Interns Make Impact on Fight Against Human Trafficking in the U.S.

A summer legal internship evokes images of students hunched over legal tomes in a dusty law library. While there was certainly research and writing involved, for a group of Regent University School of Law students, the traditional summer internship has been redefined.

Sponsored by the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights & the Rule of Law, second-year law students Heather Pate, Danielle Gallaher and Nicole Tutrani didn't travel to far-off locations; rather they stuck close to home, choosing to work with people and organizations fighting for human rights in the United States.

Pate spent the summer as a policy intern for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) in Washington, D.C. Her primary responsibilities included scheduling meetings with Congressional staff, agencies and professionals with research or concerns about adoption care and policies. She also participated in meetings with various agencies, wrote and edited publications outlining research and legislation, and even oversaw CCAI's two youth interns.

"I learned about the legislative process, problems and best practices in foster care and adoption, networking on Capitol Hill, and my writing and editing skills increased immensely," she said. "I learned that creating laws is all about relationships and finding the right people to strategize in an effective manner to influence the right people."

Tutrani's internship was with The Samaritan Women, a restoration home, located in Maryland, for victims of human trafficking and homeless female veterans. Her primary legal responsibilities included identifying gaps in the Maryland Code pertaining to human trafficking legislation. She was tasked with writing legislative amendments and new legislation that was organized into a plan to lobby for additional services for trafficking victims.

"American laws as they relate to human trafficking can be just as inefficient and outdated as those around the world," she explained. "I realized that everything I dreamed I could be doing overseas needed to be done right here in the United States."

Gallaher spent her summer in Delaware County, just outside Philadelphia, working with assistant district attorney Pearl Kim. Working closely with Kim, Gallaher was able to assist with jury selection, coordinate witnesses for trials, and work with Kim and federal agents on a number of issues pertaining to the prosecution of human trafficking violations. Toward the end of her internship, she was also asked to develop language access policies for trafficking victims with limited English proficiency.

"The most valuable aspect of my internship was actually seeing what it takes for a prosecutor to prosecute human trafficking cases," Gallaher said. "All of this experience helped me better understand various mechanisms and interactions in the criminal justice system. I gained a well-rounded perspective on how to operate as a prosecutor and use the position to influence various governmental sectors."

Besides the practical knowledge and training each acquired, all three women agreed that their internships gave them the chance to see their faith in action on a daily basis.

"This is the heart of God and it is His love that I desire and fight for," Gallaher said. "Isn't it faith to stand for and believe in God's truth despite our circumstances?"

"There is a quote at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., that says something to effect of 'now that you've seen it, what are you going to do about it?'" Pate said. "Now that I have been exposed to the barriers of foster care and adoption and know the process for amending and fixing these problems, I can't ignore them."

"I have learned you do not need to go far from home or even your own family to make an impact," Tutrani wrote on a blog just days into her internship. "I can assure you that whether you are working internationally to protect those girls who act as the 'supply,' or in a Western nation to prosecute those men who provide the 'demand,' God has placed each one of us in a position of His choosing so that He might work through us and for us this summer."

Read more from these and other interns on the Center for Global Justice blog.

By Rachel Judy

Regent Law in the News

Darius Davenport, director of career and alumni services in the School of Law, was quoted in this Monday, Aug. 20, article from World on Campus. Davenport's remarks, as well as comments from third-year law student Rebekah Kaylor, addressed the importance of feeling called to law in a job market that is increasingly frustrating to some students.

Law Community Service Day Impacts Local Community

Volunteers landscape at Union Mission.
On Friday, Aug. 17, 156 Regent University School of Law students joined law school faculty and staff to serve the Hampton Roads, Va., area during the school's fourth annual Community Service Day.
Regent Law holds this event annually the week prior to the start of the fall semester.

Volunteers accumulated over 620 hours of community service across regional sites including Union Mission, Habitat for Humanity, Norfolk Portsmouth Bar Association, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Society of St. Andrew, St. Mary's Home for Disabled Children, The Bridge Christian Fellowship and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia.

Community Service Day volunteers painted, picked peas to feed families in need across Hampton Roads, landscaped lawns and restored buildings, boosted the Chesapeake Bay's oyster population, and helped needy clients secure professional legal services—all in a single day.

Before sending the students out to serve, Darius Davenport, director of Career and Alumni Services and Community Service Day coordinator, reminded them that the profession of law is a profession of service, that their faith includes a call to service, and anytime they use their God-given abilities to help others, they are fulfilling their calling.

"Our call to salvation included a call to serve, and any time we use our God-given abilities to serve others we are living out our calling," Davenport said. "There is no better way to teach this principle than to live it, and that's what we strive to do. For some students, community service is nothing new, but for others, it lets them experience our community's needs firsthand. All of them return to campus more enthusiastic and more willing to serve."

Explore Regent Law's people and programs.

Regent Law in the News

Lynne Marie Kohm, the John Brown McCarty Professor of Family Law in the School of Law, was a guest on WYRM 1110 AM to discuss her Family Restoration blog and the culture of life.

Brad Jacob, associate professor in the School of Law, was quoted in this Sunday, Aug. 12, article from the Daily Press regarding recent amicus briefs filed by attorneys for Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union asking a federal appeals court to rule that clicking the "Like" button on the social networking site is constitutionally protected speech. The article was picked up by WDBJ 7 (CBS Roanoke) on Monday, Aug. 13.

Regent Law in the News

Professor Brad Jacob was interviewed by WAVY TV (NBC Norfolk) on Wednesday, Aug. 8, regarding recent amicus briefs filed by attorneys for Facebook and the American Civil Liberties Union asking a federal appeals court to rule that clicking the "Like" button on the social networking site is constitutionally protected speech.

Legal Intern Impacts Advances in Trafficking Awareness in Japan

Third-year Regent University law student Rebekah Kaylor grew up in Japan as the daughter of missionaries. But, when she started her degree at Regent Law, she never dreamed her studies would take her back to the country she'd grown to love.

Sponsored by the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights & the Rule of Law, Kaylor is one of a group of 22 interns working on issues of human trafficking and justice both in the United States and abroad.

Kaylor's summer internship was with Operation Blessing International (OBI) in Japan. Her task: researching ways the non-profit organization can help fight violence against women, including sex trafficking and domestic violence in Japan.

"Even though Japan is one of the largest destination countries in Asia for trafficking victims, awareness of trafficking is very low," Kaylor explained. "Many times, there is either an outright denial of its existence or a complete misunderstanding of what it is."

One of the major reasons Kaylor decided to go to law school was because she wanted to fight violence against women. When the opportunity to complete an internship under the umbrella of the Center for Global Justice arose, she knew the right doors were opening.

"I was overwhelmed that God opened the doors for me to be able to go to Japan, a country I love, and work as an intern in the field I am passionate about," she said.

Kaylor knows that her first two years at Regent Law prepared her for this internship.

"In law school you are taught to identify the rule and then to analyze by applying the facts to the rule to come to a conclusion," Kaylor said. "I would go into an interview with the definition of trafficking and, as I talked with the interviewee and elicited facts, I realized as I applied the facts to the rule that, even though the interviewee was insisting that they had not worked with trafficking victims, they actually had. I was able to use this to demonstrate that problems such as human trafficking are a lot more widespread then statistics show."

As she enters her final year of law school, Kaylor has a new perspective on her future as an attorney and advocate for women's rights.

"The greatest way my career plans have been impacted is simply understanding that God is the One who opens the door," she said. "Yes, it is our responsibility to knock on doors, send out applications, network, etc. Ultimately, though, God is the One who opens the right door at the right time, and we need to have a responsive heart in order to walk through."

Read more about the summer adventures of the Center for Global Justice interns.

By Rachel Judy

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