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“Human rights that exist only in theory are nothing more than mirages in a desolate desert.”  
– The Legal Deserts Report

What use are your rights if you can’t claim them? The first report to gather data on survivor access to legal services in the U.S. shows the system is failing victims and survivors of human trafficking. The Legal Deserts Report was created as a collaboration of the survivor-led The Avery Center and the ALIGHT-founded The National Survivor Law Collective.

For years, ALIGHT has seen that the lack of legal services is a major problem in the anti-trafficking field. That is also the reason that we expanded our services to be as inclusive as possible in terms of who we serve, the types of legal issues that attorneys in our network can resolve and the jurisdictions that we cover. Read highlights from The Legal Deserts Report.

ALIGHT’s leadership in the field addresses this problem of legal deserts with an innovative solution that uses tech (think Lyft) to connect survivors with vetted lawyers. Read more about Freedom Collaborative’s endorsement of our unique work.

Finally, we welcome five new Flames to ALIGHT’s Circle of Light! Thank you for strengthening our community with your light and dedication. We invite others to join us.

In Full Light,

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.


“From our position as the primary platform that enables anti-trafficking service providers and activists working across the world to come together for information sharing and learning, we are exposed to a wide array of anti-trafficking initiatives around the world. ALIGHT’s model of tech-facilitated legal services for human trafficking survivors is unique in the world.”
– Julia Macher, Director, Freedom Collaborative


Legal Deserts Report

Legal Deserts Report – Accessing Legal Services for the Survivors of Sex Trafficking highlights the lack of access to legal services and justice for sex trafficking victims across the U.S. Published by The Avery Center and the National Survivor Law Collective, with contributions from ALIGHT, this is the first study of survivor’s real-world access to legal services. 

The term “legal desert” refers to the experience of survivors seeking legal justice – they feel as if they are walking through a desert devoid of resources, while consistently being deceived by what may look like help. 

Some notable excerpts:

* “The study was conducted with an intentionally broad reach. The Avery Center gathered a list of 550 organizations from across the United States that self-advertise as providing legal services to survivors of sex trafficking…we heard back from 110 (20%). Although this is a great response rate for a blind survey, it is a dismal response rate for a survivor reaching out for support and with consideration to the extent of outreach[, which involved at least three outreach attempts to each organization].”

* “In practice, survivors are often unable to access the legal assistance that would allow them to realize their rights.”

“The experience of The Avery Center and of the National Survivor Law Collective has further shown that many survivors reveal having to wait for months, if not years, to be assigned an attorney even when they do reach an organization.”

ALIGHT is honored to be part of these collaborative efforts that highlight the on-the-ground realities of human trafficking survivors on their long journey to freedom. Read the full report HERE.



* “How can I enhance my traumatized client’s comfort during in-person – and virtual – meetings?”

* “What should I say if my client suddenly becomes angry or defensive?”

* “If my client misses our meetings, how can I set boundaries and expectations around our communication?”

These and other practical questions will be answered in this training for pro bono attorneys and other professionals assisting human trafficking survivors.

Register for this free webinar HERE.



In Elle’s August issue, Megan Lundstrom, ALIGHT Survivor Advisory Council member and co-founder of our partner organization The Avery Center for Research and Services, bravely exposes the realities of human trafficking. And exactly how a suburban mom from Greeley was groomed. 

“There are three types of pimps. Megan Lundstrom will tell you this. First, there’s the boyfriend pimp. He’s the one who romances you with promises of a family, who coaxes you into turning tricks to finance a blissful future. You think you’re in love with him until the physical abuse becomes too much to bear. Then there’s the CEO pimp. He’s flirty at first, but instead of wooing you, he works you to exhaustion with promises of modeling fame. He charges a “choosing fee” to enter his enterprise and a “leaving fee” to exit. He, too, gives you bruises, but this is business, and you’ve got a quota. Finally, there’s the gorilla pimp. You might meet him at a bar and wake up later having been drugged, kidnapped, and raped.

Lundstrom will also tell you she’s experienced two of the three pimps. But that’s just the beginning of her story. The 36-year-old Coloradan gained most of her knowledge about the so-called life after her escape, having traveled an unlikely path from sex work to sociology.”

Read the full article HERE.


Amy Conley has been dedicating her time to help survivors since 2017. In this interview, Amy speaks to her interesting legal career and why she is committed to balancing her time as in-house counsel at DISH and ALIGHT Program Associate. 

​​”Most people who become attorneys start out with a real passion to help people and/or make a difference in their community/world. Along the way, as career paths form and build, that initial passion may get set aside or dimmed and practicing law becomes a grind or ‘just a job.’

I am motivated by the significant impact the connections made through ALIGHT have made in the lives of survivors, the pro bono lawyers, and our community service providers. It has made me proud to be a part of this organization and the work that we do.”

Read the full interview HERE.



Get the gang back together for the 12th Annual Justice Run to stand up against human trafficking.  This family-friendly event has kids’ activities, food and freebies.  See you there!

  • REGISTER HERE to run a 10K, 5K or Kid’s Run.
  • All participants will receive a t-shirt, runner’s packet and post-race meal. 
  • ***Remember to enter “ALIGHT” when you register to ensure 100% of your registration fee supports our mission.