Five UVA Law Students Travel to Liberia on BLSA Service Trip to Fight Human Trafficking

University of Virginia School of Law students Christopher Knight, Josephine Biemkpa, Zachary Ray, Kyrie Graziosi and Tawnie Gulizia spent two weeks in Monrovia, Liberia on behalf of Lawyers Without Borders.

February 20, 2014

Five University of Virginia School of Law students traveled to Monrovia, Liberia, in early January to raise awareness of and prevent human trafficking in the West African country. The students, members of the Black Law Students Association, performed the service work through U.S.-based pro bono and advocacy group Lawyers Without Borders.

The BLSA students shared educational materials provided by Lawyers Without Borders with schools, non-governmental organizations and other groups in the impoverished nation's capital as part of a campaign to fight forced labor and sexual exploitation.

"We wanted to spread the word so that everyone would know what human trafficking looks like, and that its perpetrators can be prosecuted," said second-year law student Tawnie Gulizia.

In addition to distributing such items as graphic novels, coloring books and flyers on the topic of trafficking, the students also scripted two 10-minute radio dramas outlining basic facts about what constitutes human trafficking and distinguishes it from related crimes such as smuggling. The spots included contact information for the public to report trafficking and for victims to get help.

"It was more than just explaining what human trafficking looks like, and how you report it," said second-year law student Christopher Knight. "We had to explain legal concepts like intent and purpose to a number of people who had never considered these issues before."


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