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Building a society where our clients are free from stigma, violence, oppression, exploitation, and criminalization.

For survivors of sex trafficking and sex workers, access to a lawyer can make the difference between imprisonment and freedom, maintaining and losing custody of their children, staying safe and living in fear. That's where the Amara Legal Center comes in.

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Need help clearing a criminal record?

We will be holding expungement clinics on June 14 and 15, 2023. In this free virtual clinic, Attorneys will interview and assess whether you are eligible for expungement, record sealing or vacatur.

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Help us amplify the voices of survivors, elevate the discussion, and break the injustice faced by survivors

We invite you to lend your support and help change the lives of some of the most vulnerable and underserved populations. Check out our Corporate Sponsorship Packet to learn more about our work and how you can get involved today.

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Client Success Stories

Last year, we helped “April,” a child sex trafficking survivor, regain custody of her one-year-old
daughter. For April, leaving her daughter in an aunt’s care was necessary until she got herself clean and found suitable housing for her and her daughter. Unfortunately, when April returned a few months later to take her daughter home, her aunt refused to give her daughter back.

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Looking for a way to give back in 2023?

The Amara Legal Center is in need of pro bono attorneys, as well as volunteers with experience in: Marketing and Design, Event Planning, and Fundraising. Click for an application.

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The Amara Legal Center is the only legal aid organization in the DC-metro region solely dedicated to providing trauma-informed legal services to survivors of sex trafficking and those who have been harmed by the commercial sex industry.

About the Washington Metro Area

Although many believe that sex trafficking occurs only overseas, sex trafficking can be found in communities throughout the United States, and the Washington metropolitan area is no exception. Due to its unique geographic location on the I-95 corridor and close proximity to a number of casinos, airports and professional sports venues, the Washington metropolitan area is a magnet for sex trafficking.

Why Our Work is Important

The judicial system in the United States is slow to respond, and, without a coordinated community-based response to sex trafficking, many survivors are often re-victimized and criminalized. As a result, survivors are often relegated to the shadows of society, suffering severe abuse and trauma at the hands of their traffickers. This makes getting out of the “life” terrifying and perpetuates a cycle of exploitation.

The Amara Legal Center works to break this cycle. Since its founding in 2013, Amara has provided legal services in almost 800 case matters for over 500 clients. We look at our work through a racial and social justice lens, applying a holistic approach to helping clients navigate the legal system. The majority of Amara’s clients are U.S. born, Black, cis- and trans- women, ages 18-29, survivors of sex trafficking, some as young as 12 years-old, who experience homelessness, mental health issues, severe trauma, and living below the federal poverty guideline.

“I feel safer. When I think about my life as a whole, I got a new start. My life is completely changed. Things I didn’t ever think would happen. I wouldn’t have been able to work with children. I have hope. I know how far I can go.”

Amara fights tirelessly for the dignitiy of our clients

Our Legal Services

Civil Protection Orders

Obtaining restraining orders for our clients against abusers, including traffickers and/or buyers.

Victim-Witness Advocacy

Working with clients to navigate the criminal justice system and preparing them for testifying in court.

Family Law

Helping clients regain custody of their children and represent them in divorce cases from their abusers.

Post-Conviction Relief

Assisting clients in filing petitions of expungements, as many of our clients have criminal records for prostitution or related charges, even if their involvement in the commercial sex industry was against their will.

Case Management & Referrals

Throughout the legal process, Amara connects our clients to partner legal services organizations, mental health professionals, and social services agencies

A survivor’s journey

Lily had an unstable and abusive childhood. At the age of 15, she was abandoned by her family completely to live on the streets. Not long after she became homeless, a man approached her and offered a safe place to live and the opportunity to earn money. After she decided to trust him, this man began to sell her for sex multiple times a night against her will. Read more about how Amara was there to help Lily gain her life back after sex trafficking.