our schedule periodical for dates and locations.
I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free
human being with an independent will.
Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre