On Thursday, September 9th, our 5th class of Douglass Fellows began their orientation and met our team. This year’s fellows come from top law schools throughout the country and have each already shown incredible dedication to combating trafficking. The Douglass Fellows represent the next generation of anti-trafficking leaders working to decimate human trafficking at its source.
The 2021-2022 fellowship class includes:
Two keynote speakers provided great insights into what it means to advocate for victims of trafficking and the historical origins of the anti-trafficking movement. Mark Lagon, Chief Policy Officer at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, provided insights for the fellows on modern approaches to combating trafficking that prioritize the safety and well-being of survivors while holding traffickers accountable. Kenneth B. Morris, Founder of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives, spoke on remembering the legacy of Frederick Douglass and Booker T. Washington in the modern anti-human trafficking movement. The Douglass Fellowship is named in honor of Frederick Douglass’s commitment to freedom, education, and advocacy. Morris provided advice to the fellows to take the lessons from the slavery abolition movement to speak the truth to power today.
“History is not just about the past, it’s about the present, about the future.”
Kenneth B. Morris, Founder of Frederick Douglass Family Initiatives
The orientation also included sessions from HTI staff members and guest speakers who are experts in the field. Fellows learned about victim-centered approaches to fighting human trafficking from the Chair of the U.S. Advisory Council on Human Trafficking Suleman Masood and HTI’s Director of Victim Services Marie Martinez Israelite. They also received a crash course on U.S. human trafficking law from HTI’s Director of Legal Engagement Lindsey Roberson. A writing workshop was led by Christine Coughlin, Professor of Law at Wake Forest University School of Law.
Each fellow is paired with an expert mentor who currently fills a senior position in a federal agency or nongovernmental organization combating human trafficking. Fellows choose mentors in the specific areas of practice they are interested in pursuing after law school. The expert mentors for the 2021-22 fellowship include:
- Enrique Carnero Rojo, Legal Officer, Office of Public Counsel for Victims, International Criminal Court
- Bridgette Carr, Professor & Founding Director of the Human Trafficking Clinic, University of Michigan Law School
- Betsy Hutson, Trial Attorney, Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit, Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice
- Andrea Rojas, Director of Strategic Initiatives on Labor Trafficking, Polaris
Throughout the fellowship, the cohort will assist with legal research and writing for the Federal Human Trafficking Report, amicus curiae briefs, and act as research assistants to an HTI staff lawyer as they learn the necessary skills to become strong legal advocates for survivors of trafficking. They will continue the Trafficking Matters podcast and participate in advocacy events to promote best legal practices for combating trafficking with their peers.
Read more about the Douglass Fellowship here.