For the past several weeks, I have had the privilege of providing legal research for Shared Hope International, which is an organization that fights sex trafficking across the country. My job has been to research state statutes to determine whether each state has a statute that vacates a minor's conviction if it was the result of being a victim of sex trafficking.
Or, the next best scenario would be if the state has a general statute that allows one's conviction to be vacated if the individual was a victim of sex trafficking. If neither of these scenarios exist, then Shared Hope will push for such a statute to be enacted within that state.
Victims of sex trafficking are being convicted of crimes that they were forced to do. No victim of sex trafficking should have to endure the trauma of being trafficked and then be treated as a criminal for it. These statutes provide victims a way to remove the "offender" label placed on them to give them the opportunity to live a life of their choosing. I'm thankful for the opportunity to be part of changing the law to give victims of sex trafficking the life they deserve.
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.