Monday, March 30, 2015

IJM's First Rescue Operation in Ghana Frees 10 Children from Slavery

Breaking news about the first rescue of International Justice Mission's new Ghana office!
Dear  Friend,
This week we worked with officials in Ghana to rescue 10 boys from slavery in the fishing industry.
Ghana boat
Throughout the weekend, we were receiving ongoing reports from the frontlines. On the first morning our team found and rescued one boy named Gideon,* who our investigators first met in 2013.
Significant obstacles beyond our control set us back, and unfortunately it was too late to search for more children. So we consulted with the police and other officials, and decided that together we would go back the next day.
The next day our team set out at 3:00 AM and targeted a cove with several wooden fishing boats. Children as young as 5 were hard at work, pulling in nets with their tiny but strong arms. We helped police rescue them and bring them to safety.
The boys were initially exhausted, hungry and afraid. But throughout the weekend, the boys eventually became energetic, laughing and constantly asking to play soccer.
Our supporters and friends have made this beautiful beginning of freedom possible.
This is our first rescue operation in Ghana, but it won’t be the last. We are so grateful you’re in this journey with us.
Sean Litton
Senior Vice President of Justice Operations 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy Publishes First Edition

Thanks to Aaron Lindquist, Editor-in-Chief of the Regent Journal of Global Justice & Public Policy, for an update on the first edition of the journal:
The Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy has released its very first issue. The Journal was established in 2014, as the result of the merger between the Regent Journal of International Law and the Regent Journal of Law and Public Policy. The Journal serves to fill the void in the global justice field by publishing articles, notes, comments, and book reviews by practitioners, professors, and students from a Christian perspective.
The Journal’s first issue is an eclectic mix of articles, student notes, and symposium transcripts. Regent University School of Law Dean Jeffrey Brauch introduces the Journal and talks about its importance, its unique mission, and the aspirations for the Journal. The articles address the effect of asylum’s nexus clause on individuals seeking asylum in the United States on persecution grounds and the politicization of Cameroon’s judicial system. The student notes address the effects sex-selective abortion in India has on girls and the need for self-regulation within the Indian medical profession; and why governments across the globe do not need to promulgate further regulations to effectively regulate Bitcoin. The symposium transcripts contain remarks from the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law’s ® 3rd Annual Symposium on Advancing the Rule of Law in East Africa. The transcripts address overcoming barriers in advancing the rule of law and lessons learned from African law and culture.
As the Editor-in-Chief of a new journal, it is exciting to see the hard work everyone has put into getting the Journal off the ground come to fruition in the form of our first publication. It has been a challenging, and sometimes frustrating, task to move a brand new journal in the right direction. However, the hard work of my excellent staff has made that possible. I am excited at the thought of future issues contributing to the global justice field by speaking “up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8. By addressing topics from a Christian worldview, the Journal adds a unique perspective to the world of legal academic scholarship regarding global justice. 
The Journal is affiliated with the Center for Global Justice. It is exciting to work with such a similarly minded organization. The Journal co-sponsored the Center’s 4th Annual Symposium on Human Rights and the Sexualization of Culture on February 21, 2015. Additionally, the Journal will be publishing transcripts of the Center’s symposia going forward. The Center has also provided material for the Journal’s blog and will be a consistent contributor to the Journal’s print publication and online presence. The opportunity to draw on the strengths of each organization ensures that both will better accomplish their missions and objectives. I look forward to seeing how this affiliation allows each organization to do great things in the Global Justice field!

 Click here to learn more about the Journal of Global Justice and Public Policy

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Student Staff Update: Emily Arthur and Shared Hope International

One of my student staff projects this semester has been assisting Shared Hope with the Protected Innocence Challenge (PIC). Shared Hope is a Christian non-profit organization that strives to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking, restore victims of sex slavery, and bring justice to vulnerable women and children.  As part of its efforts to bring justice to sex trafficking victims in the United States, Shared Hope, through the PIC, conducts a comprehensive study of state laws to assist advocates in advancing legislative change.  Under the PIC, every state receives a Report Card that grades the state on 41 key legislative components that must be addressed in a state’s laws in order to effectively respond to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking. In addition, each state receives a complete analysis and recommendations chart (A&R) of this 41-component review and practical recommendations for improvement.

My project this semester has focused on making sure these charts are up to date.  I read through the relevant A&R sections to ensure that all laws have been updated.  After I review one chart, I usually meet with another student staff member and we review each other’s work to make sure nothing was missed.  We then send our changes to the Administrative Director for his review. Assuming he has no questions and approves our work, our charts are then sent to Shared Hope, who uses these charts to educate state representatives on specific issues their state is facing.

The most difficult part of this project is being able to analyze the law to see if any changes have been made in the past year.  As difficult as this work can be, it is also very rewarding.  Knowing that my work is being sent to state representatives to help educate them on issues regarding human trafficking is priceless and well worth the effort. 

Center Update: When Ernie Walton, Administrative Director of the Center, was advocating with Shared Hope this past January and February at the Virginia Senate, Shared Hope distributed the exact charts that we had updated the previous year.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Student Staff Update: Palmer Hurst

Thanks to 2L Palmer Hurst for the following update on his work as a Center for Global Justice student staff member.
The Land and Equity Movement of Uganda (LEMU) is a Ugandan non-profit organization dedicated to protecting community land rights through legal recognition and representation. In much of Africa, individual property rights are a foreign idea that have yet to take hold, so some Africans like LEMU have gone back to traditional communal views of property, updating them to the modern world. The idea is simple: let Africans solve their problems in uniquely African ways. Traditional clan groups, particularly in the rural north, are often exploited, marginalized, and ignored by the government. Much of Africa is still informally organized around traditional clan based structure, and LEMU’s goal is the legal recognition and protection of these community lands. LEMU works with rural communities in several ways, including legal representation and advocacy, dispute mediation, filing for title paperwork, and establishing formal community rules and property boundaries. 
Over this past summer, I was lucky enough to intern with LEMU. I spent the majority of my time in Lira, a town in the north-central region of the country. During my time there, I represented several LEMU clients in Ugandan court at both trial and appeal, visited rural communities to mediate dispute resolutions and assist clans in setting up formal rules for their lands. I also assisted LEMU in drafting and publishing academic papers, scholarly articles, and legal opinions to file with the Ugandan High Court, and helped facilitate educational seminars for Ugandan police, judges, attorneys, and legislatures to highlight the need for solid and sustainable land policy. Tensions regarding land disputes run high, and it is no exaggeration to say that LEMU’s work during my time there saved lives.
After returning to Regent, I was able to continue my work with LEMU remotely. Working from the Center for Global Justice, I have continued to support LEMU by editing and formatting documents for court submission, drafting policy briefs, and assisting with research. My largest ongoing project is completing training manuals for the LEMU staff, so that the staff can have a uniform and comprehensive approach to Uganda’s continued land rights struggle.
Center for Global Justice intern Chelsea Mack (1L) will be working with LEMU this summer, so stay tuned for additional updates on this work.

Learn more about the Center for Global Justice interns and student staff.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sex Trafficking Victims Doubly Harmed by Forced Abortions

This post was originally published by Regent Law Professor Lynne Marie Kohm, on her Family Restoration blog.
By its very nature the crime of human trafficking not only rips women and children from their families but also works to strip each victim of his or her humanity. It also destroys families.
A recent study reported on by Genevieve Plaster at revealed that 55% of sex trafficking victims become pregnant and are forced into abortions. She writes, "Sex trafficking in particular, which is categorized by law as a 'severe form' of human trafficking, rebrands the person as a product to be bought and sold for pleasure. In the United States alone, the Central Intelligence Agency estimates that around 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States and as many as 400,000 domestic minors are also involved in the trade each year. These alarming figures testify to the firm foothold that this hidden criminal activity has in the United States."
When the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing in the fall of 2014 on a bill highlighting the importance of healthcare professionals in their role on the front lines of identifying victims of trafficking and responding appropriately, the Trafficking Awareness Training for Health Care Act of 2014 was introduced by North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers (R). The law's objective was to provide proper training for these professionals to allow them to recognize indicators of trafficking and offer help.
Former Senior Advisor on Trafficking in Persons for the U.S. Department of State and founder of the non-profit Global Centurion, Laura Lederer was one of five witnesses who testified, Plaster reported. "According to Dr. Lederer’s recent study entitled, The Health Consequences of Sex Trafficking and Their Implications for Identifying Victims in Healthcare Facilities, out of the 107 sex trafficking survivors surveyed, 87.7% reported seeking care from a healthcare professional during the time of trafficking. More specifically, the most common point of contact occurred in the emergency room with 63% of victims seeking care there. These new findings – in contrast with the much lower overall 28% figure found in a 2005 study cited in the Hearing Memo – emphasize the significant role that a healthcare provider can play in preventing further abuse."
The fastest growing industry in the world is human trafficking, or trafficking in persons (TIP), and it refers to the activity of holding a person in a compelled service, and is a crime under U.S. and international law. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) defines sex trafficking in particular as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.” This industry generates about $32 billion each year.
Two states are actively working to end human trafficking in their jurisdictions, New York and Ohio, and each has relied on the research of Prof. Tessa Dysart on the victimization of children in human trafficking.  Furthermore, Professor Kathleen McKee and I have published a piece that details how human trafficking is connected with population policies that promote abortion and sterilization.
Accurately referred to as “modern- day slavery,” human sex trafficking destroys individuals and families, and unborn victims alike. It is a tragedy that cannot be allowed to stand. If you'd like to do something about it, contact Regent Law's Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law at and get involved in ending the scourge of human trafficking and its destruction of individuals and families.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Center for Global Justice Student Staff Update

To provide Regent Law students with practical experience in the legal protection of human rights, and to serve and support those in the field, the Center created the Student Staff. The Student Staff is a group of 20-25 law students who work on legal projects, including writing articles and reports, drafting amicus briefs, and conducting research, throughout the school year. These projects are done for legal organizations working in the field.

These soon-to-be-lawyers have already accomplished some great things this semester, including helping the Kids Are Not For Sale Coalition pass a sex trafficking bill in Virginia. If you read the bill, you will find the language below, some of which is the exact language from research that our student staff did last semester. Section A reads: 
A. Any person who, with the intent to receive money or other valuable thing or to assist another in receiving money or other valuable thing from the earnings of a person from prostitution or unlawful sexual intercourse in violation of subsection A of § 18.2-346, solicits, invites, recruits, encourages, or otherwise causes or attempts to cause a person to violate subsection A of § 18.2-346 is guilty of a Class 5 felony.
Our student staff worked to find the language in a number of statutes across the country, and that language was adopted into the Virginia legislation.

But our work is not done. Our student staff have a number of projects to finish this semester for organizations that are counting on our work. In the next few months, we will be providing more details on the organizations and projects where our student staff are making a difference.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Guardian Ad Litem CLE for Virginia Attorneys

The Center for Global Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law and the Virginia CLE Presents Representation of Children as a Guardian ad Litem. This 7 credit CLE is required for all attorneys looking to receive their certification as Guardians ad Litem in Virginia.

Third-year law students will receive 7 CLE credits athat can be applied to their post-bar Virginia CLE requirements. (Find all qualification standards here.)

  • Free to all third-year students and members of the public.
  • $50 for attorneys seeking Virginia CLE credit hours.

Registration and breakfast begin at 8:00 a.m. Program begins at 8:30 a.m.