Vocation and the Common Good is a multi-year research project describing the possibilities for Christian faithfulness within nine spheres of modern work. The Vocation and the Common Good Podcast is one way of distributing the findings of the project. Through conversation with selected members of the project, we intend to highlight the role institutions, friends, family, and colleagues have played in sustaining people within their ongoing attempts to be faithful to the call of God upon their lives.
Victor Boutros is a member of the law group within Vocation and the Common Good. As a founding director of the Human Trafficking Institute, Victor is committed to resourcing law enforcement agents with all the tools required to end modern trafficking and slavery. As Victor says in the interview, tackling this problem involves more than raising awareness. Important as that is, what is required for long-term change within the world of human trafficking is a fundamental disruption of the market at its source. It is not the case, in other words, that societies are inarticulate or confused about their stated objective to preserve and protect human lives; it is the case, rather, that the incentive structures and enforced penalties for traffickers are fundamentally misaligned. Trafficking is, to put it crudely, a growth industry not because we think it should be but because the tools we have utilized in fighting trafficking are too anemic to prevent it from becoming so.
In this way, Victor’s work (along with his colleagues) displays the value of developing expertise, pursuing genuine creativity in the face of wicked problems, and, perhaps most importantly, persevering against powerful systems of injustice. In this, Victor’s work exemplifies the virtues required for faithfulness within the legal profession. Whether it be working within the criminal justice system, teaching within the legal academy, or practicing law within a corporate firm of some sort, law expresses a society’s commitment to sanction some behaviors and prohibit others. Developing expertise in just how these commitments are codified into law is of vital importance. So too is the moral discernment required to seek imaginative remedies to entrenched forms of injustice through time.