Skip to main content

By Esther Lines and Samantha Bush

We had just ended a class discussion on trauma-informed lawyering, and someone in our class made the point that prosecutors have a high need for this understanding when dealing with cases. Then, almost collectively, the class made the connection that HAD there been trauma-informed lawyering, there would be no need to draft and file this petition for vacatur of charges related to human trafficking for clinic clients in the first place! A trauma-informed prosecutor would have been able to see past the prostitution or bawdy place charges and understand that they themselves are victims of human sex trafficking, and prosecuting them just adds to the revictimization and trauma.

Working through the curriculum provided on trauma-informed lawyering was eye-opening to me, and sadly, not something I really saw implemented while interning at a prosecutor’s office last summer. However, after graduation, whether I work as a prosecutor or as a family law attorney, I plan to shape my worldview of client interaction based on a trauma-informed understanding.

In the converse of Sam’s experience, this past summer I, another clinic student, also worked in a prosecutor’s office, but with an important distinction. My supervising attorney was implementing trauma-informed training in our office. I remember sitting in the class Sam described and thinking about how proud I am there is an attorney in my home state, taking the lead in this important charge. I learned this semester that trauma-informed lawyering goes beyond just a prosecutor’s office. Victims of human trafficking can be found in all walks of life and therefore may be encountered in all areas of practice. Through this clinic, I have gotten a glimpse at how pervasive human trafficking is and the need for awareness across the legal field.

For these reasons, I adjusted my future plans to work again for the same prosecutor’s office. I do not want to go into prosecutorial work long-term, however, I have seen the value of sitting under an attorney with a trauma-informed perspective, and I am going to take advantage of that opportunity. My goal is to bring this perspective into the private arena, after learning all I can. My experience in the Human Trafficking Clinic was vital to solidifying my conviction about the necessary role of Christian attorneys to do all that we can to provide a voice to the voiceless.

This post was written by two students with the Center for Global Justice Human Trafficking Clinic. The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.