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Prof. Bridgette Carr named Top Lawyer for her work combating human trafficking

Marie Claire magazine honors Carr and 15 others

By John Masson

Professor Bridgette Carr, a 2002 Michigan Law graduate who founded the Law School's Human Trafficking Clinical Program in 2009, has been named one of 16 Women on Top by Marie Claire magazine.

Carr was named the year's Top Lawyer by the magazine in its second annual presentation of the award. The honor followed months of research by the magazine, which sought out women under 40 who lead in business, finance, fashion, film, science, and more. (Incidentally, two of the other honorees—Top Green Engineer, Angela Harris, and Top Military Commander, Lt. Col. Tracy Onufer—also received degrees from U-M.)

"I'm delighted to see Bridgette honored by a national magazine for her tenacious work on behalf of human trafficking victims who otherwise might never be heard," said Michigan Law Dean Evan Caminker. "But given her track record here, I can't say I'm surprised."

More important to Carr than the award itself is the opportunity to grow understanding of one of the world's most insidious problems: human trafficking. Many of the people who are trafficked become virtual prisoners, terrorized into submission and forced to work long hours in the sex, restaurant, agriculture, beauty, and landscaping industries.

Slavery isn't confined to developing nations. Every year, about 20,000 people are enslaved in the United States, Carr said. Tens of thousands more are at risk.

The Human Trafficking Clinic combats slavery by representing victims in domestic and international cases, by helping educate law enforcement and the rest of the criminal justice community about the problem, and by working with government and nongovernmental organizations to prevent trafficking in the first place. Carr's affiliated Human Trafficking Law Project, the first publicly available database of U.S. human trafficking cases, launched in February 2011.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, which recently launched its own global database on human trafficking case law, now gets all its U.S. data from the database maintained by Carr's students at Michigan Law.

"It's wonderful that Marie Claire is recognizing the issue of human trafficking, which is responsible for so much suffering around the world," Carr said. "But what's also important is the magazine recognizing the importance and innovation of Michigan Law, which saw how difficult the human trafficking problem is and led the way by establishing the clinic in the first place."

Actor Katie Holmes hosted a luncheon for Carr and the 15 other honorees at the Hearst Tower in Manhattan on October 19 as part of the program. The magazine's November issue, which hits newsstands Oct. 25, also features profiles of each honoree.

A podcast featuring Professor Carr discussing human trafficking is available at http://ns.umich.edu/podcast/audio.php?id=791.

 

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