How do we get through this “trial by fire”?
Like so many of us, human trafficking victims/survivors are experiencing profound changes in their lives because of the pandemic. From facing rent issues while the federal eviction moratorium expires, to being cut off from their support systems. Unlike many of us, they entered this experience with a profound disadvantage – barriers to employment, unsafe living conditions with abusers, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and more.
ALIGHT has dug deep to figure out how to meet this unusual moment. While our operations in Colorado have continued uninterrupted thanks to our flexible, technology-based model, we have also seen that survivors from all across the country are hurting deeply at this time. This far into 2020, 30% of all matters we handle involve out-of-state needs. Through working with the survivors and our partners, we have encountered “legal services deserts.” There are multiple states with no human trafficking legal services organizations at all.
Our experience with survivors is reinforced by the important study that ALIGHT has put out as part of the National Survivor Law Collective. Read “Survivors Speak” for insights from survivors about their experience with (in)justice.
Looking forward, as ALIGHT has already helped survivors in 22 different states, we are determined to continue to grow our services to meet the growing need. We now have 5 incredible Survivor Leaders to join us in that process through their guidance and insights on the new Survivor Advisory Council. We invite you to join us by supporting our work, whether by becoming a Flame in The Circle of Light or making a one-time donation.
Perhaps we are all here to get through this experience by making the best efforts we can in this moment in time. Together.
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ALIGHT exists to unlock a fresh start for survivors. We ENVISION a world where every human trafficking survivor connects to a mobilized legal network to rebuild and thrive.
NATIONAL SURVIVOR LAW COLLECTIVE
SURVIVORS SPEAK: INSIGHTS INTO HOW COVID-19 IS IMPACTING THE LEGAL NEEDS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING SURVIVORS (EXCERPT)
“From being treated as “subhuman” to being treated “with dignity and respect,” survivors of human trafficking have a starkly uneven, and unfair, experience with legal assistance in the U.S. The crisis of justice for survivors during COVID-19 is not being discussed in a broad, national way. Yet survivors of human trafficking are often more isolated and vulnerable as the pandemic rages on. While difficult to measure and identify, this plight requires a national conversation. With this article, The National Survivor Law Collective (NSL Collective) is starting one. In June and July 2020, 35 different Survivor Leaders and Survivors shared with the NSL Collective their insights in an informal survey at a time of much change and risk …
[W]hether they have seen an increase or decrease in the need for services, 35 respondents, 60% indicated an increase, 0% indicated a decrease and 40% indicated there was no change (or did not disclose) …
One survivor particularly valued being treated with dignity and respect. Such a basic requirement, and yet it appears to be the exception. It is on our society’s shoulders to ensure that survivors’ access to free, quality and trauma-informed legal services is the standard.”
Read full article here.
AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION (ABA) CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS NAMES ALIGHT THEIR HUMAN TRAFFICKING PROJECT
On the heels of the ABA passing Resolution 113 to recognize the unique model ALIGHT established in Colorado, we are honored to collaborate with the ABA Center for Human Rights. Together, we are mobilizing attorneys across the country to lend their skills to helping survivors – from the home or office!
Visit the ABA Center for Human Rights page to learn more and view “A Time for Mobile Justice,” a webinar that ALIGHT co-presented with Hannah Seigel Proff, Founding Partner at Proff Law LLC and member of the ALIGHT legal network, and Eric Barnum, Partner at Baker Hostetler LLP.
ALIGHT WELCOMES NEW SURVIVOR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS
ALIGHT is pleased to welcome these Survivor Leaders as members of the new ALIGHT Survivor Advisory Council. We appreciate the contribution of each one’s valuable perspectives, talents and time to further the cause of justice for trafficking survivors!
- Jasmine Conway, Wisconsin
- Angela Clark, Colorado
- Rachel Niemiec, Massachusetts
- Grace Irene Tang, Arizona
- Megan Lundstrom, Colorado
Get to know these Survivor Leaders better – we will be sharing their stories on social media in the weeks ahead!
Together, we can empower 24 survivors and their children with a legal voice. Become a Flame (a member of the Circle of Light) to make hope grow brighter.
The path to real freedom starts with being assigned a dedicated attorney who fights on their behalf to remove the specific legal obstacles in the survivor’s path. Even one hour with an attorney can transform a life. Whether securing child custody or renegotiating debt, each survivor has their own story.
Watch this 1-minute video about The Circle of Light.