Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Human Trafficking Expert Pens "This is Our Story"

Miami native and Florida State University law professor Wendi Adelson isn't in the law game just for the money. At Sweat Records on Dec. 27, she'll present This Is Our Story, her novel about human trafficking that draws on her experience and knowledge as a public interest lawyer.

She writes about two child victims of trafficking -- Rosa and Mila -- exploring their journey as they are caught in a life of domestic servitude and commercial sex exploitation. Together with their immigration lawyer, Lily, the young women fight an unjust system.

Cohosted by Emerge Miami and Sweat Records, This Is Our Story is meant to encourage awareness of human trafficking and the circumstances suffered by its victims. Adelson says she also hopes to prove that public interest law is a viable career choice for "people who want to do good in the world."

Public interest lawyers devote their careers to "helping a child with asthma petition her landlord to remove mold from her building; assisting an abused immigrant woman with self-petitioning for her immigration status; advocating for a disabled adult to receive certain benefits from social security, etc," Adelson says. But involving more lawyers in the field of public interest law is just one part of the solution. At the end of the day, Adelson says, educating people about human trafficking is the best step to take toward ending these crimes.

This isn't the first time Adelson, a Miami native and graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, has written about this issue. She also blogged about her experiences representing victims of human trafficking at the prominent blog Ms. JD, and regularly speaks to her students about these issues in her well-regarded seminars.

"Instead of internalizing my clients' traumas, too paralyzed by their pain to move forward, I have felt empowered by my ability to be part of their solution," Adelson writes. She wants to encourage others to empower themselves, too, and together end the human trafficking crisis. Awareness is the first step toward activism.

Adelson will be reading from her novel, signing books, answering questions, and screening a short film she uses in her seminar on human trafficking. The event is on Tuesday, December 27 at 8pm at Sweat Records; it is free and open to the public. Books will be sold at $15.

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