Photo of Dena Shayne

Dena Shayne

  • Hosted by Amara Legal Center
  • Sponsored by U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Office for Victims of Crime
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school Georgetown University Law Center
  • Issue area Human Trafficking and Victim’s Rights Enforcement
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Crime Victims Justice Corps

The Project

Survivors of human trafficking–both sex and labor–often suffer from a lack of representation. There is a gap in the legal system when addressing the needs of survivors. This Fellowship provided domestic survivors of trafficking in the D.C. metro area with increased access to free, trauma-informed, state-level legal services. Clients’ safety was increased after obtaining protection from their abusers as well as gaining access to Crime Victims’ Compensation Fund services for D.C. clients.  

Dena joined the Amara Legal Center and provided legal services primarily to survivors of sex trafficking, and expanded into labor trafficking. She also provided—in addition to the direct services—training to pro bono attorneys, local service organizations, and interpreters to provide trauma-informed services to and increase identification of domestic survivors of sex trafficking in the D.C. metro area. 

As a law student, Dena consistently worked to serve underprivileged populations—both domestically and internationally. She successfully represented a detained woman seeking asylum in her United States immigration proceedings, due to gang and domestic violence in her home country. Dena also worked at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, where she conducted victim-centric legal action in high-trauma cases. This Fellowship and Amara’s work fill her with optimism as its unique approach allows at local levels allows for greater pathways to change. Dena was the right person for this Fellowship because her personal and professional experiences have led her to pursue a career in victim justice, and her passion and enthusiasm allows her to create meaningful and lasting impact as a Fellow. 

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