Skip to main content

Students Put Legal Knowledge to Work in Eastern Europe

It all started with a nudge from the Career Services Office in Regent University's School of Law. Third-year law students Anastasios Kamoutsas and Mary Hill discovered that the A21 Campaign, an international non-governmental organization dedicated to ending human trafficking around the globe, was hiring interns. One application process later, Kamoutsas was on his way to Greece and Hill found herself in Ukraine.

Both internships were sponsored by the Center for Global Justice, Human Rights and the Rule of Law, housed in Regent's School of Law.

As an intern in the A21 Campaign office in Greece, Kamoutsas worked primarily on the organization's yearly submission to the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. The TIP is a tool the U.S. State Department uses to represent a global look at the nature and scope of human trafficking and the range of government actions being taken to confront and eliminate it.

Greece was a prime location to learn firsthand about the work being done to prevent and rescue victims of trafficking, Kamoutsas explained. "In Greece, specifically, the issue is that there's not enough awareness going on," he said. "If there was some type of awareness of human trafficking, it would prevent a lot of the women from being trafficked."

Working with A21 in Ukraine, Hill gathered information from all 129 of the major universities in Ukraine with the aim of developing plans to contact all of the universities and bring awareness of the trafficking problem to the student body and professors. She was also responsible for creating awareness flyers to be distributed in destination countries of Ukrainian-trafficked victims, primarily in Eastern Europe.

"The purpose of providing this information is to equip the various countries, and specifically the student population looking for jobs, with accurate information," Hill said. Just as in Greece, lack of awareness is the biggest factor in trafficking, she explained. "Because internet service is not always available, students seeking international and even domestic jobs are at a high risk of encountering traffickers whose promises of financial compensation are unrealistic yet seductively tempting."

Hill also created a pamphlet explaining legal rights of trafficking victims. The pamphlet will be translated into Russian and given to trafficked girls in shelters so that they will know their rights if they decide to go through the process that will give them victim status.

For both law students, a firsthand look at the work of the A21 Campaign also opened their eyes to a darker side of humanity. "I wasn't aware of how prevalent trafficking was in Europe," Kamoutsas said. And, despite the prevalence, "There are no attorneys who are familiar with the subject to litigate," he added. "It's very difficult to resolve the issue."

Their experiences in Eastern Europe left an impression that neither Kamoutsas nor Hill will quickly forget. "It helped me to put into perspective the value of a law degree," Hill said after she returned. "This internship has revealed to me the need for attorneys that will fight against the issue of sex trafficking. It is hard for the victims to get an attorney to take their case, because many times they don't have the money to pay one. Even though it is part of the law that a victim of trafficking have legal aid, it is scarcely practiced due a general lack of enforcement of the written law."

Like Hill, Kamoutsas discovered a great need for providing legal help to victims. "[God's] given me a heart for it," he explained. "It's to fulfill a purpose that He has that maybe I don't even see right now.

"It's more than just a profession, it is a calling," he added, quoting Regent Law's motto. "There's just a greater purpose. You really have to have the perspective that this life is temporary, and we're only here to fulfill His plan."

Learn more about The Center for Global Justice.

By Rachel Judy

Popular posts from this blog

Regent Law Trains Lawyers Called to Fight for Social Justice

As Regional Legal Coordinator with Freedom Firm in Maharashtra, India, Evan Henck ‘07 helps unravel the complex legal and social difficulties that come with prosecuting sex trafficking.
Evan’s virtual journal entry below depicts the sobering reality of the sex trade even as it celebrates the Freedom Firm’s recent progress. It originally appeared in the 2010 Spring/Summer edition of “Brief Remark”, Regent University School of Law’s new biannual publication.
From giving papers at a national human rights conferences and training human rights attorneys, to subsidizing summer internships within the nascent Center for Global Justice, the Regent Law community is committed to furthering the cause of justice at home and abroad.
If you feel called to the legal profession and to the fight for social justice, a Regent J.D. might be for you. Learn more here.

Jan. 16 2010
Maharashtra, India
In January an informant phoned Suresh Pawar, a human rights activist with the Freedom Firm in Maharashtra, India,…

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann Speaks at Regent Law Chapel

Raising nearly 30 children has provided Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann with negotiating skills that serve her well in the nation's capital. Bachmann, a passionate advocate for foster care and adoption, visited Regent University on November 20 as part of the university's recognition of National Adoption Awareness Month.

Bachmann and her husband, Dr. Marcus Bachmann, are the parents of five biological children and 23 foster children. She shared their story as parents and also their connection to Regent during a special law chapel for students, faculty and staff.

"It's been a marvelous experience for us. Being foster parents has allowed us to teach our biological kids that they're not the only kids in the world," Bachmann said. "Our foster care kids have been able to see what a picture of an imperfect 'normal' family is like. And we saw the beauty and worth in them.

"Twenty-three times, we've seen these kids graduate from high sc…

Regent Law Dean Appointed to Board of Governors of the Virginia Bar Association

On Saturday, January 21, the Virginia Bar Association (VBA) inaugurated its statewide representatives for their 2017 term.

Regent University School of Law (LAW) Dean Michael Hernandez was among those new leaders as he accepted his appointment as a representative by the Board of Governors of the VBA.

Hernandez will represent law schools on the VBA board for a minimum of a one-year term. He is the first Regent LAW faculty member to be appointed to this distinction.

“It is an honor to serve as the sole law school representative on the Board of Governors and a privilege to be a part of this accomplished group of prominent attorneys.  I am excited to work with the other Board members to build on and continue the standard of excellence that the VBA has upheld since it was founded in 1888,” said Hernandez.

“The other members of the Board of Governors are the most accomplished lawyers in Virginia, and the Board is collegial and committed to the highest standards of professionalism,” …