Human Trafficking Protocols
Policy 2021-14: Protocols Regarding Human Trafficking Survivors
Survivors of human trafficking—both sex and labor trafficking—often have a variety of legal needs. Trafficking survivors may need assistance in areas such as immigration, post-adjudication criminal relief, family, housing, and access to public benefits.
The Washtenaw County Prosecutor’s Office is fully committed to doing whatever it can to assist survivors of human trafficking. The Prosecutor’s Office, however, cannot directly represent clients in civil matters. What is more, trafficking survivors (for a variety of reasons) are often distrustful of law enforcement. It is therefore best practice to provide survivors with their own attorneys, who are not connected to law enforcement.
Accordingly, it is the policy of the Prosecutor’s Office to immediately refer any potential survivor of human trafficking to the Human Trafficking Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School. The Human Trafficking Clinic will provide legal services to survivors in a variety of areas—assisting with immigration matters, family matters, expungement of old criminal records, and access to housing and public benefits.
In partnership with the Human Trafficking Clinic, the Prosecutor’s Office will also provide affirmative assistance to survivors of human trafficking wherever it is able. Working with the Human Trafficking Clinic, for example, the Prosecutor’s Office will prioritize the expungement of old criminal records for trafficking survivors, and will certify special visas for noncitizen trafficking survivors. The provision of such assistance is the highest priority for the Prosecutor’s Office.
Survivors of human trafficking should know that these independent legal services are available to them in Washtenaw County—and that the Prosecutor’s Office is committed to assisting survivors, not prosecuting them.