For the past decade, Jan. 11 has been recognized as National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, an event shining light on the millions of people who are trafficked in modern-day slavery worldwide—and the imperative of bringing human traffickers to justice. At Case Western Reserve University School of Law, the Human Trafficking Law Project addresses these issues year-round.
Launched in 2016 with support from the Victims of Crime Act grant program offered through the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the Human Trafficking Law Project operates within the Milton A. Kramer Law Clinic to provide free representation to juveniles and adults who are victims of human trafficking.
Under the direction of Maya Simek, clinical law professor, and post-graduate law student Marie Magner, law and social work students help clients with a wide range of issues, including representation in criminal cases, expunging criminal convictions, witness advocacy, immigration status, employment and housing. Nearly 70 students have assisted with 592 cases to date, benefitting from interdisciplinary learning opportunities throughout their efforts.
The project supports community awareness and works with community partners to improve services and legislative options for victims of trafficking. Additionally, members work with individuals especially vulnerable for trafficking, such as members of the LTBTQ+ community and individuals with substance use disorders. Their civil legal representation and trauma-informed social services referrals are provided free of charge.