Martina Vandenberg, 1988 CA
Recipient of the 2013 Joseph E. Stevens Award for Public Interest Law
In June 2013, Martina E. Vandenberg received the 2013 Joseph E. Stevens Award for Public Interest Law. The Stevens Award was established in 1999 to recognize a Truman Scholar who is an attorney and has made significant contributions to public service and to the Truman Scholar community. It honors Joseph E. Stevens, Jr., a former Chair of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation Board of Trustees. Judge Stevens served as a Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri from 1981-1995, including as Chief Judge of the District from 1992-1995.
Martina is founder and president The Human Trafficking Pro Bono Legal Center and has spent nearly two decades fighting human trafficking, forced labor, rape as a war crime, and violence against women. Vandenberg has represented victims of human trafficking pro bono in immigration, criminal, and civil cases. Widely regarded as an expert on an array of human rights issues, she has testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Human Rights and the Law, the Helsinki Commission, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and the House Armed Services Committee.
A former Human Rights Watch researcher, she spearheaded investigations into human rights violations in the Russian Federation, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Uzbekistan, Kosovo, Israel, and Ukraine, and authored the first published report documenting human trafficking in Israel. She is the author of two Human Rights Watch reports, “Hopes Betrayed: Trafficking of Women and Girls to Post-Conflict Bosnia & Herzegovina for Forced Prostitution,” and “Kosovo: Rape as a Weapon of ‘Ethnic Cleansing.’” Martina is a Rhodes Scholar and Truman Scholar.