By Wendi Adelson • October 14, 2011•Nonprofits and the Public Interest
For the past five years I have listened to my clients tell me horrific stories of abuse and exploitation. Instead of internalizing my clients’ traumas, too paralyzed by their pain to move forward, I have felt empowered by my ability to be part of their solution. I am an immigration attorney that specializes in visas for victims of violent crime (like human trafficking), unaccompanied children, asylum seekers and refugees. For my clients who are victims of human trafficking, they have been convinced, through force, fraud or coercion that their lives would be infinitely better in the U.S., and they came here, on those promises, seeking better lives. What they found here in the U.S. was not the proverbial American dream.
For my clients: I am their advocate. I help my clients apply for T visas, an immigration remedy for victims of human trafficking. There are a limited number of Spanish speaking professionals where I live, so I also help translate and provide transportation when my clients need the services of a health professional. The difficulties inherent in creating a new life after trafficking are monumental. There is so much that we can do, as attorneys, as part of a faith-based community, or as citizens of what we want to be a more just world, to assist those who have been victimized with moving forward post-trafficking.
In an effort to share my clients’ stories with a larger audience, and to raise awareness about this insidious practice, I have written a novel about their experiences. It is available on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/This-is-Our-Story-ebook/dp/B005MRA7NQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1318277011&sr=1-1 (or in paperback upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org) and part of the proceeds will be donated to victim care. Please feel free to contact me if you are looking for ways to get involved with this work.