Gabriel Fletcher

The Project

In Ohio, criminal records are used to deny individuals employment opportunities as well as safe, affordable housing. Unfortunately, many survivors of human trafficking accrue substantial criminal records as a consequence of trafficking. Gabriel’s mission is to help these victims navigate the criminal legal system and eliminate legal barriers that have been placed upon them.

As an attorney with labor and employment experience, Gabriel has seen first-hand how criminal records can impact an individual’s effort to gain stable, rewarding employment. As an Equal Justice Works Fellow, Gabriel offered legal assistance and education to help survivors of human trafficking remove criminal-records-based barriers to employment and housing, utilizing Ohio’s Safe Harbor expungement laws.

I’m excited and thankful to Equal Justice Works for the opportunity to give back and help reshape our community for the better. I went to law school with the hope of becoming the type of attorney that works towards the goals I am striving to accomplish today!

Gabriel Fletcher /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Project

There is a need for more trauma-informed advocacy in the public interest realm. There is also a need to work with legal service providers, particularly in the more rural parts of the state, and provide education/training on Ohio’s expungement laws particularly from the trauma-informed perspective. There is a need to help create gender-responsive dockets and processes since there are only 5 courts in Ohio that have had Safe Harbor expungement cases. There is also a need to provide accessible education opportunities to the community to inform survivors of their legal options. 

Verjine offered free legal assistance and education to help survivors of human trafficking remove criminal-records-based barriers and protect their rights. Her legal assistance expanded access to Safe Harbor expungements and trauma-informed application processes and provided targeted statewide education for professionals, courts, and other service providers. 

Media

Overcoming Barriers to Long-Term Stability for Human Trafficking Survivors

I went to law school to one-day advocate for disenfranchised people and help those who are looking for their second chance. I am eager to learn from my colleagues at my host organization and through Equal Justice Works.

Verjine Adanalian /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

The Inspiration

The Project

Virginia solved legal issues affecting the health of low-income children and their families through a dynamic medical-legal partnership. Additionally, Virginia joined the Child Health Law Partnership launched in 2008 by the Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Finally, her project will evaluate the ability to respond to housing conditions cases referred to Child HeLP through specialized advocacy.

The Project

My project addresses elements of surface coal production that perpetuate poverty in the coalfields of Appalachia. The effects on human health and safety make life difficult and dissuade alternative forms of development. Residents commonly endure fouled drinking water, property damage from blasting and a threat of coal dam failure. Threatening economic viability are reclamation rules, which allow mining operations to leave the land scarred and incapable of supporting future industry.

The Inspiration

The Project

Brian served clients in six rural counties surrounding Cincinnati in southwest Ohio. Despite over 6,000 foreclosures reported in these counties in 2008 alone and skyrocketing unemployment, the legal problems of low income residents remain mostly under the radar for most legal assistance and community groups. Brian focused assistance in prevention of loss of housing and in the second year on community development to reduce poverty.

The Project

Abigail worked with Pro Seniors, a nonprofit organization providing free legal services to Ohio residents age 60 and older. Abigail focused on preventing foreclosures caused by predatory lending and economic pressures.

The Project

With my host site, The Legal Aid Society of Columbus, I will reach out to the legal community, primarily through two local law schools. I work with Capital University Law School and The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law to educate and recruit students, faculty, staff and alumni to assist in providing pro bono civil legal services to those in need. I assist LASC in its ongoing work with attorneys on existing pro bono projects and assist in new project development for attorneys and law students.

The Inspiration

The Project

The Trafficking Asylum Project uses impact litigation to establish asylum eligibility for survivors of human trafficking. While current U.S. law provides a limited form of relief to trafficked persons, gaps in the law allow many to fall through the cracks and remain ineligible for protection. As a result, many survivors will be deported to their country of origin where they may face punishment or re-trafficking. The project also involves workshops for immigration practitioners on litigating trafficking related asylum claims.

The Inspiration