2016 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Melina Angelos Healey

Melina Angelos Healey

Name of Host Organization: Center for the Human Rights of Children
City, State: Chicago, Illinois
Issue area: Immigrant Populations - Trafficking/Slavery
Sponsors: Albert & Anne Mansfield Foundation

The Project

Combat the devastating sex trafficking of Native American children in Northern Illinois using culturally-grounded holistic legal services and victim healing, and advocating for systems change.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
The New York Times recently dubbed Chicago the “national hub” for sex trafficking. Cook County has at least 7,000 child sex workers, and many are Native. Their existence is unacknowledged and their suffering unaddressed. All trafficked youth have staggering legal needs, including criminal defense, records expungement, disability representation, victim witness, and education and special education advocacy.
The Right Person For This Project: 
Melina is the right person for the project because:
• She has been representing young clients, including many victims of sex trafficking, in delinquency, abuse and neglect, and educational rights proceedings for eight years
• Since 2011, she has partnered with the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes to address sex trafficking and racial justice issues on their Reservation
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship: 
In the first six months, Melina will:
• Partner with the American Indian Center to identify and serve victims and provide community trainings.
• Represent clients in the legal proceedings that young trafficking victims face, including delinquency, child welfare, records expungement, and educational rights and disability claims.
• Develop a policy agenda for systemic change.

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