How can technology close the distance between survivors of human trafficking in rural areas and the legal services they need, which are often centered in urban areas hundreds of miles away?
With visions of vast, green fields and picturesque small towns lined with picket fences, it can be easy to forget that rural America is not removed from human trafficking injustices. In fact, rural areas have additional, unique challenges to fighting human trafficking, including a lack of services (such as legal aid, housing assistance or economic support); remoteness that can lead to less intervention from neighbors or strangers; small or dispersed police forces; and economies centered in agriculture, an industry particularly vulnerable to trafficking.
A recent Polaris Project report found that more than 15 percent of the labor exploitation cases reported from 2007 to 2016 occurred in agriculture and animal husbandry industries -- the largest single type reported for that issue.
In one example, a teacher in Peru was recruited to make $1,300 a month as a sheepherder on a Colorado ranch. Once he arrived, his passport was taken and he was forced to work 11 to 14 hours a day, every day, while making just $750 a month and being housed in a small sheep wagon.
ALIGHT is committed to increasing access to meaningful justice for survivors, and we offer tools that eliminate the distance between those in remote areas and lawyers eager to help. Our innovative model uses mobile technology to connect survivors who have critical legal needs to pro bono attorneys offering a wide-range of expertise -- in real time.
Do you, or a community organization you know, need legal help for survivors? ALIGHT is expanding our service by offering a way for more survivors to connect to a lawyer in our Legal Needs Pilot through an ALIGHT community partner.
We also need YOUR support as ALIGHT strives to bring justice to human trafficking survivors in areas urban, rural and everywhere in between. Please consider being a Light for Justice and donate today.
In Full Light,
The ALIGHT Team