The following is an interview summary conducted with Joseph Kohm III related to his intern experience with the Center for Global Justice at Regent University’s School of Law. Read Joe’s personal account of his internship here and here.
Joseph attended the VA Military Institute (VMI). After graduation he joined the Army. He is part of the Army’s Student Delay program, which allows the student to attend the college of their choice with the army paying all the expenses. In exchange Joe will serve his country with the Army for four years after graduation. He has traveled and lived abroad. As a result of these opportunities he is very adaptable and has a unique perspective on the USA. Joseph loves the study of English and aspires to be a novelist and possibly work in Law enforcement (i.e., FBI).
Both of Joseph’s parents are attorneys. He says he spent his life attempting to run away from the Law; however, God called him to Regent University Law School to study. He’s uncertain what God’s specific plans are for him. And, he doesn’t know how God will use his law degree. However, he doesn’t believe it will be as a traditional attorney. He’s not a fan of the court room, but does know that whatever his future holds, a degree in law is needed.
If you’ve recently followed Joe’s blog you know that he just completed his internship at Universitas Pelita Harapan, a Christian law school in Indonesia that focuses on fighting sex and labor trafficking, protecting believers from persecution, and other Rule of Law issues. Joe worked for Professors Patrick Talbot, a Regent Law grad, and Jamie Williams of the law faculty by examining Indonesia’s human trafficking laws and creating a legal toolkit to educate judges and lawyers about sex trafficking cases and combating corruption.
Q: Share with me your interest in the issue of Human Trafficking?
I watched the movie Takenand it inspired me to learn more about the issue of human trafficking. I have a love for Christian music because it touches my heart and the lyrics speak to me. I enjoy alternative Christian music like the bands For Today and Silent Planet, who write lyrics and produce music videos about human trafficking.
Q: What next steps do you see for your future in the Law?
Once I graduate from Regent University in 2017 I’ll apply for the Army’s Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG Corps). If accepted I’ll serve four years working with the Army’s legal team. If I’m not accepted I’ll be required to serve the army in a more tradition position; combat, recruitment, supply chain etc. Potentially, I may negotiate with the army to serve eight years as a reservist instead of four years full-time.
Q: Tell me more about the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG Corps)
The U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps is a government organization that operates similar to a US court system. Its practitioners, referred to as Judge Advocates, are licensed attorneys qualified to represent the Army and Army Soldiers in military legal matters.
Oftentimes, Judge Advocates are tasked with representing Soldiers during court-martials; however, the JAG Corps actually encompasses a wide range of legal disciplines
including civil litigation, tort claims, labor law, and international law.
The areas of practice available to Judge Advocates rivals what most civilian law schools and firms provide, which makes the JAG Corps an excellent venue for young attorneys to gain experience in a competitive legal field.
Judge Advocates have the option of serving as full-time legal practitioners on active duty, or as members of the U.S. Army Reserve. Being a part of the JAG Corps offers you the opportunity to serve the United States as a member of the Judicial Branch and a champion of justice.
Q: What most surprised you about your intern experience?
The biggest surprise was the level of total and complete corruption in the country. If you want to be safe, you hire private security. There is limited freedom and limited protection to anyone who cannot pay for the protection. I love the USA despite our country’s many flaws but I never fully realized how good our country is and how much our freedom means. Still today, we are the greatest country in the world and should be a voice to the world for the protection the rights of all humans.
Q: Did anything unusual happen to you in Indonesia?
Yes. When I arrived in Indonesia I was picked up by a local car service (taxi). While putting my luggage in the trunk I noticed the driver had an AK47 rifle. When I questioned this, the driver explained, “You cannot trust the police. If you want to be safe, you need a weapon.” Organized crime seems to be a way of life in the country.
Q: How would you describe trafficking in Indonesia?
I divide trafficking into three basic areas: drugs, arms, and humans. The most depraved is the buying and selling of humans. Indonesian pimps buy young girls from their parents. Parents sell their children right into the sex trade because they desperately need money. Sometimes they unknowingly do so because they believe their daughters are going to be given a legitimate job.
I believe all forms of trafficking are caused by sinful desires such as the desire to have power and control over someone less fortunate. And, both lust and money are primary motivators for human traffickers. While I’m not a supporter of big government, I believe government should be part of the solution and solving the problem of buying and selling humans. The government needs to be the branch of enforcement especially in a country like Indonesia.
Q: What final thoughts would you like the readers to know?
Even though I have traveled abroad before (France, England etc.) my trip to Indonesia was unique. I believe Southeast Asia is largely forgotten by the USA and many other global powers. This, I believe, is due to the Vietnam War during the 60’s and early 70’s. As a result, we tend to turn a blind eye to the plight of the people in Southeast Asia.