WLAM holds panel on human trafficking

By Steve Thorpe
Legal News

The Women’s Lawyer Association of Michigan Wayne Region held its annual luncheon recently at the Doubletree Suites — Fort Shelby in Detroit and presented a panel discussion on “Combating Human Trafficking In Our Own Backyard.”

The panel included U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, Elizabeth Campbell of the University of Michigan Law School’s Human Trafficking Clinic, the first of its kind in the country, and Nakisha Chaney, an attorney at the Nacht Law employment firm in Ann Arbor, who focuses on labor trafficking.

Each panelist spoke for about 15 minutes and then the floor was thrown open to questions. Approximately 80 people attended.

Campbell introduced the topic, McQuade talked about it from a law enforcement perspective and Chaney gave a private practitioner’s perspective on representing clients.

Ellen Hoeppner of Littler Mendelson in Detroit was chair of the event and said that it was inspired by the group’s theme for the year.

“We wanted a topic that was relevant, interesting and educational to our members, and also served our theme for this year, ‘Do One Thing,’ “ she said. “We saw it as a culmination of that theme as both a community topic and a legal topic.”

The theme was the brainchild of Region President Nichole Hunter of the Allen Law Group PC in Detroit who urged members to do at least one thing to make a difference for another person or the community without any expected return.

Hoeppner said that WLAM was very satisfied with the results of the gathering and that they believed it had an impact on educating the legal community and the community at large about an important topic.

“We got great feedback from people at the event,” she said. “It was an interesting mix of attendees. About 65 percent were our core members, but we also had a lot of non-profit and community people in the audience who were just interested in the topic and came to learn more. It created a great dynamic of learning and story telling and really made for a successful event.“