Crime & Legal
Immigrants, Newcomers, Refuges
ALIGHT believes that survivors of human trafficking deserve meaningful justice. That is why we use technology to do good by connecting each survivor - whether a homeless youth, a single mom, or an agricultural worker - to an army of lawyers. ALIGHT's Legal Needs Matching Pilot allows service providers to quickly and efficiently connect survivors with relevant and available free legal assistance through a mobile app.
Human trafficking survivors who escape their trafficking situations often suffer from trauma and have many interlocking needs, many of which are legal needs. For example, a survivor may need to divorce her trafficker (who is also her husband), negotiate with debt collection agencies, and expunge her criminal record of crimes she was forced to commit while trafficked.
Using the same needs-matching principle as the ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft, ALIGHT fills in the gaps in partnership that currently exist between advocates serving vulnerable populations and pro bono help from law firms and private practice that currently have no direct way to contribute to anti-trafficking efforts. This innovation means precious time is not wasted on coordination, each trafficking survivor has access to specialized legal assistance, and attorneys who want to join the anti-trafficking movement and assist survivors have an effective way to do so.
Based on our experience and data gathered to date, we have gleaned valuable and unique insights on survivors' unmet legal needs and obstacles to accessing legal help. ALIGHT currently seeks to grow our geographic reach and overall capacity to aid more survivors of human trafficking.
Thus far, ALIGHT has recruited and reviewed Pilot candidates, conducted a need assessment of the initial set of legal issues addressed in the Pilot, and developed supporting materials for service providers and lawyers. In February 2017, the field use of the Pilot began in a limited scope in Metro Denver. Our program's legal intervention services have been approved by the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT) and are part of the state hotline resource directory.
For the first phase of the Pilot, 4 service providers - including organizations that assist crime victims, homeless youth, and trafficking victims specifically - are participating in the Pilot. An additional 3 organizations can access the legal resources by screening and submitting their legal needs through an ALIGHT Community Partner that is participating in the Pilot. 15 attorneys with expertise in civil law, criminal law, or family law have applied to participate and ten are currently participating.
Over 10 human trafficking survivors have connected to qualified pro bono attorneys through the app, and many of the survivors were connected with attorney for their requested legal assistance - within one hour.
Crime & Legal
Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgender
Since inception, ALIGHT has focused on bringing new resources and advocates into the anti-trafficking movement. To this end, ALIGHT conducts trainings aimed at increasing awareness within the general public of human trafficking here in Colorado, giving guidance on identifying and reporting a potential trafficking situation, and helping service providers spot potential legal needs and remedies for trafficking survivors. In addition, ALIGHT has created supplementary materials specifically geared to attorneys who want to assist trafficking survivors, and for service providers who may be interacting with human trafficking survivors but are not yet screening, identifying, and connecting them with trafficking-specific resource.
Over the past two years, ALIGHT has conducted trainings that have reached several hundreds of participants, including most recently over 95 members of the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA). Participants have included members of the general public, law students, service providers, and anti-trafficking advocates.
After participating in a training, one service provider shared that she learned, "There are legal resources available to help folks who are feeling alone and the things they are dealing with might actually be legal needs."
Civil Rights, Social Action & Advocacy
Through engagement with anti-trafficking advocates in Colorado, across the US and around the world, ALIGHT is identifying the opportunities and challenges of using technology to connect human trafficking survivors with legal assistance. It is so easy for traffickers to use their mobile phones and other technologies to groom, recruit, and control their victims. To combat these injustices, ALIGHT is collaborating with other experts in this area, including survivor leaders to bring tech solutions to benefit the human trafficking survivors, and to develop and share best practices.
ALIGHT has been invited as a thought leader to share its experiences and collaborate with anti-trafficking advocates to discuss emerging issues on a local, national and international level.
Recent examples include:
- presenting at the Princeton Center for Information Technology and Policy on ethical IT design addressing at-risk groups,
- presenting at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women on solutions to end human trafficking, and
- hosting meetings with over 46 anti-trafficking leaders and foreign delegates from 41 countries through the U.S. State Department International Visitors Leadership Program.