Human Trafficking Prevention Project
Survivors of Human Trafficking Have Rights.
We Can Help.
The Human Trafficking Prevention Project (HTPP), a partnership between Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and University of Baltimore School of Law, focuses on reducing the collateral consequences of criminal legal involvement for survivors of human trafficking and those populations made most vulnerable to exploitation. The HTPP also ensures that survivors and other individuals can easily access free legal representation for a wide variety of civil legal matters.
HOW WE CAN HELP
The HTPP primarily provides free legal help to anyone across the gender spectrum who has:
• Experienced either sex or labor trafficking; and/or,
• Traded sex for any reason, including those who trade sex by choice, out of circumstance, or due to coercion.
As a program that also focuses on trafficking prevention, we provide legal services to individuals who have been subjected to a combination of violence, trauma, or other systemic inequities that put them at increased risk of exploitation, including interpersonal violence, sexual assault, housing instability, substance use, or discrimination based on race, sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
FREE LEGAL HELP WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS
HTPP attorneys can help expunge or shield criminal convictions and ask courts to vacate (set aside) prostitution and other trafficking-related convictions. The HTPP can help clients access and review their criminal records, and also has funds available to pay for fingerprinting services.
FREE HELP WITH CIVIL LEGAL ISSUES
HTPP clients are able to apply for free legal assistance with divorce, custody, consumer debt/bankruptcy, name and gender marker changes, landlord/tenant disputes, tax controversies, and other civil legal issues. If eligible, they will be connected with MVLS volunteer attorneys for help.
SERVICES FOR ALL
Services are provided regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, age, religion, disability status, sex assigned at birth, gender identity, gender presentation, immigration status, or sexual orientation.
TRAINING & TECHNICAL HELP FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS
The HTPP also provides training and technical assistance to service providers on the availability of criminal record relief within the state of Maryland, as well as on working with survivors of trauma and other marginalized populations.
Have you ever traded sex?
Do you have a criminal record as a result?
YOU HAVE LEGAL RIGHTS, AND WE CAN HELP.
According to a survey by the National Survivor Network
of respondents reported being arrested
reported that they did not disclose they were being trafficked at the time of their arrest
reported every arrest was trafficking related
The HTPP is seeking volunteer attorneys to help with criminal record relief and other civil legal issues.
Kayla* was arrested and convicted for prostitution and drug possession, among other charges, over three years ago. While receiving counseling and services from a local drug treatment and outreach program, Kayla was referred to the HTPP for legal help as she was concerned that her record would prevent her from getting a job once she left the program. HTPP staff worked with Kayla to review her criminal record and, while discussing the circumstances around her arrests, found that she had been forced to trade sex by a past boyfriend to support their drug habits.
HTPP staff matched Kayla with a MVLS volunteer attorney who is representing her in a petition to vacate her past convictions, a legal remedy available for individuals like Kayla who meet the definition of a human trafficking survivor under Maryland law. Once vacated, these criminal records will no longer be a barrier to employment or housing for Kayla – she will be truly free to move forward with her life in safety.
*Composite story with name changed to protect clients’ identity and privacy.
The Human Trafficking Prevention Project (HTPP) is a partnership between Maryland Volunteer Lawyers Service and University of Baltimore School of Law. To get help, refer a client, or learn more, please contact us at:
GET HELP OR REFER