Catherine “Cat” Casey, is the newest member of the Life Preservers Project Board of Directors. Cat is also the Global Director of Practice Support for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, specializing in eDiscovery, compliance, data analytics, information governance and cybersecurity. Cat has over a decade and a half of experience assisting clients with the complex eDiscovery and forensic needs that arise from litigation, expansive regulation and complex contractual relationships.
In the below post, Cat shares thoughts on why she joined Life Preservers Project.
After several years of supporting the Life Preservers Project (LPP) from a distance, I was thrilled when I was approached to contribute in a more meaningful way through joining the Board of Directors. As a survivor of sexual and domestic abuse and artist myself, this organization and its mission to help victims of similar trauma in the context of human trafficking spoke to me on a deep and personal level.
Why Life Preservers?
LPP is unique in the non-profit space supporting victims of human trafficking because the focus has
consciously been directed at the sexual slavery that still exists across the globe. The fact that LPP also started as an artist collective and seeks to engage artist and art as part of the healing process was also a powerful component for me because art has helped me articulate my own personal story and find comfort and healing. Many similar organizations focus on the supply chain aspect or business focused aspect as there tends to be more opportunity for corporate funding and do not offer resources to heal more than the body. LPP serves this less visible group of men and women, by some estimates over 4,500,000 worldwide, that are still subject to sexual slavery in the modern world in a way that offers so much more.
The U.S. Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act defines sex trafficking as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of an individual who under force, fraud or coercion is induced to perform a commercial sex act. This may involve cross border travel, but may just as often happen in the victims very own back yard through coercion, threat of violence and fraud. Further, many times it is these very victims who are penalized by the judicial system in the event that authorities intervene, leaving the victim further stigmatized and with more limited options to gain financial independence and leave the cycle of abuse.
These men and women need resources, to heal and regain their sense of identity and self-worth after surviving at times years of coercion and sexual abuse. LPP understands that human trafficking is not only a problem of some distant third-world country, but rather happening with alarming frequency right here in New York City and has focused much of its energy on supporting survivors right here in the New York Metro area.
Over the years the program has expanded beyond the confines of NYC, but that desire to help the victims next door is still a central factor that drives LPP. It is too easy to think the problem is far away, and this group helps us as a top global city in the first world look in the mirror and see the issues close to home.
As a top practitioner in the legal and technology space and a survivor myself, I hope to offer the group my insights from a strategic perspective and my energy and voice as an advocate for those who are two often silenced. The victims of human trafficking are so often forgotten, or after years of abuse they are blamed for the criminal enterprise they have been forced to participate in. I am hopeful that I can help raise visibility to this issue and to speak openly about it on behalf of those who may not have a voice.
I have always been a firm believer that no victim/survivor should ever feel ashamed or be shamed for another person’s shameful action against them. Through this organization and the fearless voices of Shana, Maribel, Mike Q. , Cara and Mike M. and all of our many supporters I look forward to advocating for these men and women and raising awareness of the prevalence and scale of the problem even right here in the U.S. of sexual slavery and human trafficking.
Through our fundraising, service and voice we can make a difference and raise the visibility of this shockingly prevalent issue and we can offer safety and support for the men and women that are looking at rebuilding their lives after surviving human trafficking. Together we can effect change, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent this organization and provide a voice for survivors.