Film chronicles the impact of the sex trade on American families; part of Firm's ongoing efforts in combatting sexual exploitation, forced labor

As part of Baker McKenzie's ongoing efforts to fight sexual exploitation and forced labor around the world, the Firm has partnered with The McCain Institute to host the Washington, DC premiere of "I am Jane Doe," an acclaimed documentary film chronicling several American mothers' battle against human trafficking.

The screening will take place Feb. 6 at the Navy Memorial Heritage Center and include opening remarks from Cindy McCain, followed by a panel discussion with the Senators Heidi Heitkamp, John McCain, Claire McCaskill and Rob Portman, along with award-winning filmmaker Mary Mazzio. Broadcast journalist Perri Peltz will serve as the moderator.

"Our Firm has a longstanding commitment to supporting efforts not only to fighting human trafficking, but also to raising public awareness of its prevalence in so many of our communities around the world," said Michael Wagner, the Firm's North America Chair and Head of the Firm's Global Pro Bono and Community Service Committee. "This film tells a powerful and important story of the terrible harm caused by the sex trade, and we are honored to be part of its first screening in the US capital."

Baker McKenzie has a history of partnering with global organizations to combat and prevent forced labor, human trafficking and sexual exploitation around the world. Some of the Firm's recent work in this area includes:

  • Partnering with the Thomson Reuters Foundation in the development and launch of the Stop Slavery Award, the first global accolade to recognize businesses that have excelled in efforts to eradicate forced labor from their supply chains.
  • Authoring a widely circulated white paper titled, "Managing Corporate Supply Chains: Challenges and Successes in the Fight to Combat Human Trafficking and Forced Labor," in collaboration with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
  • Joined the Consortium for Street Children (CSC), as well as in-house counsel at Merck, Regeneron, Cargill and Salesforce, to bring together hundreds of homeless children for UN Consultations in Brazil, India, Belgium and Mexico. The children shared their stories of forced labor, detention and treatment by law enforcement, early and forced marriage and clean drinking water, among others.
    • This research will be submitted to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child ahead of its General Comment on the needs of street-connected children, which the committee will publish in 2017.
  • Partnering with Covenant House, Canada's largest homeless youth agency, to provide free legal assistance to residents of a new community residence for victims of sex trafficking. 
  • Providing pro bono legal services to the International Justice Mission in the Philippines, one of the largest anti-slavery not-for-profit organizations in the world.
  • Serving as co-sponsor (along with Merck) to Whitney Hood, a 2016 Equal Justice Works Fellow in New York City who is providing legal services for human trafficking victims with physical and psychological health concerns. 
  • Creating Homeless Youth Handbooks in four states across the US, a legal resource for at-risk young people so they can better understand their legal rights and options.

"Human trafficking is a serious humanitarian issue and one that affects nearly every community in the world, despite a widespread belief that this crime only happens in developing countries," said Kevin Coon, Chair of the Firm's Policy Committee and Managing Partner of Baker McKenzie's Toronto office. "The 'I am Jane Doe' film shows the human side of this terrible crime, and we hope it will inspire more individuals and businesses to join us in the fight against it."

The film screening is part of the McCain Institute's day-long Human Trafficking Symposium, which will bring together leaders from the public and private sectors to examine the issues surrounding human trafficking and best practices to address them.

Baker McKenzie will host the Canadian premiere of "I am Jane Doe" in Toronto on March 1.

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