Justice At Last stands up for survivors
Battling human trafficking with one secure content platform
KEY USE CASES
Field operations management
Project documentation library
PRODUCTS & INTEGRATIONS
Over 100 survivors
served each year to date
conducted since 2015, with materials stored on Box
15 staff members
advocate for survivors of human trafficking
- Nearly every aspect of this nonprofit’s work is done in the field, so attorneys and client advocates need mobile access to content
- When it comes to protecting survivors of human trafficking, privacy and security of information are critical
- For a tiny team trying to change the world, repetitive administrative tasks take away from valuable work with survivors and in court
- In the Content Cloud, staff can access, edit, and share files on mobile devices, but still use the tools they’re used to, like Microsoft Word and Excel
- The security and compliance features Box offers ensure that all survivor data and IP are protected, no matter what
- Automating repeatable processes with Box Relay makes the most of advocates’ precious time
Advocating for the survivors of human trafficking
The general public is often shocked to hear that human trafficking is rampant in the US, but for certain types of attorneys, sadly, it’s common knowledge. Rose Mukhar, CEO and Principal Attorney, was one such attorney who founded Justice At Last to advocate for trafficking survivors. This organization — the only one of its kind in the San Francisco Bay Area — provides free legal counsel and support to survivors of every type of trafficking and any background.
These survivors need a lot of legal support, and Justice At Last provides plenty: criminal records clearance, immigration relief, employment rights, restraining orders, emergency custody, youth law, debt relief, and identity theft protection. Every case is unique, and all generate a paper trail of sensitive documentation that requires the strictest privacy restrictions to keep survivors safe and anonymous.
Carolyn Kim, Legal Director, oversees the programmatic side of the operation, which, in such a small bootstrapping nonprofit, puts her in charge of the tech stack. It’s her job to make sure operations are smoothly in place to provide the most efficient support to survivors while keeping all their personal information well protected. “This is where Box comes in as such a powerful tool for our organization,” she confides.
Box makes a small team mighty
For a long time, Justice At Last was a one-woman show. Mukhar did pro bono work for years before receiving a 2019 grant which allowed her to hire a few staff members. Now, Justice At Last is a full- fledged mobile legal practice, with satellite offices throughout 15 Bay Area counties and a staff count in the double digits. The small team of attorneys and client advocates helps trafficking survivors become established and stabilized with legal representation.
One of the biggest barriers survivors encounter is simply getting access to attorneys and legal support. Having to travel to meet with an attorney is not always a realistic option, which is why, as Kim says, “We often go to the survivor in their community,” says Kim, “where they may already be receiving services, or to different courthouses.”
Behind the scenes, the content associated with each case follows its own trajectory. The process of working with a survivor typically looks like this:
- Case created: The survivor is screened for eligibility, and entered into the database, with a folder automatically created on Box for their case
- Intake gathered: A legal course of action is determined, with the organization’s attorneys weighing in and accessing any relevant information on Box
- Case goes forward: As the organization accompanies the survivor through the entire legal process, a content process unfolds, too — with Box as the central platform
- Case closed: Once the person has finished their trajectory within the system, the folder is closed out and the content no longer accessible
The team often collaborates with familiar Microsoft tools like Word and Excel, but the content created with these tools is all held securely in Box, even as it’s created from and viewed on mobile devices in the field. “It’s instantaneous collaboration, and it’s really pretty seamless,” says Kim. “I don’t think we could do the type of work we do without Box. It’s at the core of how we operate, permeated throughout our work culture. It has a positive impact even on how we’re able to provide services.”
Automated workflows that enable the grassroots team
“Box Relay has really helped with workflow,” says Mukhar. For instance, Justice At Last is a remote organization, but physical mail is delivered to the headquarters. To make sure it gets routed to the right person quickly, one person at HQ scans mail into a Box folder, which then automatically generates a reminder to the entire staff to “check the mail today.” Justice At Last also uses Relay to automate aspects of repetitive financial processes like purchase orders and reimbursement requests.
One of the most proactive ways the organization helps survivors is by training law enforcement agencies and other community-based organizations. Relay comes in handy for this, too. As consecutive trainings occur, participants can access the templates from prior trainings, tweak the content, and constantly improve it — a valuable process for a growing grassroots organization. Revisions automatically enter a Relay workflow to be submitted for review. Once content is fully edited and approved, an automated task removes it from the chain of review and places it in a secure, published folder on Box.
Keeping survivor information private at any cost
Security and confidentiality regulations are critical to Justice At Last and its clients. “We have a duty to protect confidentiality and to protect our privilege, whether it be communications with our clients that we serve or our work product,” says Kim. “So for any drafts — or anything that we're working on — we have to show to the court that we have taken measures to make sure they remain confidential.”
When it comes to secure content, the old-fashioned paradigm was a physical file cabinet and a key owned by specific people. In the Content Cloud, the metaphor is similar — but actually more secure than a physical filing cabinet that could be broken into, stolen, or accidentally left unlocked. The granular permission settings Box provides enable Justice At Last to carefully control who has access to which files. Volunteers are only given access to certain publicly available folders, while client advocates on staff have access solely to their own case notes. Only attorneys have access to completely private case files.
“Once we understood how to use Box,” says Kim, “particularly the waterfall permission settings, we were able to create a folder system that met the standards we needed to uphold to protect our privilege.”
3 things Justice At Last loves about Box
For nonprofits like Justice At Last, anything that speeds up processes, automates repetitive work, and takes the manual labor out of content administration ultimately serves the constituents better. Here’s what Kim has to say about the top three benefits from Box:
- Shared links are key: “...Being able to quickly pull up a link, send it to folks, and collaborate within or outside of the organization, but always with the reassurance it’s not being sent to someone without the proper permissions.”
- Box Notes: “People love them, and there’s just so many functions that allow us to modify things. Two things people really like about them are the Favorites and Collections.”
- The search function: “People simply find the things they’re looking for.”
Mukhar has grown her homegrown pro-bono efforts into a bonafide nonprofit. Today, they help over a hundred survivors of human trafficking move on and create independent lives each year. The Content Cloud has been an essential platform for this work, and she says: “Honestly, the heart of the organization is kept on Box. So it's really critical for our day-to-day work.”
We chose Box because it just worked. There are definitely other products out there, but Box was more intuitive and easier for us to access when staff are out and about out in the field.