2014 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Olivia Barvin

Olivia Barvin

Name of Host Organization: Catholic Charities Cabrini Center
City, State: Houston, Texas
Issue area: Immigrant Populations - Trafficking/Slavery
Sponsors: Texas Access to Justice Foundation

The Project

Olivia provided holistic legal representation, to victims of human trafficking in Houston and created a framework through which non-profits and pro bono attorneys met victims’ wide-ranging legal needs.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Victims of human trafficking have difficulty accessing legal representation, for issues related, to their victimization including immigration, family, and criminal law needs as well as bringing tort claims in civil court against their traffickers. While some legal services do exist, victims’ access to those services, is often protracted and disjunctive. Navigating our legal system is complicated enough even without the history of victimization and the language barriers factored in. Creating a central place where victims can access legal services to address all of their needs allows survivors of trafficking, to more quickly move forward from their victimization.
Fellowship Highlights: 
In the past two years, Olivia has:
• Provided legal consults to over 300 immigrant victims of crime, including human trafficking
• Secured immigration status through the T Visa for 18 victims of trafficking
• Established referral mechanisms to ensure the varying needs of trafficking victims were met including referrals to legal and mental health services
• Created templates and a T Visa Representation Manual to assist pro bono attorneys in their representation of trafficking victims
• Presented legal trainings to law enforcement offices including the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sherriff’s Office
• Collaborated with the Mayor’s Office to creates systems that more effectively identify and serve victims of trafficking
• Chaired the Houston Trafficking Rescue Alliance’s Pro Bono Legal Group, to pair victims, to pro bono attorneys, for representation in immigration, family, and criminal court
Where are they now?: 
Now that the Fellowship is complete, Olivia plans to:
• Continue her work at the Cabrini Center for Immigration Legal Assistance as a Staff Attorney representing immigrant victims of crime, including victims of human trafficking
• Partner with pro bono attorneys across Houston to continue to provide holistic representation to meet victims’ wide ranging legal needs

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