The startup nonprofit using a tech-based marketplace model reaches a new milestone in connecting 100 human trafficking survivors to pro bono attorneys to put them and their families back on a path to health and security
DENVER, Oct. 21 2020 -- This week, ALIGHT (Alliance to Lead Impact in Global Human Trafficking), a Colorado-based nonprofit working at the intersection of technology and law, hit a new milestone in providing targeted legal support to 100 human trafficking survivors. ALIGHT has a scalable, tech-based model that facilitates fast legal connections between survivors and vetted attorneys. Through targeted matching of legal needs to specialist attorneys, ALIGHT breaks down legal barriers on a survivors’ journey to self-sufficiency.
Mel, a survivor of sex trafficking who is currently working with ALIGHT to remove obstacles to her healing, points out the challenge: “The relationship-building between a survivor and a type of authority figure is so hard. With so many attorneys, I tried to get answers and was met with cold shoulders.”
She explains that “the fact that literally the next day or two an attorney through ALIGHT reached out, I can respect that, I can trust that. I now have the comfort of knowing I can say ‘I can call my attorney’ when I’m being harassed.”
The legal needs and backgrounds of these 100 survivors offer an insight into the scale and complexity of human trafficking.
Marianna Kosharovsky, ALIGHT’s Founder and Executive Director, explains: “From California to South Carolina, ALIGHT has already helped survivors across 28 states. Even when victims and survivors are able to escape their traffickers, they often can’t escape their past without professional help. They may have been moved around, or ran away to get away from their trafficker, only to have legal issues scattered across multiple states. We have very few free, flexible and comprehensive human trafficking-specific legal services in this country. Survivors end up carrying the weight of their troubles alone. We need to change that.”
Since launching in 2017, ALIGHT has created a survivor-centric and trauma-informed rapid response system that is centered upon the diverse experiences of human trafficking survivors. In helping 100 individual survivors, ALIGHT’s network of specialist attorneys have delivered over $500,000 in free legal services.
ALIGHT Board Chair Bob Connelly noted: “For each of the 100 survivors ALIGHT has helped over the years, we know the benefits reach much further. Each survivor has an average of 1.5 dependents, meaning that ALIGHT has helped approximately 250 lives impacted by trafficking. And this figure doesn’t take into account those family members outside of the survivors’ household – such as children or extended families who rely on the survivor for their day-to-day needs.”
Hannah Seigel Proff of Proff Law, LLC, a Colorado attorney who specializes in juvenile and criminal justice, has remained one of ALIGHT’s most active pro bono attorneys since joining the network in 2017. A passionate advocate for the ways in which pro bono legal help can transform the lives of human trafficking survivors, Ms. Proff has matched with survivors on 18 legal cases through the ALIGHT mobilized legal network, directly impacting countless lives:
“Working with human trafficking survivors is the most rewarding pro bono work I do. Through ALIGHT’s network, I have worked directly with survivors on legal tasks ranging from sealing criminal records, through to making police reports about their traffickers. I have witnessed the direct and positive impact that resolving legal problems can have on trafficking survivors.”
As the world continues to navigate the ongoing economic and social impact of COVID-19, ALIGHT has its sights on the underserved communities that have no dedicated legal services for human trafficking survivors. Focused on building out a national network of attorneys, ALIGHT has co-founded The National Survivor Law Collective and is building relationships with law firms across the country.
Founded in 2014, ALIGHT is a Colorado-based, female-founded 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to unlock a fresh start for human trafficking survivors. ALIGHT connects survivors’ diverse legal needs to untapped expertise in the legal community with a tech-based model. Survivors’ requests for legal services are posted on a real-time needs matching app by the community-based organizations that partner with ALIGHT, or by ALIGHT’s Intake Advocates, whom any survivor can reach by calling the ALIGHT number 720-608-6039. In February 2020, the American Bar Association recognized ALIGHT's model by passing Resolution 113.