The cover story in the November 8, 2017 edition of The Free Times is entitled “Grasping For A Way Out: How Heather Cook Escaped Sex Trafficking — and How Authorities Could Have Helped.”
Writer David Travis Bland took an in-depth look at how “sex trafficking is hidden” and authorities have “begun to understand and combat sex trafficking, learning in this fight to talk to the victims.”
Bland spoke with Murphy & Grantland attorney Elliott Daniels about his representation of Cook and about his commitment to this kind of pro bono service, which led Daniels to create a network called Legal Assistance for Survivors of Trafficking (LAST).
“The court has ordered the removal of the records charges, arrests, convictions … from your criminal record.”
Since June, Daniels has been working with Cook to clear her record.
“We live in a culture that will define them by their victimization,” Daniels says of his clients. “The john, the trafficker, will move on in society, but the victim will be defined by their crimes and what they were compelled to do. … What happens when they want to get a job or volunteer at a church or daycare, or take out a loan? If they go through a background check, [previous crimes] will be there.
“We’re letting them take down the barriers… It’s a pretty cathartic thing for them. To be able to define themselves outside of those past convictions.”
Read the complete report “Gasping for a way out” from The Free Times in Columbia.
Elliott Daniels focuses his private law practice on civil defense of insurance companies, businesses and individuals in a wide variety of civil matters. He has been a member of the S.C. Attorney General’s Human Trafficking Task Force since 2012.