Advo­cates for vic­tims of human traf­ficking spoke to law stu­dents yes­terday, the first part of a two-​​day series of panels spon­sored by the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity School of Law’s Human Rights Caucus.

What you do and how you prac­tice when you leave school really has an enor­mous impact on our work and the vic­tims we serve,” said Lisa Gold­blatt Grace, the pro­gram director of My Life My Choice, an orga­ni­za­tion that works with young girls who have been vic­tims of human traf­ficking, specif­i­cally those forced to become sex workers.

Young vic­tims need to trust the police offi­cers, social workers and lawyers who advo­cate on their behalf, said Renee Payne-​​Callender, a Boston Police detec­tive who spoke at the event.

These girls need someone to advo­cate for them,” Payne-​​Callender said. “It’s impor­tant for me to build a rap­port with them so I can under­stand the truth about a par­tic­ular young lady, and it’s the same for you soon-​​to-​​be lawyers.”

Young girls forced into a life as a pros­ti­tute, stripper or other sex worker often see nothing wrong with their lives, explained Audrey Porter, the assis­tant director and coor­di­nator of sur­vivor ser­vices at My Life My Choice. Before working with vic­tims, Porter was one her­self: she spent years in Boston’s “Combat Zone” as a pros­ti­tute and stripper, devel­oping a drug habit out of the need to cope with life on the streets.

It is intense and I know they need you,” Porter said of the law stu­dents. “They need someone to advo­cate for them and let them see what this lifestyle really is.”

Stu­dents from the Law School began plan­ning the two-​​day dis­cus­sion on human traf­ficking last fall, at a time when Mass­a­chu­setts was one of four states in the nation without a com­pre­hen­sive human traf­ficking law, explained stu­dent orga­nizer Sarah Allar. Since then, law­makers have put a new bill in motion that would make it easier to refer vic­tims to social ser­vices and pros­e­cute the pimps and johns involved in a case.

The pro­gram con­tinues at 4 p.m. today with a panel enti­tled “Com­bating Exploita­tion: Dis­cussing Policy and Prac­tice,” which will take place in 230 Dockser Hall on Forsyth Street.