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Intern Update – 6/12/12 (Danielle Gallaher)

Danielle Gallaher, 2L 

District Attorney’s Office –
Special Victims and Domestic
Violence Division

Human Trafficking 

                It has been about a year and eight months since I felt the Lord’s direction to come to Regent Law School. It was the Center for Global Justice that first attracted me to the school and the Lord’s calling on my life to fight against Human Trafficking. It was during that time that I was reading blogs from student interns who were being supported by the Center. Here I am now, serving as one of these interns with the first woman to prosecute a human trafficking case on the state level in Pennsylvania. She has been pushing for state courts to recognize and start prosecuting these cases. She was also appointed to a joint-state commission to advise and draft new human trafficking legislation.

                Since my first day, I have been given the opportunity to pick a jury, take part in both local and federal law enforcement efforts, review new human trafficking legislation currently being developed, take part in a closed meeting with Congressman Pat Meehan concerning the newly controversial VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) and to understand first-hand the responsibilities of being a prosecutor. Every day is a new adventure.

                My eyes have really been opened to the impact law enforcement has on the community. They work so hard to keep others safe and are on the front lines upholding justice in our society. 

                The one thing I have learned that is invaluable to the successful implementation of justice is interdependency. It takes the coordinated efforts of numerous facets of our society to uphold the values of our justice system and to protect individuals. Prosecutors cannot be a voice for victims alone. They rely on investigators, police officers, medical professionals, and witnesses to provide the evidence they need to prosecute. Non-governmental and social services are also relied on to provide assistance to victims and support for them in court. When these coordinated efforts work together, it provides a leverage of power to combat and prevent the domination and exploitation that targets the vulnerable. This principle of interdependency finds importance in Jesus’ promise that “when two or more are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20).

Last but not least, the church has an underestimated role in supporting the justice system. Unfortunately, something else I have seen in my internship is that many churches do not understand their role or recognize how to respond to victims, perpetrators and abuse.  Church leaders are in a very trusted and impactful position. When they do not work with law enforcement or teach forgiveness at the expense of allowing abuse to continue and not holding perpetrators accountable, there are serious consequences. It should be the children of God who fight the hardest for those in the community and are willing to become intimate with their struggles. God’s love and redemption have more potential than we can imagine and are all that can heal and provide hope for our society. We do not allow for this healing when we justify or allow abuse to continue.

I am very blessed to be serving and growing in my internship position. This important time in my life would not be possible without the support of the Center for Global Justice. It has widened my perspective and given me a tenacity to seek out and stand up for those who have been forgotten and abused.  Jesus had a way of noticing the unnoticeable. As the popular phrase goes, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”.  I’m determined to notice these weak links and to carry the presence of God wherever that leads.

   – Danielle Gallaher, 6/12/12