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By Mai Nguyen

At that time, the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. – Matthew 18:1-5 (NKJV)

This semester, I have the privilege of working with a great team of 2Ls and 3Ls on a project for Shared Hope International. Shared Hope International is a non-profit organization whose mission is to “bring an end to sex trafficking through [a] three-pronged approach – prevent, restore, and bring justice.”

The organization is currently working on a project that researches state statutes and regulations on child welfare with respect to cases involving commercial sexual exploitation. With the statutory compilation already finished, Shared Hope needs our team’s help to compile the states’ regulations and policies on child welfare related to commercial sexual exploitation. Our team has been researching the regulations of all 50 states and Washington, D.C., on this topic. So far, working with the Center for Global Justice has exposed me to various issues in international law, human rights law, and international criminal law. I am thankful to have a supportive team and a good mentor. Our team members have been excellent at communication, and they have worked so diligently on the project despite their busy schedules.

Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash

Besides working with Shared Hope International as part of my involvement as a Clerk for the Center for Global Justice, I also started working for Dr. Christoph Sperfeldt, a professor at Macquarie Law School. This involvement is part of my summer internship in Cambodia and Vietnam. Dr. Sperfeldt has been a zealous advocate for the stateless ethnic Vietnamese communities currently residing in Cambodia. I am helping Dr. Sperfeldt compile a resource guide consisting of books, research articles, theses/dissertations, U.N. Human Rights Bodies, and foreign language sources written on this group of Vietnamese. This project has taught me so much about the history and internal political climates of Vietnam and Cambodia, the relationship between the two countries, and how those have altogether affected the ethnic Vietnamese group living in Cambodia. I have learned various reasons why the legal status of these communities is precarious at best and the need to advocate for them so they can at least obtain citizenship, whether Vietnamese or Cambodian. In the summer, I am heading to Cambodia and Vietnam. The goal is to join forces with the local non-profit organizations, as well as the U.N. representatives in both countries, to ensure that children of these communities have equal access to birth registration, as the lack of birth registration is among the leading causes resulting in inter-generational statelessness within this group.

I look forward to completing the research project for Shared Hope with my team and participating in the summer internship overseas. While reading through regulations and policies may not be the most exciting task, we know and hope that our contribution can help Shared Hope achieve its goals and objectives, especially with regard to eliminating sexual exploitation of children. As for my work with Dr. Sperfeldt, I hope that the academic background I’m gaining now from compiling the resource guide will be of help for the fieldwork component to come this summer.

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.