Post by: Lauren Moustakas
My name is Lauren Moustakas and I am a 2L serving as a Law Clerk at the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights, and the Rule of Law. This semester I am incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to serve on two projects for International Justice Mission (IJM)– one focused on the online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC) in Eastern Europe and the other on intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual violence against children (SVAC) in Uganda.
My focus as of now has been on the OSEC project for IJM. Online sexual exploitation of children is a fast-growing form of human trafficking as is the online production and publication of photos, videos, or livestream sexual abuse or exploitation of a child. Usually, the abuse is for the use of an individual who is elsewhere, often in Western countries, who will pay the traffickers/abusers to physically or sexually abuse children in specific ways and document the abuse with photos, videos, or stream it live. This abuse continues long after the physical or sexual abuse ends, as the purchaser can continue to use the documented abuse for their own “entertainment”, share it with other offenders, or share it online. Additionally, buyers are increasingly contacting children directly online, sending sexual content through social media, and asking children for sexual photos and videos.
For this project, I have been focused on researching the legal standards and legal process of prosecuting OSEC cases in Eastern Europe from the moment an offense is committed till the perpetrator is placed in jail. This work alongside the work of other Global Center student staff will assist IJM as they seek to address OSEC in Eastern Europe, rescue child victims, and bring perpetrators to justice.
During the course of my research on this project I have come across articles about cases of, in my opinion, are some of the most horrible injustices that occurs against children. One in particular that struck my heart was the rescue of a seven-year-old boy from a group of men who took “turns” sexually abusing him both in person and online since he was a newborn. While reading this story, I felt a sense of darkness, that this is the type of evil and injustice that occurs in our world to our most vulnerable. But I also felt hope, hope because of the fact that despite the darkness and despite the evil and abuse this boy endured, the perpetrators were overcome, brought to justice and the boy was rescued.
In the midst of learning how to address injustice and advocating for human rights it is often easy to be overcome by the amount of darkness and forget the work advocates, such as IJM, are doing that is making a difference in lives such as this young boy. Yes, there is an incredible amount of injustice, but there are also dedicated advocates and individuals who are working tirelessly to address injustice and who are making a difference in lives such as this young boy. That is why I am especially grateful to work on these projects for International Justice Mission, whose staff work tirelessly to be that hope for the oppressed as well as those seeking to be human rights advocates, and through their work bring light into the dark injustices of our world.
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.