By Elizabeth Lenart | Contributor
New Friends New Life (NFNL) is a recipient of a $20,000 grant from the Texas Bar Foundation. Funds will support the agency’s Legal Advocacy Clinic, providing legal assistance to survivors of sex trafficking. This is the fourth consecutive year the Texas Bar Foundation has funded NFNL, where 70% of members (clients) have a criminal record as a direct result of being trafficked – a barrier that prohibits survivors from finding jobs, obtaining housing, and becoming stable, contributing members of the community.
Funds will provide legal advocacy support for trafficking survivors.
“For many of our members, a criminal record often leads to doors being slammed shut, making it harder to rebuild their lives after breaking free from exploitation and abuse,” shares Bianca Davis, Chief Executive Officer. “The Texas Bar Foundation’s support will help eliminate legal barriers that can restrict her from achieving the full, tangible restoration she is working so hard to create for herself while engaged in our Four Phase Women’s Program.”
The Legal Advocacy Clinic is a critical component of the Barrier Removal Initiative underway at New Friends New Life. Last September, the agency added an onsite staff attorney to review criminal histories, create legal action plans, lead cases and advocate for survivors. The attorney will also triage cases that are referred to partnering law firms for pro bono representation.
Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $24 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation’s largest charitably-funded bar foundation.
About New Friends New Life:
Founded in Dallas, Texas, in 1998, New Friends New Life (NFNL) restores and empowers trafficked and sexually exploited teen girls, women and their children, and drives awareness of the issue and its prevalence. By providing access to education, job training, interim financial assistance, mental health, and emotional support, New Friends New Life helps women and their children overcome backgrounds of abuse, addiction, poverty, and limited opportunities. In 2021, NFNL served 312 members (clients). NFNL also educates the community and works to eradicate the epidemic of human trafficking through advocacy, legislative reform and strategic partnerships that address systemic causes. In 2018, NFNL opened a drop-in Youth Resource Center (YRC) in partnership with the Office of the Governor to serve trafficked and high-risk teen girls. More than 100 girls visited the YRC during its first year. In 2015, NFNL organized its Men’s Advocacy Group to engage men in the fight against sex trafficking and exploitation. For more information, visit http://www.newfriendsnewlife.org.