As a first-year law student, and new member of the student staff, it has been a wonderful opportunity getting to work with the Center for Global Justice. To witness not only the great legal work being done but the selflessness and dedication my peers bring to each and every project in order to help the poor and the oppressed is truly humbling. The first year of law school is scary and overwhelming to say the least. But working with the Center has been the best experience, and many times, is a reminder of why I came to law school in the first place. Joining the Center this semester has provided me a unique opportunity to take what I’m learning in the classroom and work on a legal project that is aimed at helping those who are victims of sex trafficking.
|1L Courtney Knox
Specifically, I have been working on a project for Shared Hope International analyzing the laws of the 50 states in order to determine how they may apply to victim-offenders. A victim-offender is one who is a trafficking victim herself, but has been forced to take actions that resemble that of a trafficker. Many times, because a victim-offender can look just like a trafficker, they are being unduly prosecuted and are not being protected under the law. With the states I am assigned, my job is to analyze their statutes and determine whether they include certain language that would allow a victim-offender to be prosecuted under it. Further, if it is determined that they can be prosecuted under such a statute, I have to determine whether it would also require them to (a) register as a sex offender or (b) have their parental rights terminated. With this information, Shared Hope will be able to identify which states need better laws to protect trafficking victims and can push for better legislation that will actually protect victim-offenders.
Victims of sex trafficking should never be criminalized for committing actions they were forced to do. I’m so excited to be a part of working to change laws so that they protect, rather than criminalize, victims of 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.