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San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México August 27, 2007

Global Workers approach in identifying potential partners is to make contact with organizations that have legal departments and outreach capacity. A legal department is necessary because the advocates will be assisting in labor cases originating in the USA, identifying new cases, providing direct legal services for issues that arise locally related to the migration, and to continually identify bigger picture legal and legislative challenges to portable justice that must be addressed. Outreach capability is equally important. Much of the legal support work consists of interacting with the workers who may be spread out over a large region. One needs staff willing and able to do this. Teaming up with an organization that already has grass roots human rights education programs is of a particular benefit. They can use the already established infrastructure to educate migrants about labor rights—both pre and post departure. This is key to reduce exploitation. Global Workers can train one organization on labor rights and then hundreds, if not thousands of workers will benefit. The multiplying effect of working through capable local organizations is astonishing.

Now finding the organizations with that capacity is the challenge.

Many human rights organization exist in the San Cristóbal region. But there seems to be a separation between human rights organizations, many of whom have legal departments or cooperating attorneys, and ones that work specifically with migrants, which are more social services oriented. The disconnect can in part be credited to the advocates’ sense of inability to address issues that physically occur somewhere else. The results of the first outreach effort to this region was positive. But follow-up visits are needed to discern which organizations will be the most natural fit.

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