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Pro-Victim Model vs. Prosecutor-Driven Model

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Pro-Victim Model vs. Prosecutor-Driven Model

Prosecutors often prefer to communicate directly with victims and offer them immunity in exchange for testimony against their traffickers, but victims are loath to cooperate with law enforcement due either to misplaced loyalty to their traffickers or to fear of retaliation. Further, conflicts arise when prosecutors are left to explain the limits of immunity proposals to victims in the absence of defense counsel. When a victim speaks directly to law enforcement or the press without benefit of counsel, they lose control of their story and it may be taken out of context or ultimately used against them. Further, advocates who first come into contact with the victim under this prosecutor-driven model often remain an arm of the prosecution and may be subpoenaed (forced) to testify against the victim. While law enforcement agencies might operate with the best of intentions concerning victims’ rights, their ultimate goal is to prosecute the traffickers and they may not have the time or resources to provide the aid and attention that is so desperately needed by the victims.

B.E.S.T.™  (Building Empowerment by Stopping Trafficking) is a multi-faceted and dynamic organization that provides outreach, education, and victim treatment services.When a victim is identified and referred to us, we immediately provide them with an attorney and a B.E.S.T.™ Certified Coach. The attorney-client relationship not only enables the attorney to properly protect the victim\'s legal rights and guide the victim through the criminal justice system, but the attorney-client privilege extends to the B.E.S.T.™ Certified Coach that is extensively trained to assess and meet the victim\'s emotional and psychological needs. Once this circle of trust is established and protected by law, the attorney and B.E.S.T.™ Certified Coach are able to properly assess and meet the victim\'s needs, and elicit critical evidence that law enforcement may use to convict the traffickers without causing additional harm to the victim.

Our model is based on the core understanding that human trafficking victims are not criminals. We recognize that their needs must be properly assessed and met in order to provide them adequate treatment and to effectively prosecute their traffickers. By protecting victims\' legal rights and creating an environment wherein victims may provide consistent and accountable evidence, our model balances society\'s need to prosecute traffickers with the victims\' Sixth Amendment right to counsel and ultimately provides an increasingly efficient path toward accomplishing the goals sought out by prosecutor-driven models.

If you are a victim of human trafficking and either facing criminal charges or working with law enforcement in a human trafficking investigation, you need an attorney with a sophisticated understanding of the law to protect your legal interests. B.E.S.T.™  (Building Empowerment by Stopping Trafficking) understands your needs, and will provide you with a pro bono defense attorney and B.E.S.T.™ Certified Coach to assist you throughout this difficult process. As a victim, access to this personalized team is crucial as our main focus is on protecting your rights and meeting your needs.

Visit B.E.S.T. for more information www.beststoptrafficking.org

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