Last year, the University of Michigan Law School opened the country’s first legal clinic dealing exclusively in human trafficking. The clinic is run by professor Bridgette Carr—who, earlier this year, helped open a similar legal clinic at Alexandria University in Egypt, focusing on human trafficking and domestic violence.
Last week, it was announced that the University of Michigan Law School received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. State Department to create a human trafficking legal clinic at a law school in Mexico, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Unidad Académica de Derecho. The clinic will work in collaboration with Centro de los Derechos del Migrante (CDM), the first Mexico-based legal advocacy NGO to focus solely on the rights of migrant workers in the U.S.
Carr told the National Law Journal yesterday that this cross border partnership can help comprehensively combat slavery, because the push factors that result in migrant workers becoming vulnerable to trafficking will be addressed. Currently, she said, the Michigan clinic is limited in its ability to prevent the crime, “because we’re sitting here in Ann Arbor.”
One law student who works at the clinic said, “Like many people I was under the misconception that [human trafficking] was an international problem. More of a foreign problem. And the clinic has dispelled my notions. It’s a domestic problem as well.”
Cases that the University of Michigan’s Human Trafficking Clinic has worked on include the sex trafficking of college students from Europe who thought they were coming to the U.S. in a study abroad program—but were forced to work in a strip club in Detroit, servicing clients for no pay, beaten, and in one case, systematically raped.
Find out more about the University of Michigan’s Human Trafficking Clinic—and watch a video about their work—here.