By Swarnima Shrestha
Communications & Fundraising – Atlas Corps Fellow
Human trafficking is a multidimensional human rights violation that centers on the act of exploitation and remains a challenging human rights concerns.
While the historical view of trafficking focused specifically on sex trafficking, it is now understood more broadly as a form of labor exploitation. Women, children, and men are trafficked into a variety of exploitative situations, including domestic servitude, agricultural and plantation work, commercial fishing, textiles, factory labor, construction, mining, and forced sex work. The increasing significance of human trafficking is demonstrated by its inclusion in the targets of the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
In continuation of its anti-trafficking efforts, on September 28, 2018, IANGEL organized a workshop in coordination with Justice at Last, a Bay Area-based non-profit law firm dedicated to serving the legal needs of survivors of trafficking. This training focused on California’s vacatur law that vacates survivors’ records. While being trafficked, survivors may accumulate a criminal record despite the crimes occurring under coercion, such as being forced to hold weapons or drugs for their trafficker or being charged by law enforcement for solicitation. California’s vacatur law is one avenue for survivors to gain restitution. IANGEL aims to increase the pool of qualified attorneys willing and able to provide pro bono support to survivors in California and provides legal training paired with survivor-centric and trauma-informed approaches.