“The law acknowledges that many people, mostly women and girls, who find themselves in the sex trade are there through force and manipulation. . . . [V]ictims of sex trafficking should be supported rather than criminalized.”
I am a second-year law student at the University of Cincinnati College of Law interested in the criminal justice system, how we interact with it, and how it affects us all. I wanted to intern at OJPC because I believe in the organizations core value of “never writing someone off.” I believe wholeheartedly in providing resources to marginalized people affected by the criminal justice system in order to help remove barriers that keep them from living productive and fulfilling lives.
This summer, I was able to work closely with victims of sex trafficking by writing individual memoranda of support for expungement of their criminal records. Ohio’s Safe Harbor law allows victims of sex trafficking to expunge those records related to being trafficked. The law acknowledges that many people, mostly women and girls, who find themselves in the sex trade are there through force and manipulation. This is a perspective that argues that victims of sex trafficking should be supported rather than criminalized. Writing in support of expungement for sex trafficking victims is important work to me because it not only helps remove barriers to employment and housing for these women, but it also begins a healing process for them.
I will be taking away from this internship the practical experience I gained in advocating for a client. This internship was very hands on, and I will walk away knowing that I am capable of doing the kind of work necessary for ensuring the best outcome for my client. I’ve also learned that, while this kind of work is hard, it is also some of the most important work a legal advocate can do.
Ashton Tucker, University of Cincinnati College of Law