Wednesday, October 10, 2012

American Bar Association Responds

Victims of Human Trafficking
Published: October 9, 2012

To the Editor:

“To Combat ‘Modern Slavery’ ” (editorial, Oct. 2) rightly stresses the need for government policies that rigorously break the demand for forced labor and help human trafficking victims.

The legal community also has a key role to play, by changing the way it looks at victims, some as young as 10.

The American Bar Association is working to ensure that law enforcement officials are trained to better identify victims so they can help instead of punish.

Two bright spots in this effort are the Illinois Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the New York Legal Aid Society, where legal and social service entities team up in their efforts.

Human traffickers prey on the vulnerabilities of their victims and count on police officers, prosecutors, judges and public defenders’ lack of experience in identifying and confronting modern-day slavery. It is time to turn the tables on the perpetrators and show the victims that they deserve justice, and a second chance.

President, American Bar Association
Chicago, Oct. 3, 2012

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