With the launch of the Clinic, the Center for Global Justice® now has the opportunity to represent trafficking survivors located all over the country. Part of the Petition for Writ of Vacatur involves telling the survivor’s story, explaining how the conviction on his or her Virginia record was directly caused by being a victim of sex trafficking. The process of providing a detailed narrative is often incredibly challenging and triggering, as the survivor revisits the worst experiences and trauma of her life. But the pain of remembering comes with the hope of a clean start.
The Clinic’s first client, Olivia, not only walked through the details of her story for her petition – the very first Vacatur granted in the Commonwealth of Virginia – but she has continued to share her story as a way of empowering other survivors and bringing awareness to the issue of domestic trafficking.
The 700 Club highlighted her story and the work of the Clinic in a piece that aired this week:
Also this week, Olivia joined CGJ Assistant Director Meg Kelsey and the Commonwealth Attorney for Norfolk, Ramin Fatehi, on a panel held at the Virginia Wesleyan University’s Robert Nusbaum Center. The event was titled “No Longer Seen as the Criminal: A Personal Story of Expunging Convictions from a Trafficking Survivor’s Record.” They shared about trafficking in Hampton Roads and criminal record relief for trafficking survivors and Olivia shared about her experience helping get the vacatur law passed and having her conviction vacated.
The event was covered by local news. News channel Wavy 10 interviewed Olivia for its local broadcast and published a corresponding article about the event.
In reflecting on the work of the Clinic, Meg said, “As Christian advocates, we are motivated by the compassion of Christ and our God’s love of justice. Proverbs 31 tells us to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, or to give a voice to the voiceless. In Olivia’s case, we get to help magnify her voice—to partner in highlighting a story of hope. I have been personally so inspired through getting to know her and see her strength and resilience. It’s an honor to work alongside her in bringing awareness about trafficking and working towards greater relief and support for survivors.”
Olivia is a pioneer. Please join us in praying that through the work of the Clinic we can continue to magnify the voices of many more survivors.
Read more about Olivia’s story, the Clinic’s first case in which Virginia granted its first vacatur petition for a trafficking survivor.