Training offered to fight human trafficking

The State Bar of Michigan, The Joseph Project, Lakeshore Legal Aid, D. Augustus Straker Bar Association, and the Oakland County Bar Association are partnering to offer a human trafficking training on Thursday, Oct. 17, from 8 a.m. to noon. “The Legal First Responders: Equipping Attorneys to Empower Human Trafficking Survivors” training will be hosted by Western Michigan University Cooley Law School at its Auburn Hills campus. There will be a simultaneous broadcast of the training to WMU-Cooley’s campuses in Lansing and Grand Rapids. The event is free of charge with the commitment to accept a human trafficking referral on a pro bono basis within one year of the training.

Human trafficking is a growing problem all over the world. In the U.S., thousands of trafficking cases are reported each year. In Michigan, more than 400 victims of human trafficking were identified in 2017. Human trafficking is a crime perpetrated by those who commercially exploit others for sex and labor services through force, fraud, or coercion. Trafficking survivors often face legal obstacles that arise from the circumstances of their enslavement, yet, they frequently lack the means to secure legal assistance, creating a justice gap. Closing the justice gap requires the creation of a broad network of legal first responders—an army of attorneys who are equipped to service the legal needs of every identifiable trafficking survivor, at no cost. By leveraging the law and addressing the legal consequences of exploitation, pro bono attorneys can help transition survivors toward a better future.

The human trafficking training will help equip the growing network of legal first responders committed to helping trafficking survivors in Michigan. The training will be provided by attorneys and other subject matter experts with extensive experience providing services to human trafficking survivors and in-depth knowledge of many of the legal issues that affect them. Presenters include:

• Jennifer Grieco, president, State Bar of Michigan
• Amy Allen, forensic interviewer, Department of Homeland Security
• Elizabeth Campbell, clinical assistant professor of law in the Human Trafficking Clinic, University of Michigan Law School
• Kelly Carter, senior attorney specialist, Human Trafficking Unit, Michigan Department of Attorney General
• Nate Knapper, founder & CEO, The Joseph Project
• Ashley Lowe, CEO, Lakeshore Legal Aid

The intensive training is designed to provide attorneys with a solid foundation and understanding of the issues and obstacles survivors of trafficking frequently face that arise from the circumstances of their enslavement, including expungement, guardianship, and immigration issues.

This training has been approved by the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission for up to 3.5 hours of credit.

For general questions about the training, contact Robert Mathis at rmathis@michbar.org or 800-968-1442, ext. 6412. To register, visit www.michbar.org/eBlasts/training.