After a successful two-year pilot phase in Manhattan, The Legal Aid Society is expanding the Society's Criminal Practice Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project services for clients charged with prostitution offenses based on New York State Penal Law § 230.00 or § 240.37 and other related offenses in order to provide these services in each of the five boroughs of New York City. During the two-year pilot phase, the Project has been recognized nationally for its innovative, defender-based approach to the issue of sex trafficking. Expansion of the Project to every borough will enable The Legal Aid Society's Criminal Practice to enhance criminal justice system representation for victims of trafficking throughout the City.
As part of this expansion, The Legal Aid Society selected Kate Mogulescu as the Supervising Attorney of the Trafficking Victims Advocacy Project. Mogulescu, a graduate of SUNY Binghamton and Yale Law School, has been a staff attorney in the Manhattan office since 2003, and she is also an Adjunct Professor at the City College of New York.
In 2011, Mogulescu developed The Legal Aid Society's Trafficking Victims Legal Defense & Advocacy Project, the first anti-trafficking project to be implemented by a public defender organization when she was representing clients charged with prostitution offenses in the Midtown Community Court. This work with clients and the Project’s success have been featured in the New York Times and the New York Daily News, and the Project has been praised by the American Bar Association as one of only two efforts in the United States that are addressing the trafficking problem in the criminal justice system. Mogulescu has recently reported on the work of the Project at the Freedom Network Conference and the City Bar Justice Center, and she has been invited to testify before the New York City Council and the New York State Legislature on the issue of combating sex trafficking. In addition, she regularly trains public defenders, prosecutors, and other criminal justice practitioners in New York City and nationally on best practices to identify victims of sex trafficking and prevent the criminalization of vulnerable populations. In 2012, Kate was named a finalist for the American Constitution Society’s David Carliner Public Interest Award, which "recognizes outstanding mid-career public interest lawyers whose work best exemplifies its namesake’s legacy of fearless, uncompromising and creative advocacy on behalf of marginalized people."