10.19.2011

Law Symposium Addresses Sex Trafficking in Virginia

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and Shared Hope International presented recent research on the state of domestic sex trafficking at a special mini-symposium held October 13, 2011, sponsored by Regent’s Center for Global Justice.'

Law school Dean Jeffrey Brauch introduced the eye-opening symposium stating, “Many of us have tended to think it is a problem over there, but I think as we’ve come to know, it’s not just over there…It’s everywhere. It’s in the United States, it’s in Virginia, and it’s in the Tidewater region.”

After viewing a brief documentary film called “Demand” comparing sex-tourism and trafficking in Japan, the Netherlands, the United States and Jamaica, Linda Smith, Founder and Director of Shared Hope International and Tessa Dysart, Associate Counsel for the ACLJ, shared how both organizations have been working together to shed light on and tackle the legal issue of domestic sex trafficking.

Smith, a former U.S. Congresswoman, addressed the audience asking, “Did you know the state of Virginia doesn’t have a law addressing the trafficking of children?”

As a part of the Protected Innocence Project, Smith has been commissioned to assess the sex-trafficking laws and policies of all 50 states. The Virginia assessment is complete and other state “grades” will be released in December.
Tessa Dysart, ACLJ staff attorney, offered the ACLJ’s perspective on recent research while thanking the ACLJ’s clerks, many of them Regent students, who assisted in the process, saying the “project could not have been completed or even started” without their help. She encouraged students to educate themselves on their state laws, to advocate for change and to “always pray” for the oppressed, the oppressor, and the law-making authorities.

After hearing the testimonies of two victims of sexual trafficking present in the audience, Erin Kulpa, Assistant Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia, explained the new and innovative ways that her office is addressing the crime of sex trafficking.

Regent’s Center for Global Justice exists to equip Christian advocates who will promote the rule of law and seek justice for the world's downtrodden--the poor, the oppressed, and the enslaved--and to serve and support those already engaged in such advocacy.

Learn more about Regent Law’s Center for Global Justice.