"The most moving experience is simply seeing just how optimistic my clients are. Considering the horrific experiences that they have gone through, seeing where they are now and where they plan on being in the future is a reminder of why we do this work in the first place."
—Heidi Joseph, 2L
There are a variety of opportunities for University of Michigan Law students and former students to engage in efforts to combat human trafficking.
While at the Law School, students may sign up for the Human Trafficking Clinic (HTC), volunteer with the Human Trafficking Law Project (HTLP), participate in student-sponsored groups, conduct independent research, or take on externships at human trafficking organizations. Former law students can send an email to HumanTrafficking@umich.edu to find out more about how to get involved with the HTLP.
The HTLP provides a unique opportunity for law students to engage in work on behalf of human trafficking victims. The HTLP supports a web-based human trafficking database being used to advance effective human trafficking laws, help advocates successfully represent human trafficking victims, and assist in the prevention of the trafficking of human beings.
Human Rights Advocates (HRA) is a student-led organization at Michigan Law that promotes awareness of human rights issues through speakers, films, and volunteer work. Volunteers from HRA present legal workshops to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainees in local detention centers, contribute to the HTLP, and assist local refugees and asylees through pro-bono legal work.
Externships, also known as external studies opportunities, offer an exciting opportunity to augment classroom study with real-world work experience. In recent years, students, under the guidance of both a faculty sponsor and an attorney supervisor, have pursued externships and immersed themselves in legal work for an entire semester. There are several organizations that advocate on behalf of victims of human trafficking that are possible externship hosts, such as the Polaris Project, the U.S. Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, and The Legal Aid Society of New York.
Unfortunately, we have very limited volunteer opportunities for individuals who do not possess a law degree, including undergraduates at the University of Michigan. The few volunteer opportunities that do exist arise when we need translation of a less-commonly spoken language and there is no one in the Law School community able to meet that need. If you are fluent in a language other than English and are interested in being a volunteer translator, please complete the Request Form.
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