Our work in Liberia follows LWOB's completion of a large scale project meeting a need identified in its assessment three years ago for a cumulative index to the entirety of Liberian case law. Having worked with over 100 lawyers at Linklaters indexing all Liberian case law LWOB was well positioned to incorporate Liberian case law into its programming. LWOB is pleased to report that the LWOB/Linklaters/Thomson Reuters collaboration on the Liberian Digest project started years ago, continues, now underwritten entirely with in-kind pro bono support. It is possibly one of the most important examples of the pro bono paradigm that inspired LWOB's founding fifteen years ago. It is a testament to the power of pro bono collaboratives and sustainability.
Two trial advocacy trainings in Liberia are now complete (2010, 2013). Those trainings taught standard basics in trial advocacy in a customized, created for and by LWOB, mock trial scenario based upon a Liberian trafficking in persons prosecution. LWOB incorporates its own version of the NITA "learning by doing™" approach in the trial advocacy modules which involve taping, reviewing and critiquing lawyers direct and cross examination, opening statements and closing arguments. NITA supports the LWOB programming with the donation of its Modern Trial Advocacy text books, trainers and underwriting support.
In 2010, LWOB partnered with the Avon Center for Women and Justice at Cornell Law School to develop and deliver trafficking-specific modules which included an overview of Trafficking and the role and use of international conventions and obligations in a trial. LWOB tapped into portions of the UNODC Toolkit as a resource and guide. Additional LWOB materials were created to compliment the UNODC Toolkit as well.
LWOB integrated its own signature special challenges modules on substantive and evidentiary issues using avatar technology donated to LWOB by Oddcast.com. That portion of the program included evidentiary demonstrations and programming designed to illustrate "best practices" in victim pre-trial interviews and investigation and witness preparation as well as actual Liberian cases illustrating rules governing such issues as witness voir dire and the child as witnesses.
The program was supplemented with community oriented materials created by lawyers at Linklaters LLP who worked with LWOB's graphic artist to create two illustrated publications featuring best practices for the practitioner working on TIPS issues and educating citizens to recognize trafficking situations and rights and resources for the person victimized by trafficking.
Click here to view the illustrated publication "Understanding Human Trafficking" created for the Liberian Bar: Human Trafficking - Liberia - Illustrated graphic novel . A second publication accompanied by a trainer manual has been completed and distributed to lawyers and judges throughout the country that focuses on the lawyer/judge interaction with victims of human trafficking that come before them. The third in a series of four (4) graphic novels is scheduled for distribution at the 2014 training and the fourth in the series will be distributed at the 2015 training. They involve the police investigatory phase of trafficking prosecutions and the trafficking trial.
In 2013, LWOB's training included, for the first time, 20 law enforcement personnel and connected their important role in the investigatory stage to successful prosecutions in Court. LWOB's work in Liberia for the next three years is funded by a grant from the JTIP department of the United States Department of State. Interim police trainings will continue throughout the life of the grant. Two additional large-scale trainings integrating all the stakeholders in human trafficking prosecutions, are now scheduled for late 2014 and spring 2015.
Current pro bono partners working on materials for those trainings include the lawyers from Linklaters, who now enter their fourth year of work with LWOB on human trafficking in Liberia and McDermott Will & Emery's London office which completed LWOB's first human trafficking publication educating youth to dangers that expose them to potential trafficking scenarios. . Lawyers from Pfizer, Jones Day and Shearman & Sterling rounded out the 2013 training team. The 2015 team, delayed by the Ebola emergency, will again be led by Hon. Virginia Kendall (DC Ill) a federal judge recognized internationally for her work in human trafficking and will include partners from several international law firms in a supportive relationship with LWOB.
Lawyers at Linklaters are completing the fourth in a series of Human Trafficking Graphic Novels and LWOB's educational board game FIND ME, has just finished professional production and will be circulated in-country in the summer of 2015.