Avantika Rao '02 Wins Londen Award for Human Trafficking Case
Avantika Rao '02 was one of five attorneys awarded a Jack W. Londen Award by the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area for their successful litigation on behalf of a Peruvian human trafficking survivor.
Together with Nancy Harris, Ruth Kwon, Rocio Avila, and Tracey Lesetar, Rao formed the core team litigating on behalf of survivor Zoraida Peña-Canal. Rao worked on the case from the time of Peña-Canal's escape from the apartment where she had been kept as an indentured servant from April 2008 through 2010, successfully obtaining lawful immigration status for her client and serving as the client's advocate throughout the lengthy and complicated immigration, civil, and criminal proceedings. Rao was invited to speak about the landmark case at the 2010 Department of Justice Human Trafficking Conference in Arlington, Virginia.
The Jack W. Londen Award recognizes exemplary efforts utilizing impact litigation to protect and advance the civil rights of marginalized communities. The awardees were recognized at the 24th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards Luncheon on January 19 in San Francisco with prominent guest speakers, including California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye '84 and California Attorney General Kamala Harris.