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Pepperdine | Caruso School of Law

Perspective in Progress

March 2018 | By Taylor Amstutz

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter." Although I always believed that statement in an amorphous capacity, this concept has never been more clear to me than after our spring break trip to Uganda.  First and foremost, this was a trip about refusing to be silent on issues that matter, from plea bargaining to the Women in Leadership and Anti-Human Trafficking conferences.

Unbeknownst to me, my preconceived notions about the manner in which the issue of human trafficking is dealt with in developing countries needed an adjustment.  In consideration of that fact, I struggled to understand the delay in addressing this pervasive problem, attributing it to lack of resources or interest. After attending the second conference, Training for the Resolution of Anti-Human Trafficking Cases, my perspective shifted.  I was inspired by the enthusiasm with which various high ranking officials addressed the issue head on and actively participated in creating action plans.

As part of the registration team, one of my tasks was to determine whether those in attendance were interested in electronically receiving some of the conference materials.  Not one in over one hundred attendees declined the offer to obtain this information. A few even requested the documents be sent that same day because they already had plans to instruct others with what they had learned.  So, perhaps the issue is not a deficit in concern or resources, but a longstanding, systemic dysfunction. This is inevitably corroded by a new wave of those who are determined to be heard. As long as there are those who refuse to be silenced, there will always be hope for the world's disadvantaged.  It was truly a privilege to play a small part.