Friday, March 8, 2013

Expanding My Outlook

It’s day 6 in New York for the WomenNC CSW fellows! This week has been full exploration and education on many pertinent issues. It’s also been a great week for reflecting on my career goals and plans.

When I decided to go to law school, I knew that I wanted to work in human rights law. One of the reasons that I decided to go to law school was to use law as vehicle for change. I still want to do that and being at the CSW this week confirmed my desire to achieve this goal. Law school has also fostered an interest in criminal law.  Going into law school, I did not think I end up enjoying criminal law so much. Criminal law touches all of society and sets a guideline for our conduct. Last summer, I had the opportunity to work as a legal intern for the Durham District Attorney’s Office. This semester, I am student practitioner in the UNC Juvenile Justice Clinic. Since this discovery, I knew that I wanted to combine my interest in human rights and criminal law. I wasn’t quite sure how I would or could combine these interests, but being at the CSW has expanded my outlook as I interact with individuals, NGOs, and governments who are combining the two on a daily basis. I also now know where to look and what possible avenues to explore in North Carolina. 

 Yesterday, I met a judge from Tanzania who is working to educate the public about sextortion, or a form of sexual exploitation that employs normally non-physical forms of coercion to gain sexual favors from victims and survivors. She works with a group of judges in her country to educate the public about sextortion and to ensure that the accused individuals are prosecuted. Judges in North Carolina, like Judge Worley, are doing very similar things through their involvement in local advocacy groups or campaigns and their role on the NC bench. Listening to the judge from Tanzaina helped me remember this is one way to combine my interests in criminal law and human rights law.

This week has also provided multiple opportunities to meet and interact with attorneys who work with survivors of human trafficking. While the attorneys may not prosecute or defend cases in a criminal law court room, many of the lawyers work to influence criminal laws or educate clients about their rights and the state of criminal law in their state. This is another way I combine my interests. I can also work directly in the criminal law system, prosecuting cases related to human rights and human trafficking. On Monday, I met attorneys from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office who work directly in the criminal law system to prosecute those accused of human trafficking, domestic violence, and other crimes. They also advocate and support the survivors of these crimes. There are many district attorneys and defense attorneys in North Carolina who work in these fields. Many of the NC District Attorneys are focusing on human trafficking and working to ensure that are laws are sufficient and that perpetrators are charged. Many defense attorneys are working with those survivors accused of other crimes to ensure that they are not held or convicted of crimes they did not commit or offenses that they were forced to commit. 

While I knew some of these options existed before coming to the CSW, meeting individuals and organizations that are combing my interests daily, helped expand my outlook on career options. I know that I can and will combine my interests in criminal and human rights law.


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