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Human Trafficking Clinic Partners with Mexican Law School

The Law School's Human Trafficking Clinic has received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to open a similar clinic in Zacatecas, Mexico, this year.

"By awarding us the grant, the State Department acknowledged that the success of our clinic could be replicated elsewhere," said clinic director Bridgette Carr, '02. "We're excited about this new venture and look forward to helping victims in Mexico."

Several U-M law students are traveling to Mexico to assist in the project.

"Not only do the students gain valuable advocacy skills, they have been and will continue to be instrumental in protecting victims' rights, in shaping the policy conversation, and in drafting the language used in amendments to trafficking laws," Carr said.

Effective advocacy involves raising awareness about human trafficking among Mexico's citizens, law enforcement officials and other leaders, as well as victims. Carr and law students are working with the nongovernmental organization Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM, the Center for Migrant Rights), the NEXUS Institute (www.nexusinstitute. net), and the law school at Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Unidad Académica de Derecho.

CDM is the first transnational workers' rights law center based in Mexico to focus on U.S. workplace rights. "This clinical partnership is an exciting, innovative, and true collaboration between CDM and law school clinics on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border," said CDM founder and executive director Rachel Micah-Jones. "Students will provide quality legal representation to vulnerable migrant communities whose legal needs often cross borders. In doing so, students will develop the skills to be transnational advocates in this new economy."

Carr said Mexico was chosen for the pilot clinic because of a previous relationship with CDM. This is Carr's second international effort to open a clinic. Last year, she traveled to Alexandria University to assist with the opening of Egypt's first law school legal clinic, which focuses on human trafficking and domestic violence. She met with the university's law students, professors, and administrators to train them in teaching methods used by U.S. clinical programs.—Jared Wadley

More information about the Human Trafficking Clinic...

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