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 Program 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.
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 seeks to grow our geographic reach and overall capacity to aid more survivors of human trafficking.
ALIGHT started out researching, testing and validating our innovative model and rolled our the Legal Needs Matching technology in February 2017.
In our first year (February 2017 - January 2018), we served 13 survivors on 14 separate legal needs. Many of the survivors who posted legal needs were connected with an attorney on the same day - some within one hour. During this time, 4 service providers working with vulnerable populations and 10 attorneys with expertise in civil law, criminal law or family law participated in the Program.
Halfway through our second year operating the Legal Needs Matching Program, we have connected 16 trafficking survivors with legal assistance on 18 separate legal needs. We are seeing growing needs for the free counsel and representation offered through our program, with many requests to deal with trafficking-related legal needs that have included: child custody and visitation; harassment; criminal defense; and, consumer debt. We have expanded the reach of our program beyond the Metro Denver area, and currently have 3 service providers and 21 attorneys participating in the program.
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 three years, ALIGHT has conducted trainings that have reached several hundreds of participants, including at state and national venues such as the Freedom Network USA Conference, the Colorado Women's Bar Association Conference, and the Colorado Advocacy in Action Conference. Participants have included members of the general public, law students, service providers, and anti-trafficking advocates.
After participating in a training, service providers noted about their new learnings:
- "There are legal resources available to help folks who are feeling alone and the things they are dealing with might actually be legal needs."
- "This presentation helped me to better acknowledge the red flags of human trafficking victims vs domestic violence victims."
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.
- 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.