CGJ Student Staff Update: Shannon Fields

This semester I had the privilege to work on a project for Shared Hope. My team and I researched statutes that could be used to prosecute facilitators of human trafficking and victim offenders/bottom girls. Shared Hope uses our research and analysis to determine whether a state’s statutes specifically target the individuals they were written to convict or if the state’s statutes are too broad. Shared Hope then gives each state legislature a grade to indicate how well their statutes are targeting their intended recipient. Then, ideally, the state legislatures will make the necessary changes to more narrowly target the individuals responsible for trafficking offenses. It is tedious work, but it is a privilege to have the opportunity to influence state trafficking statutes across the country. Nothing in law school has been more rewarding than the work I have done for the Center for Global Justice.

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.


CGJ Student Staff Update: Brandan Goodwin

Hello all and God Bless! My name is Brandan Goodwin and I am finishing up my 1L year at Regent University School of Law. I am on the student staff at the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law. The Center has allowed me a wonderful opportunity this summer to go and work with the Parliament of Mongolia and participate in a study abroad partnered with Handong International Law School.

What an amazing opportunity! I am very excited to work with the Mongolian Parliaments only Christian Parliamentary and do meaningful legal work in advancing the rights of Christians and the Rule of Law.  I will be going June 15 – August 5. During this time I will be splitting time between both the parliamentarian’s office and working with the Mongolia Rule of Law institute working on meaningful projects to further rule of law across the region.  This is an a wonderful chance do to meaningful legal work outside of the lectures or classroom and work on projects that have a real world impact for the people of another 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.


Regent Law Students Take First Place in Ukraine Competition

Natasha (L) and Chelsea (R) with their Coach, Regent Law Professor Jim Davids

Third-year law students Chelsea Mack and Natasha Delille, both former CGJ interns and student staff members, took first place at the Third Annual Ukrainian Student Summit in Dnepopetrovsk, Ukraine.

This year the competition consisted of 22 teams from Ukraine, Poland, Romania, and the U.S., and the topic was The Challenge to Democracy in Increasing Globalization.

The purpose of the ІІІ International Student Summit is raising the level of education of applicants of Higher Education on topical issues of modern state processes law-making and law enforcement in Ukraine; increasing positive image of the legal profession; gaining the practical experience during the communication with scientists, politicians, practicing lawyers, representatives of state and local governments; improving legal education in Ukraine; further development of the institution of the national idea as the driving force of national progress in Ukraine etc.

Chelsea and Natasha presented on judicial reform in Ukraine and used examples from NYC and Uganda to show practical steps that Ukraine can take to become a greater democratic nation in the age of globalization.


CGJ Student Staff Update from Lorri Ann Drazan

The spring semester (my last semester as a first year in law school…yikes!) is coming to a close. The work I am doing on Shared Hope’s Protected Innocence Challenge is also coming to a close. As a team, the student staff working on this project, has analyzed all 50 U.S. states and their respective statutes on sex trafficking facilitators. I have personally analyzed nine states, including my home state of Texas. I have learned that even statutes intended for good, to punish sex trafficking facilitators, can sometimes have unforeseen consequences. The unforeseen consequences that we are particularly interested in are the repercussions on victim-offenders. Victim-offenders are distinct from facilitators, because facilitators typically act in order to financially benefit. Two of the concerns that victim-offenders face are (1) being required to register as a sex-offender and (2) the termination of parental rights. Myself and the other student staff members on this project look at state statutes regarding the facilitation of sex trafficking to see if there is a requirement that the act be done to derive a financial benefit. If a financial benefit component is not required, then victim-offenders could potentially be prosecuted for “facilitating” sex trafficking. It has been my pleasure to work on a project that gives a voice to the victims of sex trafficking. It is my hope that our research can be used by Shared Hope to propose constructive feedback to state legislators.

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.


CGJ Student Staff Update from Courtney Knox

This blog post was written by CGJ Student Staff member Courtney Knox.

As we finish the semester, my peers and I have continuously worked hard to provide Shared Hope with as much information as we can with regard to each of the 50 states statutes and how they may apply to victim-offenders. Our goal is that Shared Hope can take all of that information and use it to make recommendations to state legislators in order to improve state laws so that victim-offenders will be better protected. Working on this project has really opened my eyes to the complexities and nuances of sex trafficking. I have always had a heart for this issue and, at times, believed I had a decent understanding of it. However, I now know that what I had was a very basic understanding of it with so much to learn. Of course, there will always be something new to learn or understand and I am excited to continue in this process. Laws are continually changing and with such changes come new challenges and responsibilities in making sure that states laws are not unjustly targeting victims of sex trafficking, but are actually reaching those true facilitators and traffickers that the laws are intended to reach.

This semester has shown me the importance of keeping track of states’ trafficking (and related) laws, as well as asking the right questions regarding those laws: Who are the ones actually being targeted by the law? What are the far-reaching implications of the law, and how can the law be further developed or altered so that it reaches the true traffickers? Asking these types of questions and seeing the results it could have in affecting legislation has given me a deeper appreciation for policy and the role it plays in the fight against sex trafficking.

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.


Bearing Fruit with God’s Word

This blog post was written by CGJ Student Staff member Jon Greig.

This is my final blog post for the Center for Global Justice.  During the last two semesters, I’ve had the privilege to work on a religious freedom project regarding the nation of Turkey, as I talked about in my last few blog posts.  The project is not yet finished, but I know that other capable hands will carry it forward after I graduate. 

Since this is my last post, I wanted to offer some thoughts that I hope will be both an encouragement and a challenge to you.  We live in a time where there are more words in writing than there has ever been in the history of the world.  We live in an age of abundant knowledge (see Daniel 12:4).  Yet, we also live in a time of abundant problems, proof that human sinful nature has not changed.  One of those problems is certainly religious persecution. 

Despite laws and standards in writing that guarantee religious freedom, when the rule of law is not present in a nation, those rights can amount to little.  For example, documents such as the United Nations “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” and “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” guarantee religious freedom, as does the European Convention on Human Rights.  Turkey’s Constitution guarantees religious freedom as well.  Despite this paper right, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCRIF) classified Turkey as a “tier 2” status for 2016.  This means that religious freedom violations by Turkey’s government are serious and characterized as systematic, ongoing and/or egregious (see http://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/USCIRF%202016%20Annual%20Report.pdf).     

Dr. Mark Rutland, one of my favorite preachers, writes that right now is actually the most dangerous time to be a Christian in all human history.  He cites a report which states that 90,000 Christians were martyred in the year 2016 and another 600 million were not entirely free to worship.  You can read his full blog post here:  http://www.globalservants.org/connect/blog/370-new-millennium-martyrdom.

It should come as no surprise that Christians all over the world suffer persecution to varying degrees.  Jesus promised that if the world persecuted him, we would be persecuted as well (see John 15:18-25).  Inevitably, if we follow Christ, we will all face some form of hatred and persecution, even here in the United States.

I believe that a key to overcoming in the face of persecution is found in Jesus’ Parable of the Sower (see Matthew 13:1-23 and Luke 8:4-15).  Jesus said that some of the seeds sown by the farmer fell on stony ground.  Though these seeds sprang up quickly, they withered away in the sun because of their lack of depth.  Jesus explained that this ground represents people who initially receive God’s word with joy, but they stumble when tribulation or persecution arises.  They fall away due to not being rooted deeply in the word.  Those with good ground, however, bear fruit with the word.  Jesus said, “But the ones that fell on the good ground are those who, having heard the word with a noble and good heart, keep it and bear fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15). 

Opposition tests the quality of the foundation we have built in our lives with God’s word.  To draw an analogy, I’ll liken God’s word to rights written on paper that protect religious freedom.  Those rights are wonderful rights, perhaps even eloquently drafted.  But if the people who are supposed to enforce those rights lack character, the rights can be ineffective.  In a nation like ours, governed by “We the People”, the quality of our rights depends on the character of the people.  Likewise, God’s word is indeed powerful, but if we do not make it our foundation, it will not bear fruitful character in our lives.

One thing that stands out to me from the parable is that God holds us responsible for what we do with His word.  Those who produce a good crop are those with a “noble and good heart.”  What does it take to have a good and noble heart?  I believe the person with a good and noble heart is the person who humbly receives God’s word and, with child-like faith, commits to persevering as a disciple of Jesus.

One thing I have found beneficial in my walk with Christ is learning to meditate on God’s word.  Sometimes I’ll sit by my bed at night with Scriptures I have written out and spoken them over and over out loud to myself.  Through this practice, I’ve seen some positive changes in my character; I’ve seen fruit in my life.  In Luke’s version of the parable, Jesus said the plants withered away because they “lacked moisture” (v. 6).  For a seed to bear fruit, it needs to be watered.  Likewise, we need to discipline ourselves to give attention to God’s word, to water ourselves and our families with His word.  Through the power of God’s word, despite persecution and pressures, we can be victorious in every opposition and be fruitful in the Lord.

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.


What does it mean to protect life?

This blog post was written by CGJ Student Staff Member Moriah Schmidt

I am working on a project involving abortion, specifically looking at the structures Uganda has in place to protect the life of the unborn. Much of Africa has retained more of a faith-based ideology than the Western world, often choosing to keep abortion illegal because of a desire to protect life at all stages. Others do not agree with this policy and strive to change it.

One of the reasons that people argue for abortion is because of the high maternity mortality rate, alleging that providing abortion access will cut down on this death rate. However, there are some problems with this argument. First, the biggest need in developing countries in order to cut down on the maternity rate is probably better healthcare and better access to doctors and hospitals for those living in rural areas – not access to abortions. As Christians, to advocate for life and protect the unborn, we should do our best to develop these and show that we do care about the health of the mothers and the unborn, by fighting to protect them throughout the whole pregnancy.

Second, abortion destroys lives. When much of Africa has decided that they want to protect their citizens, born or unborn, that decision should be respected. Legalizing abortions carries many risks; e.g., that people will de-value their children, that sex-selective abortions will rise, and that women will receive abortions without being aware of the risks.

I love being able to work on international law projects, embracing the cultural diversity of other countries. In my human trafficking class, often my cultural perspective is shattered and built up again. Some cultural practices are harmful, but not all are; for instance, some countries primarily get married by arranged marriages and that has been effective (in some countries, it seems arranged marriages are more resilient, with fewer divorces than the United States).

Uganda has protections for human life in their Constitution, and that decision should not be attacked. Other ways of protecting mothers and the unborn should be used and encouraged, because abortion does not simply end the risk of a woman dying in childbirth – it ends a life.

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.