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Center for Global Justice Intern – Michael Aiello

Michael Aiello, 2L
International Justice Mission
Human Trafficking

I am excited and blessed to be working with International Justice Mission Thailand as a legal intern this summer. I am not sure which is going to be the greater adventure, being in Thailand or writing a blog entry, seeing how both are firsts for me.

The logical place to start is how did I get here and why International Justice Mission (IJM). Well, I took a few planes via DC, Paris (€3 for a bottle of water−not cool), and Bangkok and IJM is downright awesome. But seriously you probably know that I have a heart for serving others, especially those who have been oppressed by violent crimes such as human trafficking. This passion and calling is the reason I am at Regent University School of Law and thus Thailand. To learn more about the violent reality of oppression, I invite you to read any of Gary Haugen’s books, founder and CEO of IJM, IJM’s story web page[1], or click on the YouTube Link[2] (see footnotes below). The tragic truth that people violate children dozens of times a day has called me to action.

I first learned about human trafficking during Thanksgiving weekend 2011 in a sermon by my former youth pastor. It clenched my heart and demanded I do something. To make a long story short I changed my undergraduate focus from European Union’s bilateral relationship with the United States to combating human trafficking. While writing my senior theses on trafficking I kept coming across an organization that not only raised awareness, but went to the darkest parts of the world and made a real difference in people’s lives. As you can probably guess that organization is IJM.

After graduating from James Madison (Go Dukes!), I was blessed to intern with IJM HQ in 2012. That internship was amazing, but the pertinent thing is that it lead me to law school. One of the Vice Presidents told me that if I really wanted to make a difference in the oppressed lives I need to use the law.

Back then when you googled “law school human trafficking” there were only two schools that popped up: University of Michigan School of Law and Regent University School of Law. I’m sorry to say when I just googled it Regent was not even in the first few pages. We need to change that ASAP. Anyway, Regent, largely due to the Center of Global Justice located on campus, was the clear choice for me. For the sake of brevity I’ll talk more about the Center in future posts.

Somehow I recently completed my first year of law school. Which in itself is no small task (feel free to ask any law student for confirmation). Something about the eighty hour workweeks and perpetual fear of being called on . . . especially on the rules against perpetuity. Let’s just say it wasn’t easement. Oh law puns!

Traditionally a law student does an internship between his/her first and second year as well as in between their second and third year. For those of you who do not know a law degree is called a Juirs Doctor (J.D.). It is ninety credit hours. Lawyers are technically doctors, but go by esquire if anything in the states (feel free to Wikipedia it, I may just have). Since the reason I am at law school is to equip myself to serve the oppressed, I want my first internship experience to focus on exactly that.

Which leads me to where I am now, Thailand. Once again I find myself blessed to be able to work with IJM and am thankful for the Center of Global Justice making it financially possible.

For those of you who don’t know, International Justice Mission is a global organization of investigators, lawyers, and other professionals who work with the local community and judicial system to protect the poor from violent oppression throughout the developing world. IJM Thailand is one of eighteen field offices. Each office has their own focus of oppressions ranging from human trafficking to minority groups citizenship rights. Thailand casework includes child sexual assault and minority groups citizenship rights. I’ll be lending a hand in both of these as well as brewing the coffee. Which I must say is amazing. There is a coffee shop on almost every block and 95% of them are not Starbucks.

That about sums up the first post. There will be more to come!

P.S. I had a gecko tail fall on me during my first day at the office. I wonder if that is a sign for good luck?


  • Unknown says:

    I enjoyed your first post and look forward to more! God has blessed you with finding the passion to know what you want to do with your life…..and you WILL succeed and help make our world a better place!!! I wish you A L L…T H E….B E S T…this summer and in your future path of goals!!! Cindy Wei

  • Unknown says:

    Thank you so much Mrs. Wei! I sincerely all of your support!