On September 25, 2018, the Center for Global Justice welcomed Sarah Breyer and Christine Raino from one of our partner organizations, Shared Hope International. Sarah and Christine came to Regent to share their organization’s mission and legislative goals.
Shared Hope International works to prevent human trafficking through training, awareness, and collaboration and restore those who are victims of human trafficking by sharing stories of hope.
Sarah and Christine shared about the Protected Innocence Challenge, what Christine called their “core state policy project.” Christine discussed the variety of approaches the states undertake in addressing human trafficking victims and why this is such an issue. In many states and under federal law, children that are bought and sold for sex acts are classified as “victims” but still face criminal charges for prostitution. As someone sitting in the audience, it was shocking to hear that the most vulnerable among us who are truly victims of others heinous acts are now being charged for the crimes arising of their trafficking.
Sarah shared that many states charge minors for sex crimes as a means to get the minors out of their trafficker’s hand. While this may be good in theory, Sarah pointed out a key flaw in this logic: if the first contact a minor has with the criminal justice system is being processed and charged for a crime committed against them it often leads to distrust of the system. Further, there are much better options, like safe homes, that the states can utilize to get victims out of their abusers’ hands without having to cause more trauma to the victim. These options empower victims to seek restoration and redefine their future.
Find out more about Shared Hope International here.