How a legal pioneer launched a human trafficking clinic to help victims both near and far. What sparks your passion when practicing law?

Posted on 09-22-2014 by
Tags: Latst Headlines & Stories , Tell us your story , Be Unprecedented , rainmakers , Human Trafficking

Photo Credit: University of Michigan Law School Twitter

What if you were faced with a problem that could be transformed with time and dedication? Would you tackle that problem or would you ignore it? Our courage to confront these questions often depends upon the topic.

Bridgette Carr, Director of the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan, saw there was a problem with human trafficking victims and their legal needs. Instead of ignoring the problem, she tackled it head on, and sought an “outside of the box” solution.

“Initially I was only involved in the immigration issues in trafficking cases of foreign nationals; however I soon saw the immense and varied legal needs faced by all victims of human trafficking regardless of nationality,” Bridgette said.

In 2009, only 7 years after graduating Law School, Bridgette had the opportunity to launch a clinic which addressed these issues. She returned to Michigan University’s law school to start the Human Trafficking Clinic. The Human Trafficking Clinic was the first of its kind – a clinical law program solely dedicated to human trafficking – offering direct representation and advocacy services for trafficking victims as well as community education and training.

“I was elated to offer this kind of representation to victims of human trafficking,” Bridgette said.

Bridgette not only oversees the advocacy services offered to trafficking victims for both international and domestic issues/cases, she also trains law students to work on human trafficking issues and cases. Because of this, law students working in the Human Trafficking Clinic obtain real-world experience and represent victims of human trafficking. According to Bridgette, students not only collaborate with the survivors of human trafficking, they also collaborate with law enforcement, government officials, and nongovernmental organizations, helping to identify solutions to combat human trafficking.

Bridgette is often asked what advice she would give to those who are just starting their careers. Her answer is pretty simple.

“Figure out what you love to do and then use those skills to help trafficking victims. Magic happens when people find their passion and then use those skills to fight trafficking.”

Bridgette is also the co-author of the casebook, Human Trafficking Law and Policy, which is a pioneering casebook, bringing together the case law, legislation and scholarship that comprise domestic and international human trafficking law.

What are the passions that inspire you to practice law? Tell us your story.

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