Tuesday, September 19
Noon – 1:00 p.m.
Blocker Hall Auditorium
Human trafficking is widely recognized as a modern-day form of slavery, with hundreds of documented cases in Virginia. Trafficked individuals frequently are forced or coerced into prostitution, selling drugs, theft, violence and more. The victims who are convicted of those crimes are then plagued by a criminal record even if they manage to escape from being trafficked.
In 2021, a law was passed in Virginia that made it possible for sex trafficking survivors to petition to vacate, or clear from their record, certain charges like prostitution if they could show the crime was committed due to being trafficked.
Please join us for a discussion on human trafficking in Coastal Virginia and this new law, as we host Olivia--the first person in Virginia to have had her convictions vacated--Meg Kelsey, the attorney who filed the petition on behalf of Olivia, and Ramin Fatehi, Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney, who help us understand more clearly the legal implications and necessary shift in viewing trafficking victims as survivors and not criminals.
Olivia is a survivor of human trafficking who was first trafficked at 18 years old. Like many others who are trafficked, she wound up with a criminal record and ended up in prison. Olivia was the first trafficked individual in Virginia to have her Petition for Writ of Vacatur granted.
Margaret “Meg” Kelsey, Esq. is Assistant Director of the Center for Global Justice at the Regent University School of Law. She served for five years as an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney, worked 'of-counsel' for a private firm and was a Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Public Service at the University of Miami School of Law.
The Honorable Ramin Fatehi has served since 2022 as the Commonwealth Attorney for Norfolk. Ramin joined the Norfolk office in 2012 after previously serving as a former public defender and state and federal prosecutor.