Building Awareness of Human Trafficking Beyond the Stereotypes

silhouette of man standingOn a recent trip through one of America’s busiest airports, I noticed a series of arresting posters. They were hard not to notice. Among the standard signage directing passengers to gates and terminals hung imposing scenes of women in various positions of restraint with copy that urged travelers to be vigilant about survivors of human trafficking. A young, white woman behind bars, an unseen person physically covering the mouth of another woman, a set of bound hands. The images certainly capture attention, but they tell an incomplete story and promote dangerous stereotypes about human trafficking (some of which I mentioned in a previous blog).

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A Vital Takeaway from 2019: Collaboration May Be Our Strongest Tool

People walking on a calendar

As 2019 comes to a close, we reflect on the year’s accomplishments. 2019 is my first year working at the Justice Programs Office and on the Right to Counsel National Campaign (R2C), and I’ve been surprised by the level of collaboration I see between criminal justice stakeholders on the issue of the right to counsel. Perhaps I had low expectations—when your justice system model is called “adversarial,” common goals don’t sound easy to come by—but as I learned more about the repercussions of poor public defense, I began to understand the imperative for collaboration. An effective public defense delivery system helps other parts of the criminal justice system function properly, and many of those who work in this system every day understand that. In terms of meaningful, systemic change, I’m aware that an interest in working together is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a key start. I’d like to touch on a couple of highlights from 2019 that can inspire us as we move forward.

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