On Tuesday, March 20th, the AABANY GSPI Committee, the AABANY Immigration Law Committee, and Sanctuary for Families hosted an anti-trafficking and immigration remedies panel at Kirkland and Ellis, LLP. The panel featured Judge Pamela Chen of the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, Judge Toko Serita of the New York City Criminal Court of Queens County, Susan Akina of the AABANY Immigration Law Committee, and Amy Hsieh from Sanctuary for Families.

The speakers began by elaborating on the different types of trafficking as well as how victims of sex trafficking and forced labor can be eligible for certain visas. Judge Serita emphasized that most victims of forced labor and sex trafficking are disenfranchised women of color, and that there are certain forms of sex trafficking that are unique to the Asian community. In fact, many Asian women who are trafficked come from Korea and China, and are usually older than one would expect. Judge Chen reiterated that many trafficked women are ashamed of their circumstances, and that it can be difficult to find victims while prosecuting sex trafficking and forced labor cases as they are not always willing to come forward. For attorneys looking to volunteer their services pro bono, Judge Chen noted that there will always be an initial trust gap between attorneys and clients.

During the panel, Susan Akina and Amy Hsieh also gave a presentation on how to work with clients that have a history of trauma, such as utilizing tactile cues and being nonjudgmental of a client’s circumstances.

AABANY was the CLE provider for the event. Attendees were eligible to receive 1.0 credits in Areas of Professional Practice and 0.5 credits in Diversity, Inclusion and Elimination of Bias. We were proud to co-sponsor the event with KALAGNY and Sanctuary for families, and we thank all those who attended. 

For anyone interested in learning about pro bono opportunities to help Korean or Chinese victims of human trafficking through Sanctuary for Families, contact our Immigration Law Committee Co-Chairs via their webpage on the AABANY website.