Trafficking in Persons Report

My name is Joseph Woltmann and I am currently a 2L at Regent University School of Law. I started volunteering at the Center my 1L year and since then, I have worked on a variety of projects for the Center. This semester I am working with Dean Walton on a project for the Ugandan Directorate of Prosecution. This project includes providing recommendations to Uganda, so that Uganda can be a Tier 1 Nation under the State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.

For this project, I have done a case study of Bahrain, a country which just recently became a Tier 1 Nation under the TIP Report. Specifically, I have researched the State Department’s TIP Reports of Bahrain to provide an analysis of Bahrain’s climb to Tier 1 status. Further, I also analyzed the TIP Reports of Uganda to provide a comparison between the two countries, in order to highlight similarities between the two countries’ recommendations. This will allow for better recommendations on how to address issues, and this will encourage Uganda in its pursuit of being a Tier 1 Nation.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


Education, Conviction, and Enlightenment: The Role of Parent’s Moral Convictions in Shaping Their Child’s Education

Greetings! My name is Jonathan Turner, and I am finishing up my 2L year at Regent University School of Law. I am from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and came to Regent because of the quality of professors that teach here, the mission of the school, and the generous aid they provided me. I joined the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law because I wanted to assist non-profit organizations in their mission defend freedom of religion, conscience, and association. This semester my research project is focused on the relationship between parental convictions and education for their children. Specifically, I have performed research on behalf of Christian Legal Fellowship of London, Ontario, Canada. Christian Legal Fellowship is a national legal charitable Christian organization in Canada which seeks to educate its members on and engage with deeply relevant political, religious, and social issues from a Christian worldview.

Education is essential to success for children around the world. What authority does a parent have in deciding the type of education his or her child receives? What deference should be given to a parent’s religious, moral, and philosophical convictions?

This semester, Joshua Barbosa, Destinee Easley, and I have performed research on the way other jurisdictions (especially other common law countries such as the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa) have handled the intricate relationship between parental religious, philosophical, and moral convictions, and the sway such convictions should give to the type of education offered to their child. Furthermore, we have looked to international conventions, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, and to how those conventions have been applied to domestic courts in other countries.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


Empowering the Poor and Oppressed in Bihar

My name is Deanna Joy (Roepcke) Longjohn and I am a Masters in Law Student serving as a student staff member for the Center for Global Justice. This semester I have the privilege of working on Entitlement research for Justice Ventures International’s (JVI) work in Bihar, India.

Justice Ventures International states that their mission is “to secure freedom, justice, and restoration for the poor and oppressed by strengthening ventures that promote justice. Our vision is to see unjust communities transformed into communities ordered according to God’s standard of love.”[1]

My work for the JVI project includes doing research for the Lawyers’ Manual on Entitlements for the Indian State of Bihar. I am specifically doing research on government subsidized resources for pregnant and nursing women as well as people with Tuberculosis.

In India, there is a high infant mortality rate. The government has provided entitlements to help nourish pregnant women and provide them with the money and resources they need to have a healthy pregnancy. These entitlements extend to women who are nursing as well.

The Indian government has provided many great entitlements to help raise up the poor populations in their country. Unfortunately, not many poor people have access to the resources to know what opportunities are presented to them. This Lawyer’s Manual will help lawyers in Bihar make these entitlements accessible to the poor and oppressed in India.

I have enjoyed the opportunity to do research on Indian entitlements. I have always had an interest in Indian culture and politics and it is interesting getting to do research on the subject. It has also been a joy to be able to practically help while I am still in school. While in school it can be disheartening to study so much that you lose sight of why you are pursuing your education. Having the privilege to do research for the Center has helped me retain my focus on why I am pursuing my degree. This research position has empowered me to continue my education with excellence so that one day I can work in the human rights field.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


Leaning into the Mess

International Human Rights is an incredibly messy, complicated field. But it’s the area of law I want to dedicate my life to. Oftentimes when I share my enthusiasm to pursue a career in the arena of human rights, I’m met with a grimace and, “Take that smile off your face and please, choose a different career path while you’re at it.” Honestly, I understand this perspective on some level.

I don’t think pursuing global justice could ever be seen as a simple or less challenging career path, but I also don’t think that gives me the mandate to throw my hands up and declare people suffering from a lack of justice as unworthy of my time, energy, or effort. Some of the hardest and most painful things in life are highly worthy of our time and pursuit.

I’m Jessica Sherwood and I’m a 2L serving as a student staff member for the Center for Global Justice. I’m currently working on a project dealing with Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in Uganda.

Intimate partner violence is one of the most prevalent forms of violence across Uganda, where, 68% of ever married women aged 15 to 49 years of age have experienced some form of violence inflicted by their spouse or intimate partner (Uganda Bureau of Statistics Report).

I champion and advocate for Uganda’s significant efforts and headway to enact legislation to provide legal rights for victims of domestic abuse and violence. These laws, including the Penal Code Act, the Domestic Violence Act, and the Sexual Offenses Bill, provide an incredible foundation and legal infrastructure to begin working towards reform for women who are victims of IPV.

Although I do applaud the beginning efforts, there is still much work to do as the bills listed above do not address significant issues related specifically to violence against women. Some judges and magistrates do not even own copies of the Act. The problem is furthered by the reality that some judges do not enforce the law even if they are aware because they consider gender-based abuse as a women’s issue.

There is a general lack of understanding and continuous cultural norms throughout Uganda that impose a duty on women to maintain a vow of silence no matter what takes place between her and her husband. Legal authority in Uganda has coined this term “a culture of silence” in which IPV is stigmatized and seen as secret.

I am honored to work on this project and discover how other African nations are addressing the issue. The progress is slow, but there is forward momentum. I am reading about how communities, legal infrastructures, nonprofits, and international organizations are coming together to continue to address the issue holistically.

I often think some of the most heinous crimes against humanity are held in secret. I believe we have an obligation to our fellow women and men to share the story and expose the truth. As Dr. Denis Mukwege, winner of the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize says, “justice is everyone’s business.” I believe each of us is called in our own sphere and capacity to, “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17).

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


The Caregiver Barrier

My name is Esther Neds and I am a 1L serving as a student staff member for the Center for Global Justice, working on a project for Shared Hope.

This semester I have had the opportunity to work on a project for Shared Hope analyzing the laws of all fifty states in the US regarding the availability of services to child-victims who have been trafficked. Certain states have laws that are written so that the definition of an abused child either doesn’t include trafficking or has a “caregiver barrier.” A caregiver barrier is created when the state defines abuse as an action done by a parent, guardian or caregiver. This definition means that if a child is a victim of human trafficking or sexual abuse and the perpetrator of the abuse is not related to or a guardian of the child, then that child will not qualify as abused under the statutory definition. The unqualified child will not be able to access many of the necessary services available to victims of abuse.

So far, I have been able to research the laws of four different states, all of which had different results. I was encouraged by one state, Delaware, because the previous research that had been done suggested that a caregiver barrier existed. The department of child services was only required to investigate allegations of child sexual abuse when it was committed by a family member. However, I discovered that Delaware has recently changed the law and now requires an investigation regardless of the perpetrator. I am excited to see that some states are listening and taking the threat of human trafficking seriously by changing their laws to help protect these children. Although some issues may require difficult changes, removing the caregiver barrier can be as simple as broadening a statutory definition, and that small change will make a world of difference to these children. 

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


Rights - A Simple Word with a Significant Meaning

Hi! My name is Ashna Desai and I am a 3L. The one thing I regret not joining early on in my law school career is the Center for Global Justice. I constantly heard of all the amazing work that the Center was doing not only in the U.S., but around the world! I wanted to be a part of something that truly changes lives. Thankfully, I was able to join the Center’s student staff during my last semester of law school and so far, it feels amazing to do something good!

I was assigned to help write a legal memo for Advocates International. Advocates International is a faith-based legal organization that actively works behind the scenes in gathering and sending advocates around the world to promote justice and equality to everyone. The assigned legal memo will argue against recently passed legislation that discriminates against minority religions within Bulgaria. This problem has added fuel to my recent thoughts. 

Lately, I have been wondering about the astounding amount of rights given to the American people. We are truly blessed to have the right to participate in our politics, the right to transport ourselves to various places around the world, the right to have privacy, and the right to educate ourselves on any topic we so desire. Unfortunately, many people from differing countries are not afforded the same rights as us. In fact, there are many rights we take for granted that others on the opposite side of the world are still fighting for. Up until a few months ago, women were banned from driving in Saudi Arabia. North Korea’s constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but events show severe persecution of Christians. Children are sacrificed, forced to marry at a young age, and/or sold in Uganda. I could describe countless matters where people do not have the same basic rights as Americans.

Taking a minute from my busy and privileged schedule, I thank the Lord for allowing me to live in a country that truly give me the rights to live my life according to my wishes. I should take advantage of my rights and fight for other countries to allow their citizens the same rights. This is what Advocates International does. This is what the Center for Global Justice does. I ask that you join us in using your rights to do something in helping others with little to no rights.

As Martin Luther King, Jr. stated “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


Do Juvenile Law Always Protect Children?

Hi! My name is Anna and I’m a 3L who is in my fourth semester working with the Center for Global Justice. For the last year and a half, I have been working on projects for Shared Hope International. These projects support Shared Hope on combating child sex trafficking in the United States and reforming state laws to better protect child victims.

The project I am working on now focuses on juvenile justice laws, and the ways that "abuse and neglect statutes" do (or do not!) protect children, especially children who have been sexually trafficked.

In my research of various state laws it has been surprising to learn that there are child protective statutes out there that in fact do not protect children. (As a side note, I do believe that the intent of the statute writers is to protect children, but legislators do not always anticipate some of the situations abused and neglected children are found in).

For example, some state statutes addressing abuse and neglect only provide for the definition of "abuse" being met, and therefore triggering the jurisdiction of Child Protective Services, when the abuse been perpetrated by a family member--or at least someone residing in the same home as the child. Accordingly, when the "abuse" occurs by other people, e.g., a trafficker, Child Protective Services is legally blocked or barred from providing services to child trafficking victims.

As we become more cognizant of situations taking place in the modern era, we must update our laws so that they continue to provide adequate support and protection for our youth. I am thankful to be assisting Shared Hope is this much needed work!