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Restitution to Victims

My name is Taylor Wise and I am a 3L student here at Regent University School of Law and I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve on the Student Staff for the Center for Global Justice. Last semester I worked on a project for Shared Hope International regarding labor trafficking. The focus of my research was determining whether state law provides civil remedies for child labor trafficking victims. One such remedy is providing restitution to victims.

Restitution is ordering offenders to compensate a victim for their loss and injuries. Some States such as North Carolina have declared as a matter of public policy that offenders should provide restitution for their victims.

“To the extent profit from crime would not have been realized but for an offender’s commission of illegal acts, an offender does not have an equitable interest in the profit and allowing the offender to retain the profit would result in the offender’s unjust enrichment.”

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15B-30(3)

For victims of labor trafficking the amount of restitution is predominately based on economic damages, typically the greater of the gross income or value of the victim’s labor; or value of the victim’s labor as guaranteed under the Minimum Wage Law and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In addition, many States also allow victims to receive restitution based on costs incurred by the victim for medical care, psychological treatment, temporary housing, transportation, and other services designed to assist a victim in recovering from any injuries or loss resulting from their victimization.

Restitution provides a method by which offenders must both acknowledge and attempt to repair the injury they have inflicted upon the victim. Restitution works by attempting to restore a victim to the status they occupied before the offence occurred. Additionally, Restitution can have a rehabilitative effect on offenders because it forces them to take proactive steps to right the wrong that they have caused. 

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.