Across the United States, men, women and children — both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals — are subjected to forced labor, debt bondage, involuntary servitude and sex trafficking. “Make no mistake,” Attorney General Eric Holder said last year, “human trafficking is not just a global problem. It is a national crisis.”

VS-logoIn response to this crisis, the law firm Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft has launched VS. – Confronting Modern Slavery in America, a website devoted to combating human trafficking in the United States. The purpose of the site is to heighten public awareness of human trafficking in America and to provide a platform for anti-trafficking organizations and advocates, including lawyers, to collaborate and share resources.

The project was launched Jan. 25 as a pro bono project of the Cadwalader Women’s Leadership Initiative. The project is chaired by partner Debra Brown Steinberg, a litigator who gained national recognition for her pro bono work on behalf of victims of the September 11th attacks and their families. (Steinberg discussed this work in a 2011 episode of our Lawyer2Lawyer podcast.) Explaining the site’s purpose, Steinberg writes:

VS. is a virtual roundtable for frontline organizations and agencies engaged in preventing domestic human trafficking in all its invidious forms. It is a forum for protecting and healing its survivors. It is a collaboration for improving legislation and advancing a victim-centered approach to more effectively prosecute perpetrators. VS. is a place where the anti-trafficking community can connect, speak, educate, and advocate.

The VS. site features a collection of news stories, original articles, opinion pieces and original videos about domestic human trafficking. A separate library section contains published research, articles, studies and other source material on the subject. The library is fully searchable, but is also divided into audience sectors — business, educators, judiciary, law enforcement, lawyers, and the like — to make it easy for users to find content relevant to them.

The site also includes a resource guide that seeks to compile all available resources for advocates and victims. This, too, is organized by audience (with a section for lawyers and law school clinics) as well as by categories (such as child services, counseling, hotlines, shelter, legal services, and the like).

Photo of Bob Ambrogi Bob Ambrogi

Bob is a lawyer, veteran legal journalist, and award-winning blogger and podcaster. In 2011, he was named to the inaugural Fastcase 50, honoring “the law’s smartest, most courageous innovators, techies, visionaries and leaders.” Earlier in his career, he was editor-in-chief of several legal publications, including The National Law Journal, and editorial director of ALM’s Litigation Services Division.