WilmerHale, BU Law Launch Updated Human Trafficking Guide for Attorneys

WilmerHale, BU Law Launch Updated Human Trafficking Guide for Attorneys

News

WilmerHale and the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program today unveiled the second edition of Representing Victims of Human Trafficking in Massachusetts, a comprehensive legal guide that helps attorneys identify trafficking victims and determine how to meet both their legal and non-legal needs.

“While we have made significant progress to combat human trafficking in Massachusetts by prosecuting perpetrators and supporting survivors, we know that these crimes are still happening in communities across our state,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “I am grateful to WilmerHale and the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program for developing and updating this guide to help legal advocates who are working to address the diverse needs of survivors and provide them support across the board.”

Human trafficking is a significant global problem – and Massachusetts is far from immune to sex and labor trafficking. Attorneys representing victims of this crime face considerable challenges navigating the multitude of legal issues their clients face. In 2013, WilmerHale joined forces with the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program and Lutheran Social Services to create the first-ever comprehensive legal guide to provide a general overview of federal and state human trafficking law with a focus on Massachusetts.

“Since the first publication of the legal guide in 2013, new laws, resources, and caselaw have been created that are aimed at protecting victims and combatting all forms of human trafficking,” says WilmerHale Partner Felicia Ellsworth. “Today, we are proud to provide an updated resource, which discusses these updates, so attorneys are able to represent victims and continue to make a difference.”

The updated edition expands its overview of human trafficking law in Massachusetts since its first publication in 2013. The guide includes examples of recent prosecution of perpetrators of trafficking and new tools for prosecution are among the many updates included. It also provides new guidance for working with LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming survivors of trafficking.

“Human trafficking law has evolved in Massachusetts to provide generous protections to survivors. Yet, without trained, experienced attorneys, survivors often still find it challenging to access justice,” remarked Clinical Associate Professor Julie Dahlstrom. “This guide ensures that lawyers are equipped to represent survivors, and it highlights the importance of survivor-led, trauma-informed approaches.”

The updated information is critically important now as there are concerns that vulnerable populations are more susceptible to exploitation during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The updated edition of Representing Victims of Human Trafficking in Massachusetts serves as a crucial guide in identifying and navigating these situations.

WilmerHale and the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program collaborated on the second edition of the legal guide. Additionally, a variety of organizations contributed their expertise, including Ascentria Care Alliance, Committee for Public Counsel Services, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the US Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Department of Youth Services, Massachusetts Department of Children & Families, My Life My Choice, Roxbury Youthworks and Greater Boston Legal Services, among others.

The updated guide was revised and edited by WilmerHale Partner Felicia Ellsworth, Counsel Stephanie Neely and Associates Rachel Bier and James Bor-Zale, former WilmerHale Counsel Elizabeth Mooney, and Student Attorney Betsy Byra and Clinical Associate Professor Julie Dahlstrom from the Boston University School of Law Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program.

The updated edition of Representing Victims of Human Trafficking in Massachusetts is available to the public for free download, and can be viewed at www.representingmatraffickingvictims.org.