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Kansas City Law Firm, Husch Blackwell, Represents Human-Trafficking Victims

 

When human-trafficking prosecution went to another level in 2006 in Kansas City, federal authorities and police officers had trouble finding outside lawyers who would work for free with victims, according to The Kansas City Star.

 

Because of one law firm, Husch Blackwell, authorities no longer have trouble finding outside lawyers to work with victims of human-trafficking. The law firm employs roughly 600 attorneys in Kansas City and other locations. The firm represents all the victims of human-trafficking who are referred by the United States Attorney’s Office in Missouri.



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Cynthia Cordes is a former United States attorney who specialized in human-trafficking. She is the leader of the effort for the law firm and is a new partner. When she was working as a U.S. attorney she had trouble finding outside lawyers to represent victims of this crime.

 

“In every single case, the victim is going to have some legal issues that they need assistance with,” Cordes said. “We didn’t know of any available resources.”

 

Working as a lawyer for the Justice Department, Cordes prosecuted more cases regarding human-trafficking than any other assistant United States attorney in the nation.

 

Cordes noted that one of the most common problems victims of human-trafficking encounter is that of identity theft. Those perpetrating the crime tend to open accounts in the names of their victims. If a victim has bad credit, he or she might have trouble finding a place to live or renting a vehicle when heading back into society.

 

The pro bono services director at Husch Blackwell, Jennifer Schwendemann, said that because the firm is so large, it means there can b e various specialists working on one case. The firm’s offices are located in Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield, and Washington, D.C. The firm calls its efforts the Human Trafficking Legal Clinic.

 

“We want to help create a situation where they can start a new life,” Schwendemann said. “We don’t want to just put a Band-Aid on an issue and send them out the door and have them face another legal issue later.”

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