Post by Abigail Hayes – “You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking”
Virginia Coalition Against Human Trafficking (VCAHT)
The Center has the privilege to partner with the Virginia Coalition Against Human Trafficking (VCAHT).
The VCAHT is an “alliance of service providers, attorneys, survivor-advocates, and community members on a mission. To remove barriers preventing survivors from achieving a full and healthy life. Through public awareness campaigns, policy reform and enacting survivor-centered human trafficking legislation.”
Before attending law school, I had the privilege to work at Freedom 4/24. Freedom 4/24 is one of VCAHT’s partners. My time at Freedom 4/24 was the biggest influence in my decision to attend law school.
It is astounding that I once partnered with an organization that I now provide legal work for.
At Freedom 4/24, I not only learned about the prevalence of trafficking overseas. I have exposure to human trafficking in my own backyard through organizations like VCAHT. VCAHT specializes in fighting against human trafficking in Virginia and equips others to join the fight for freedom.
The VCAHT provides ways to involve yourself locally in the fight to end human trafficking. VACHT provides a tool kit of legislative materials and guidance for you. In order to go to your representative and talk about the prevalence of human trafficking. VCAHT has already researched for you to become the best possible advocate you can be. And for you to fight for those that are enslaved in your community.
To take the first step, I encourage you to go on VACHT’s website and sign the petition to expand HB2133 and HB2234. Amending these bills will allow crimes committed by sex trafficking survivors, while under the control of a trafficker, to be wiped from their records.
This is crucial. Many victims that were captive by their perpetrators remain captive by the law designed to protect them. So, we must take a stand to help survivors get their records expunged. So that they can escape suffering to reunite with their children, enroll in higher education, and get a job.
We cannot create laws that perpetuate the system of abuse. We must advocate for laws that will help human trafficking survivors start over.
The Center for Global Justice
The Center helps the VCAHT in many different ways. Currently, we are summarizing bills that the VCAHT endorses so they can effectively lobby the state legislature. The goal is ultimately to persuade the legislature to pass bills that will advance the rehabilitation of sex trafficking survivors and impose punishments on the perpetrators. Additionally, we are conducting a research product on Child Abuse Centers (CAC)—regarding whether there is the ability to administer human trafficking victim counseling and curriculum to rehabilitate children that’ve been enslaved.
Above all, remember, human trafficking and sexual exploitation does not exclusively occur in a foreign country. It is prevalent in your community. I encourage you to join the fight, take action, and sign the VCAHT petition. Even if you don’t live in Virginia, you can advocate for a similar petition in your state. Together, we can take a stand for the voiceless.
This post was written by a Center for Global Justice Law Clerk. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School. Or the Center for Global Justice.