Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Administrative Director Ernie Walton Interviewed by CBN News

Ernie Walton, administrative director for Regent University's Center for Global Justice, was interviewed by CBN News regarding recent anti-trafficking legislation in Virginia.

Read the full story on CBN News here.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Center for Global Justice and Journal of Global Justice Hosts the 4th Annual Symposium

Just a few weeks ago, box offices around the globe hit shattering records with the release of a blockbuster film celebrating sex as a form of submission and entertainment.

But on Saturday, Feb. 21, Regent University's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law along with the Regent Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy, hosted the fourth annual Global Justice Symposium: Human Rights and the Sexualization of Culture. 

The symposium featured panel discussions of leading experts who delved into the hyper-sexualized topics of the foundation of human rights; areas where there are certainly more than fifty shades of grey.

"It was incredibly relevant and timely content for the world today," said Ernie Walton '11 (School of Law), administrative director for the Center for Global Justice. "The world is talking about these issues, but not in the right way."

Walton explained that though these topics — such as pedophilia, and sexual slavery — are oftentimes taboo in the Christian sect, that shouldn't prohibit those with a biblical worldview from engaging in these important discussions.

"As soon as you change your sexual ethic and you have an 'anything goes' attitude toward sexuality, you don't know where the line is," said Walton. "We have to look at these issues from God's perspective."

Three panels explored topics in human rights: the sex as a business panel was led by Scott Alleman, assistant Commonwealth's attorney at the Virginia Beach Commonwealth's Attorney's Office; and Laila Mickelwait, manager of Policy and Public Affairs for Exodus Cry.

The foundation of human rights panel was led by Matthew Franck, director of the Willam E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution; and Jeffery Ventrella, senior counsel/senior vice-president of strategic training for the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Finally, the children as property discussion was led by Naomi Cahn, professor at George Washington University Law School; Jim Dwyer, professor at William & Mary School of Law; Arina Grossu, director for the Center on Human Dignity; and Lynne Marie Kohm, professor at Regent's School of Law.

The highlight for Walton, however, was learning that all is not lost in the battle of sex-trafficking from speaker Benjamin Nolot, founder and president of Exodus Cry (pictured). Nolot's anti-trafficking organization is dedicated to abolishing modern-day slavery and assisting survivors through their acclimation to life after being rescued.

"My primary goal is about the students," said Walton. "As they sit there and listen to the same topics but from different speakers, they're able to think about these issues critically. We want them to realize our worldview and how we look at these issues matter. It's all interconnected."

The discussions brought forth from the panel illustrated that though there is still major work to be done in these fields, there's hope for the future.

"There is a lot of legal work to be done, but first and foremost the battles we face regarding sex in today's culture are spiritual battles," said Walton. "Certainly something that everyone can do is to start praying to create long-term change."

Learn more about Regent University School of Law's and the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law and the Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Court Grants Freedom Firm's Petition to Allow Video Conferencing for Trafficking Victims

The following blog post is an update from Regent Law Center for Global Justice intern Stockton Brown (pictured) on the work she did this past summer at Freedom Firm:
Rescue from the slave trade is only the first part of the recovery for victims of sex trafficking. From the point that the rescued girls reach the police station, they begin a somewhat tumultuous journey to recovery and reintegration into society.  Part of that recovery includes acquiring a marketable skill such as jewelry making or textile working. Although not directly beneficial to the recovery of the girl, seeking justice on her behalf through the prosecution of the brothel owner is part of the process at Freedom Firm, an anti-human trafficking organization based in Ooty, India, which has a three pronged mission of Rescue, Restoration, and Justice.
As a recipient of the Center for Global Justice grant, I interned in the summer of 2015 in Freedom Firm’s office in Pune, India.  During my second week, I attended court with Evan Henck, the director of the western region of Freedom Firm, as well as a 2007 Regent Law alum.  We were bringing a petition before the court to request video conferencing for a victim of trafficking who had been rescued by Freedom Firm and repatriated to Bangladesh.  Her name was Sita.*  As a young trafficking survivor, Sita had already endured tremendous physical and emotional trauma.  While testifying in court is essential for bringing a case against a brothel keeper, it is a difficult experience for the girls to recount their experience before the perpetrator and a room of strangers.  That week, while in the rickshaw, Evan explained to me that our petition to the court, if granted, would prepare the way for girls who had been repatriated to their home countries to avoid the financial and emotional cost implicit in coming back to India to testify in court.  Instead, if granted, the petition would allow the girls to remain in their home country and testify via video conferencing, thereby allowing them to testify without costly travel and emotional expense and without appearing in court before the brothel keeper.  
When we arrived in the courtroom, we were met by the public prosecutor who read the petition and immediately signed it.  Subsequently, the judge granted the petition, and what had been two years in the making became a reality.  However, the next day we were not surprised to learn that the defense attorney had opposed the petition, arguing that it could not have been granted without hearing from him.  Therefore, I began my research project for the summer -- finding support in existing case law for video conferencing and the proper procedure that should be followed, if the petition should be granted.  While video conferencing for a repatriated victim of trafficking was without precedent, video conferencing had been previously used in criminal cases for the defendants.  Throughout my internship, I periodically met with the local advocate (attorney) affiliated with Freedom Firm, who representing Sita in her case.
In October of 2014, after argument from both Freedom Firm and the defense, the court granted the petition.  However, it is now well into 2015, and the two governments of India and Bangladesh have yet to cooperate to facilitate the video conferencing for Sita’s case.   We are thankful for the granting of this petition for video conferencing and praying for the day when Sita will be able to testify, bringing the brothel keeper to justice and bringing some degree of closure to this part of her past.  
*Name has been changed to protect identity.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Urgent Action Needed to Ensure that Virginia Enacts a Strong Sex Trafficking Law!

Please see the email below from Kids Are Not for Sale in VA.  You can help get a sex trafficking bill passsed in Virginia in literally just 30 seconds.  Click on the link to sign the action alert, provide your information, and submit.

Urgent action needed to ensure that Virginia enacts a strong sex trafficking law!

Companion bills HB 1964 and SB 1188 will be reconciled in Conference Committee, and immediate action is needed to make sure the protections in the House version are retained in the final bill. Let the Conference Committee know that Virginia needs to give prosecutors and law enforcement powerful tools to combat sex trafficking in the Commonwealth by signing on to the action alert now!

Kids Are Not For Sale in VA is a collective effort between prosecutors, law enforcement, advocacy groups, hospitals, schools, and associations that support legislation that would establish a strong sex trafficking law in Virginia. Please check the KANFS webpage for updates!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Center for Global Justice Symposium on February 21, 2015

Plan now to join Regent University, and other human rights advocates, as we continue to seek justice, both locally and globally. The three panels of the symposium will discuss the foundations of human rights (primarily as it relates to sexual autonomy), and two negative legal effects of the contemporary understanding of the human body: sex as a business and children as property.

Benjamin Nolot, founder and president of Exodus Cry, will close the event with a challenging address during the evening fundraising banquet at The Founders Inn.

Register for the symposium here.

"This symposium is important, because it calls forth discussion of topics that are at the forefront of culture but that many Christians are unwilling to talk about," said Ernie Walton, director of Regent's Center for Global Justice. "As Christians, we must be leaders in talking about difficult issues, bringing Christ and His truth to bear on all things."

Several subject-matter experts will preside over the panels, including Arina Grossu, director of the Center for Human Dignity of the Family Research Council; Laila Mickelwait, manager of policy and public affairs for Exodus Cry; Scott Alleman, assistant Commonwealth's attorney; and Jeff Ventrella, senior counsel/senior vice-president of Strategic Training Alliance Defending Freedom.

Registration for the event is free and open to the community. Fees apply to attendees participating in the luncheon and banquet portions of the event.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

House Sub-Committee Adopts Amendment to Sex Trafficking Bill

The following is an update from the Kids Are Not for Sale Coalition:
The House Criminal Law Sub-Committee voted unanimously to report HB 1964 out of Sub-Committee last night!!! 
The Sub-Committee adopted a Substitute Amendment based on an improved version of the language the Senate Courts of Justice adopted in the sex trafficking companion bill, SB 1188, last week. Due to concern over the Fiscal Impact of the bill and wanting to ensure that the bill does not die once it reaches Appropriations, we had to concede on a few matters; however, it remains a strong bill that establishes a sex trafficking law in Virginia! The legislators have assured us that they are committed to continuing to strengthening the law addressing human trafficking in future sessions. 
HB 1964 will be heard by the House Courts of Justice Committee later this week.
Photo by Kids Are Not for Sale in VA 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Stand in Support for Va Sex Trafficking Statute Monday 2/2/15

Photo by Kids Are Not For Sale
HB 1964, Delegate Hugo's sex trafficking statute, will be heard Monday, February 2 in the Criminal Law subcommittee of the House Courts of Justice. 

Center for Global Justice Administrative Director Ernie Walton will be headed to Richmond with the Kids Are Not For Sale (KANFS) Virginia Coalition to stand in support of this important piece of legislation to help end sex trafficking in Virginia.

We invite everyone to attend and to wear red to support the Virginia Kids Are Not For Sale Coalition. 

To learn more about human trafficking, see these articles written by Regent Law Professors Kathleen McKee, Lynne Marie Kohm, and Tessa Dysart:

The Center for Global Justice is committed to academic scholarship and seeks to engage the legal community on human rights issues from a biblical perspective. Click here to view articles and reports published by Regent Faculty and/or the Center for Global Justice.