SCLS Wins Grant To Battle Human Trafficking
May 03, 2018 11:19AM
By Kathleen Maris
South Carolina Legal Services has won a grant that will allow the nonprofit law firm to hire an attorney who will represent survivors of human trafficking in South Carolina. The Crime Victims Justice Corps Legal Fellow will ensure that victims have access to their rights in the Palmetto State.
As 2017 came to a close, South Carolina law enforcement reported 72 active cases of human trafficking in the state. Most cases involved multiple victims.
“Most people think of slavery as a thing of the past. But it is not,” said Rusty Infinger, general counsel for S.C. Legal Services. “When right-minded prosecutors take down the men who are at the top of criminal enterprises, young girls and women are left physically scared, facing criminal charges themselves, and are often on the hook for fraudulent financial deals. They need a personal lawyer, not just a public defender.”
The fellowship from Equal Justice Works (EJW) is for two years, from June 2018 until May 2020. The EJW Fellow will provide legal services, outreach, and education to address the needs of human trafficking victims. This will include matters involving family law, education, employment, immigration, and consumer protection, as well as enforcing crime victims’ rights. Each year, EWJ funds hundreds of public interest attorneys to close the justice gap on issues such as foreclosure, community economic development, immigration, civil rights, homelessness, access to healthcare, and domestic violence. This program is supported by an award from the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime, and private funding.