Project Always logo - fights human trafficking and youth homelessnessA unique opportunity presents itself to attorneys this Friday and Saturday—the free chance to learn about human trafficking and perhaps to get some credit doing it.

The April 25-26 event will be staged by Project Always, a nonprofit law firm. Here is how they describe themselves:

“Project ALWAYS is a nonprofit law firm committed to providing free legal services and system reform advocacy to empower homeless children and youth and survivors of sex trafficking. Working through referrals from our social service partners, we help clients lift the legal barriers that stand in the way of opportunity, security, and self-sufficiency.”

At the site, you can read more about the Arizona firm, including its founding by attorney January Contreras and its leadership by former Judge Barbara Mundell. The Project also receives support from the Hickey Family Foundation and the Project’s fiscal sponsor, the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services and Education.

Barbara Mundell, founding board chair of Project Always

Barbara Mundell, founding board chair of Project Always

The training is titled Human Trafficking 101, and it covers immigration, criminal and civil remedies available to survivors of trafficking.

As the organizers say, the training includes “an in-depth overview of the legal issues facing victims of human trafficking, including criminal victim witness advocacy issues, immigration benefits, and civil remedies. Participants don’t have any registration fees, but must agree to take on one trafficking pro bono caseRegister online here under “News and Events,” or contact January Contreras at january@projectalways.org.

When:

Friday, April 25 & Saturday, April 26th 8:30 am – 5:00 pm

Where:

CopperPoint Tower

3030 N. 3rd St.

8th Floor Auditorium

Phoenix, AZ 85012

Register:

Online, by end of business Monday, April 21

Last Wednesday, September 22, an event was held that invited service providers who aided undocumented victims of domestic violence. Hosted by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Services & Education, it was slated for the State Bar of Arizona boardroom.

The meeting notice read:

“An interactive community forum discussion about the challenges undocumented victims in Arizona face when seeking safety and justice.”

January Contreras, Department of Homeland Security

What the flyer did not reveal was the identities of the invited guests. Two high-level officials from Washington, DC, came to listen to the providers.

They were:

  • January Contreras, the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman for the Department of Homeland Security
  • Virginia Davis, the Deputy Director for Policy at the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice

As Contreras said, the officials were there to listen to the assembled group of providers, to hear what they believed was the role of the federal government in regard to undocumented immigrants who are domestic violence victims.

Virginia Davis, Department of Justice

It is unlikely that a more delicate question could be posed by members of the current White House administration. But throughout a morning of polite conversation, barely a mention of controversial state immigration policy arose (SB1070, anyone?). Nor did any provider prod the visitors about the recent decision of the administration to decide against providing a significant grant request to Arizona, funding that would have benefited probably every provider in the room.

In the December Arizona Attorney Magazine, we will provide more detail on what was said—and what was heard—in the State Bar boardroom that day.

For more photos of the events, go to the magazine’s Facebook page.