The Seaman’s Branch was dedicated to protecting sailors from abuse. Boarding house runners—who were notorious for kidnapping sailors and pressing them into service—were early targets of this branch. Unscrupulous labor agents known as “crimps,” who illegally charged seamen for securing employment as berths on ships, were also a concern of the Seaman’s Branch. Indeed, the Branch began The Legal Aid Society’s long and honored presence in the federal courts because of its progress protecting the rights of sailors through litigation, proposed legislation, and education about their rights and obligations with respect to employment.
Last Updated: 29 April 2019
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