Criminal Re-Entry Work Workshop Announced for Conference

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The Freedom Network is pleased to announce the Criminal Re-Entry workshop, an offering  in the Civil Legal track at this year’s Freedom Network Conference.  The workshop will be facilitated by Freedom Network Co-Chair, Ivy Suriyopas, and will be include distinguished presenters Nadia Vali and Jessica Emerson.

Presenter Bios:

Nadia Vali

Ms. Vali is a Staff Attorney for the Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking.  Ms. Vali is in charge of the U.S. Citizen program serving domestic survivors of human trafficking with criminal and civil relief.  She has been working in anti-trafficking work for eight years.

Ms. Vali has consulted for the United Nations, The Special Court for Sierra Leone, War Crimes Prosecution Watch, the Zimbabwe Women Lawyer’s Association, and the State Human Rights Commission of India.  Prior to this, she worked in state politics for an Assembly member in the California Legislature.

Ms. Vali is the recipient of the Cox Center for International Law Award and the Emmerich de Vattel Human Rights Law Award.  Ms. Vali was selected for the Klatsky Human Rights Watch Fellowship in New York in which she assisted in the publication of Unbearable Pain: India’s Obligation to Ensure Palliative Care, 2009, Health and Human Rights, Human Rights Watch.

Prior to joining CAST, Ms. Vali practiced law in the Northern Mariana Islands where she represented survivors of human trafficking with immigration, criminal, and civil relief.  Ms. Vali is a member of the bar in California and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

Jessica Emerson

Jessica Emerson is a staff attorney and Equal Justice Works Fellow at the Women’s Law Center of Maryland.  In September of 2013 she began the innovative Trafficking Victims Post-Conviction Advocacy Project, which focuses on implementation of a 2011 Maryland law allowing survivors of sex trafficking to vacate their prostitution convictions, thereby reducing barriers to safe housing and employment.  She is a member of the Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force, and co-chairs the group’s Legislative Subcommittee, where she partners with legislators and other advocates to determine changes that would improve Maryland’s human trafficking laws.

Jessica is a 2013 magna cum laude graduate of the University of Baltimore School of Law.  Prior to attending law school, Jessica was a social worker at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center in New York City, where she provided intensive individual mental health counseling and case management services to HIV-positive and sexually high-risk adolescents, as well as group counseling and HIV testing services to adolescent survivors of domestic sex trafficking and LGBTQ youth at partnering community agencies.  She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Rhode Island, and her Master of Science in Social Work degree from Columbia University, with a focus on health, mental health, and disabilities.  She is a barred attorney in Maryland and a licensed social worker in New York State.