Who We Are:
Richmond Justice Initiative is a non-profit, faith-based organization that works to eradicate human trafficking through education, equipping communities with not only awareness, but ways to take action and affect change. RJI was founded in 2009 by Sara Pomeroy as one of the first anti-human trafficking organizations in Virginia. RJI began as a grassroots group of all volunteers whose focus was advocacy, church and community mobilization, and education. For the first few years, RJI was the driving force of the Virginia Coalition Against Human Trafficking (VACAHT), advocating the passing of vital state legislation that has strengthened the ability of our Commonwealth to effectively prosecute those who enslave and treat others like commodities, as well as to secure rescue and safety for the oppressed.
In 2012, RJI shifted its focus to the prevention side of the issue, attempting to curtail the crime before it could devastate more individuals and communities. With close collaboration with law enforcement, educators, and survivors of human trafficking, the Prevention Project® curriculum was created to reach teens during their most vulnerable years and to invest in them as leaders of their generation. Since its inception, this program has received national accolades, reached numerous other states, and has won multiple awards. For more information, visit the Prevention Project program website.
RJI is wholly supported through the voluntary generosity of individuals, churches and businesses.
What We Do:
- Raise awareness: Awareness of the crime of human trafficking is the first step to eradicating modern slavery. Our organization is dedicated to bringing the issue of human trafficking to the forefront of public consciousness through local community action and the sharing of resources and programs among communities and organizations.
- Educate: We are passionate about educating our communities on the signs of trafficking, where it is happening, and how to effectively report tips. The information that is gathered from citizens, who know what to look for, has proven to be critical in investigations and rescues in our communities. RJI offers annual symposiums, community awareness nights, healthcare presentations for hospitals, clinics, pregnancy centers, homeless organizations and faith communities. If you would like to request a presentation, please contact us today!
- Prevent: RJI believes that in order to eradicate Human Trafficking, the selling of human beings for profit, we must provide quality education for young people on the lures of trafficking as well as invest in character and leadership development so we not only prevent trafficking from occurring, but create and equip leaders to bring a lasting change for our communities and beyond. The Prevention Project curriculum empowers the students to be abolitionists, to take the lead in the fight against human trafficking, and to be the ones who see the final demise of modern day slavery. For more information, please visit www.prevention-project.org.
- Train: The most responsible way to care for our youth is to not only invest in their education on the issue of human trafficking, but to prepare their “first responders” to know how to properly care for them if they had a situation to come forward with. RJI provides in-depth trainings to youth workers (counselors, social workers, violence prevention staff, administrators, etc.) so that they may be able to recognize human trafficking and know how to safely and effectively intervene in the lives of their students.
- Pray: We not only see prayer as our recognition of our complete dependence on God, but as a way to strengthen the church’s understanding of God’s heart for justice. We value our partnerships with the faith communities, and their prayers are paramount in this fight against slavery.
- “Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show then that they should always pray and not give up… ‘And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?‘” Luke 18:1, 7-8