Category: Blog

Blog updates from RJI Staff.

Trade of Innocents Movie Event

toiOn a chilly January 11 evening, the Byrd Theater graciously opened their doors in order to have an event that was co-sponsored by the Christian Medical and Dental Association and Richmond Justice Initiative. The goal of this event was to shine a light on human trafficking through the screening of a movie entitled “Trade of Innocents”, and inspire a community to join together to end the most dehumanizing and atrocious evil practice that is going on in our world today…..human slavery. If someone was able to take a glimpse inside the theater before the doors officially opened to the public, he or she would have seen the volunteers of CMDA and RJI working to set up tables, hand out posters, and strategize on how to friendly welcome those who would traverse the doors of the Byrd.

When the prep work was done, and with everyone in place, the doors opened and the people entered. The atmosphere inside the lobby was unifying because one could see that there were people of different backgrounds in attendance. They passed by the tables, chatted with volunteers, bought t-shirts and bracelets, and donated money…..while buying popcorn, candy, and soda.

After a brief introduction and overview of what was going to happen –  the film, “Trade of Innocents”, began. Without giving too much away, I will give you an overview of the movie in hopes that you will watch it. The film takes place in Cambodia and offers a glimpse into the world of child sex trafficking. The movie centers on a Cambodian police force that seeks to shut down brothels that traffic young girls and to bring the traffickers to justice. It is a gripping story that is filled with struggle, hope, and inspiration.”

At the conclusion of the film, everyone was able to hear the story of a survivor. This lady wasn’t just some ordinary person who survived her first pimple, first date, high school, or any other life challenge that is so common. She was ensnared in the world of human sex trafficking. She lived through the horror, sorrow, and abuse that so many others in bondage go through. Her story didn’t take place in Cambodia or anywhere else in the world. It happened in our own country…..in our own backyard under our noses. It was such a powerful testimony of survival that I hope will inspire many to join the movement to end human slavery.

Yes, slavery is alive and well around the world. Not only that, it is alive and well in our own country. Most people think that slavery ended with the Emancipation Proclamation and the 13th Amendment. Because of that, they have been in the dark about how slavery has changed and become so covert that one could walk right by a trafficker or someone who is being trafficked without even knowing it. That has to change. It is the time for everyone to know that 27 million people in this world are enslaved. Let’s use our resources, talents, and gifts to awaken people to the reality of slavery. Let’s take action to rescue and restore those who are trapped with no hope of escape and make sure that those who are trafficking humans are brought to justice. Join the movement. Be in it to end it. ~ Marcel Ficklin

Speaking Before MCC’s, The Mix, About Human Trafficking

543998_490036327702054_1996136863_nMy name is Dillon Mundie, and I have been a representative of the Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI) for a few months now. As a representative, I go out to the community and seek out ways to educate them about the horrific crime of human trafficking. My first presentation was January 10th of this year at Mechanicsville Christian Center (MCC) located on Shady Grove Road. Before this experience, I’d never presented in front of this many people before. I didn’t really know if I was going to be a good public speaker. Even when presenting projects in class, I got nervous. What would I do in front of a larger audience?

I was presenting at an event called “The Mix”. The Mix is the youth group at MCC, which has an average of 70 kids each week that attend. I attend every week, and since I was now a representative of RJI, I saw this as the perfect opportunity to reach out to not only adults, but teenagers like myself who are interested in helping the community and ending injustice. So I talked to Pastor Daniel Susenbach who leads The Mix and asked him if there was a possibility of me sharing my experiences over the past couple of months and informing others about the horrors of human trafficking. He was totally on board from the beginning, which took a lot of faith considering the following: I am not a member of the church, he doesn’t know me too well, he sees me once a week, and he’s never seen me speak in front of a large audience. With this great opportunity, I knew that I had to take advantage of the situation, reaching out to as many people as I could. Throughout the week at school, the presentation night was promoted and close to 100 kids and adults showed up that night for the presentation.

Before the presentation, I was very nervous. I was shaking and my palms were sweating out of fear: fear of failure. Was I going to get through this? Was the message I wanted to convey going to come out smoothly and how I and RJI wanted it to? The student leaders at The Mix and Daniel himself pulled me aside and prayed over me. A weight was lifted off my shoulders. Knowing that my peers were supporting me every step of the way was incredibly helpful, and knowing God was watching every move I made was also very encouraging. I knew I could do it now. I gave the presentation, just as I had planned, giving as much information as I could in a short period of time while also keeping others intrigued and interested in the issue.

The main point I wanted to make at the end of the presentation was this: don’t let this be a “hot topic”. Hot topics are part of culture, and culture consistently changes. I wanted people to be as passionate about this issue as I was, and many were. Many kids seek to travel down the same path I have, wanting to become representatives of RJI. Others now want to use their specific God-given talents to help prevent human trafficking. This is exactly why I do this; I want to inspire others to get involved with this same cause. I know so many people may look at me as a kid, and I understand, I still am a kid. But 1st Timothy 4:12 says this: “No one should despise your youth; instead, you should be an example to the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.” As part of the youth, I’m called to be an example to the believers, and so is every other teenager just like me. What I’ve learned through this whole experience is this: your actions define who you are. Taking action for something you’re passionate about, no matter what your age, is important. I’m called to be an example to other believers, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Many kids believe their voices won’t be heard by adults because they are kids. I’m here to show them that through God, anybody’s voice will be heard. ~ Dillon Mundie

Ten Thousand Villages Community Shopping Event Benefits RJI

458287_10152317767720527_102902702_oOn December 6th, Ten Thousand Villages in Carytown opened their doors to partner with RJI by donating a portion of their proceeds from that night’s sales. The store overflows with wonderful things from simple and whimsical handcrafted items to intricately carved sculptures made out of wood and marble. There are items there to satisfy many different tastes; from a bowl made out of recycled washers, to musical instruments and books for children, beautiful handcrafted jewelry and scarves and a variety of Christmas decorations for the holiday. The creativity of the artisans was so evident and the quality of the items was obvious. A steady stream of customers came in throughout the night – many were there to support RJI and some heard about RJI and our fight against human trafficking for the first time.

Ten Thousand Villages’ Mission is to create opportunities for artisans in developing countries to earn income by bringing their products and stories to our markets through long-term fair trading relationships. According to their website, “Fair trade provides under- and unemployed artisans with an opportunity to earn vital income and improve their quality of life by establishing a sustainable market for their handcrafted products.” People being paid a fair price for their work and being ensured of a safe work environment ties in so closely to what RJI fights for – for people to be valued for who they are, what they do and to be treated fairly.

The next time you are in the market for a unique gift, one that will have long-reaching effect and value, be sure to stop by Ten Thousand Villages. You’ll be so pleased with the selections, and you can be confident that the item you purchase is helping artisans earn vital income to make a life for themselves and their families.

You also become an advocate for freedom through the purchases you make all throughout the year. Check out our Responsible Consumerism page and view our suggested shopping links.

by: Sandy White | RJI Staff

Lobby Day at the Nation’s Capitol

IMG_2327Following an evening attending the International Justice Mission’s Annual Benefit in Washington, D.C., Sara Pomeroy and I awoke the next morning to meetings with legislative assistants to state Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb in our nation’s capital. Our mission: to encourage our state senators to co-sponsor the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) – the largest piece of anti-human trafficking legislation in U.S. history. Sadly, the TVPRA has expired placing U.S. foreign assistance funding levels at risk. That is why it is more important than ever to encourage our state senators to co-sponsor the TVPRA. Time is running out.

We met with other fellow advocates at a Starbucks close to the Russell Senate Office Building to discuss our plan of action. We would begin each of our lobby meetings with the senators’ offices with “connection” – each of us introducing ourselves and then explaining why we cared so much about this issue of human trafficking. Because our group was made up of people of such varying backgrounds (from professionals, to students, to housewives), each of us truly had a different story to tell as to how we came to be so concerned about human trafficking.

Then the “context” aspect would be provided, where each of us took turns giving a brief overview of the issue – of the sheer magnitude of the issue worldwide and here in Virginia. We would end with the “commitment” aspect of our meeting, where we would actually ask the Senator to cosponsor the act. Here we would discuss why the TVPRA is so important – what would actually be accomplished in its passing.

Once our plan of action was determined, we first headed to Senator Webb’s office where we met with Maribel Ramos, Webb’s legislative assistant. She proved to be a woman deeply concerned with the needs of women and very attentive to everything we had to say on the issue. Ramos was honest and up front on the point that because Webb was on his way out of office, and soon to be replaced by Tim Kaine, that she really didn’t know if the senator would be willing to sign on at this point. Our question to her: what better way was there to end his time in office then to cosponsor an act that would benefit millions of human trafficking victims?

We then moved on to meet with legislative assistant to Mark Warner, Nicholas Devereux. Here we also followed through with our plan of action. Devereux, too, was very attentive. No one can deny the magnitude of the issue of human trafficking and how serious action must take place to eradicate it. He also was up front. The concerns here were who else had signed on to co-sponsor the act, what was Webb’s position on the issue and what were the concerns of the senators who had yet to sign on. Warner has always been vocal about his concerns regarding the nation’s budget (as we all should be). But the need to provide funding to stop human trafficking, which would be accomplished by the passing of the TVPRA, is a no-brainer. Look no further than the words expressed by President Obama in his speech to the nation on September 25 of this year on the issue of human trafficking (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/09/25/remarks-president-clinton-global-initiative). I was becoming very frustrated at this point with the positions of my state senators. But we had done all we could. We ended the meeting on a positive note by thanking them for their time.

Where we stand at this point as I write this blog: we have 56 Senators who have agreed to cosponsor the TVPRA. Sadly, our Virginia state senators are not on board. We need a total of 60 senators to cosponsor the act for it to pass. What happens if it doesn’t pass? We start all over. The act will have to be reintroduced in the next Congress. How grievous it will be to see the inaction on the part of our government and our people on behalf of the men, women and children who are enslaved around the world. What we need from you, more than ever at this point, is first your prayers and second to contact your Senators and to keep contacting them to encourage them to cosponsor this act. Persistence is needed by each and every one of you at this time! Thank you. ~ Christina Nyczepir

January Action Meeting

Richmond Justice Initiative’s next Action Meeting will be held at West End Assembly of God, 401 North Parham Rd., Richmond 23229. The date to attend is Thursday, January 10th at 7:00 p.m. Attending one of our Actions Meetings is a great way to find out how YOU can get involved in the battle to end human trafficking. Action Meetings are interest meetings for your congregation and other interested volunteers.

Action Meetings serve to:
Give background information on who we are as an organization.
Give an informational presentation on the issue of human trafficking.
Provide relevant news and updates.
Bring in various experts to highlight the issue in the different aspects of human trafficking.
Present them with opportunities to volunteer with us and within their own communities.

Hope Thrift Donates 100% of Their Sales to RJI

November 3rd turned out to be a wonderful day to fight slavery, as this was the date Hope Thrift chose to donate 100% of their proceeds to the Richmond Justice Initiative. Perhaps it was advertising, word of mouth, or the 70+ degree weather that felt more like May than November…Whatever the case, shoppers flocked to the thrift store in droves and filled their carts with enough goods to equal $3,800, making RJI’s ministry day the largest ministry day Hope Thrift has ever had!

For those who are unaware, Hope Thrift is a ministry of Hope Church that is run by volunteers—many of whom attend Hope Church. When asked what made her initially decide to become a Hope Thrift volunteer, Nancy McDonald happily replied, “I came here to volunteer but didn’t realize how much fun I would have or the blessings that God has graced us with.” I don’t think Nancy could have been more correct in her statement. For, as I stood listening to her and other thrift store volunteers share some of their stories of hope with me it became quite evident that this place was a light in the community. From helping out teenagers who needed to fulfill their high school volunteer credits to helping lower income families afford nice things, Hope Thrift was living up to its name and offering people hope.

Dedicated RJI volunteers came out to show their support in their own way, whether it was by donating items, shopping, or greeting and educating shoppers about RJI and the issue of human trafficking. Amy Keithley was one such volunteer. When asked what made her decide to spend her Saturday at Hope Thrift, Amy replied “Today networking has been very important and building personal relationships with others who share the same passion to combat human trafficking.” I was one such person that was blessed to make the acquaintance of Amy, a friendly and enthusiastic young woman with a heart to make a difference. As she and I shared our reasons for volunteering with RJI, I noticed something. My own hope that I could make a difference in the anti-human trafficking movement grew. “Why was this?” I wondered. As I thought about this rising of hope within, I saw the light—Amy’s light. As she shared her passion to help others and expressed how she could not just sit back and not do anything while the issue of human trafficking went on in our own community, she further inspired me to continue fighting for justice.

In a dark world, we must remember we are a light. It can be easy to shrink back from the cave of despair we sometimes find ourselves faced with as we read horrific stories of young people trapped in the vicious web of human trafficking and don’t have the slightest clue how we can help. However, if we can continue to reach through the darkness armed with our own little light—if we can simply keep pressing on even when the world sends us messages that the problem is too huge—I believe we will find helping hands that are also reaching out to inspire us to make a difference. Each one of us holds a light that can shine hope into the lives of others. As we join forces with one another, the flame of change can only grow stronger and brighter. On November 3rd, two strong lights in the Richmond community joined together and a difference was made. “Well done, RJI and Hope Thrift volunteers. Well done.” ~ Amanda Conrad

RJI Speaks Before the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Sara Pomeroy and I drove to Germanna Community College in Fredericksburg on October 3rd to speak before the Alpha Kappa Sorority, Xi Upsilon. It was because of their desire and request to learn about the human trafficking issue that we went and spoke before one of their monthly meetings. Giving Sara a much needed break, I spoke this time. As more and more requests come in from various groups and organizations wanting to learn about human trafficking, all the volunteer staff members are now having to step up to the plate and be willing to speak before these groups on the issue. Attending that day was a group of around 20 to 30 women.

I began by helping them to truly understand just what human trafficking is by first defining what it constitutes, then discussing statistically just how big the problem is here in the Unites States and internationally, and finally how it happens – how people fall victim to trafficking. It is always amazing to me to see how the eyes of those in attendance light up at hearing the magnitude of the problem and just how close to home human trafficking really is to their safe little worlds. They are also amazed at learning that NO ONE is exempt from becoming a possible victim. Not because of their socio-economic background, or their gender, their age, or ethnic background – everyone is a potential victim.

Once ensuring they had a better definition of human trafficking, I then spoke on just what a victim looks like. Having a better understanding of the characteristics of a victim of human trafficking can lead to clues that may help to identify victims. Understanding for instance: where they may work, their living conditions, the physical signs, what their fears are, their coping mechanisms for dealing with the horrible conditions they are having to endure – may all lead to identifying and possibly rescuing a victim.

We then like to bring the issue closer to home – to Virginia, so that those in attendance understand that this is not an issue that just happens overseas far far away. Human trafficking is a horrific problem occurring in their own back yards. Articles were then presented from different Virginia periodicals of actual human trafficking cases that have occurred just this year alone. Many were shocked to learn that most of the victims presented in these articles were actually purchased through Backpage.com. Even more shocking to most was to learn that our very own state was only recently on the dirty dozen list for human trafficking. Yes….it’s just that rampant here in the state of Virginia!

While it is easy to become very discouraged at this point on hearing all this information about a very grim subject, we were also able to provide hope and encouragement. I presented the laws that have been passed in just the last few years here in our state that have made a difference in dealing with this issue. But we still have more work to do to truly eradicate this problem from the state of Virginia. And that is why Richmond Justice Initiative exists – to “educate, equip and mobilize communities with the tools needed to be a force in the global movement to end human trafficking in the United States.” We do this through “awareness, education, prevention, advocacy and prayer.” We in essence have a two part mission: 1) to stop trafficking and 2) create modern day abolitionists.

Want to become involved yourself in helping to end this evil? Then follow RJI by visiting our web site (www.rvaji.com), our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/justiceRVA?fref=ts), on Twitter (Justice RVA), or just email us at justicerva@gmail.com for more information. ~ Christina Nyczepir

The Importance of Fair Trade

This past week, Hannah Dodoo came all the way from Ghana to speak about Fair Trade- how it has made a huge impact in her life and how fair pay, safe working conditions and an encouraging working environment have kept her and her employees from being lured into bondage.  Dodoo emphasized how consumers’ buying decisions so greatly impact the quality of life of so many and that by buying fair trade, consumers are directly helping people stay away from situations where they could be lured into trafficking.

Responsible Consumerism: Why it’s important

Responsible consumerism begins with an understanding that the products we buy and invest in affect the living conditions of people around the world.  In today’s global society, there are services and products that are made both ethically and unethically.  In order to be a responsible consumer, it is important to choose companies that not only care about human rights but also actively monitor the impact of their decisions on people, whether directly within their business or to the businesses to which they outsource.  As Hannah Dodoo explained, choosing to buy from such companies can have a tremendous positive impact on developing communities and help prevent trafficking.  It is important to look for and buy from companies that have a strong commitment to human rights through their code of corporate responsibility, usually found on their company website.  One of these ways is through purchasing Fair Trade.

Fair Trade: Richmond and Around the World

On October 24, Richmond Justice Initiative partnered with Ten Thousand Villages Richmond, Ellwood Thompson’s, and VCU School of World Studies to host Fair Trade Towns USA and Global Mamas, a fair trade artisan group, for a series of events highlighting the important impacts of buying Fair Trade.  At lunch, community members that are actively involved in educating and promoting fair trade in Richmond came together to learn about the possibility of making Richmond an official Fair Trade Town.  It was an incredible experience to be sitting in a room with community leaders and business owners who had never been in the same room together, who are passionate about changing the climate in Richmond to be more sensitive to human rights issues and Fair Trade in business.  Hannah Dodoo, an artisan and fair trade shop owner in Ghana shared with the group about the crucial importance of Fair Trade business and what an impact it has made in her life and in the lives of thousands of artisans around the world.  Hannah said, “If a woman borrows just $10 from a man, it will end up costing her so much more, she’ll continually unwillingly end up in the man’s bedroom to pay for her ‘debt.’” Hannah shared that people know they will be treated and paid fairly if they are employed with a fair trade organization, such as Global Mamas.  She said that this brings hope to them, allows them to build a life, and stay away from the dangers that too easily result in trafficking. As Hannah explained, “without fairness in business, there is no happiness”.  During the evening, students and community members gathered at VCU to learn more about Fair Trade and how they can be involved as educated consumers.  If you have any additional questions about responsible consumerism or if you too are interested in finding out more about making Richmond an official Fair Trade Town, please contact me at justicervasocialresponsibility@gmail.com.  Also, please click here to visit the RJI Responsible Consumerism page for more information on this topic and a list of shopping resources.

Save the Date!  On Thursday, December 6, we hope you will bring your holiday shopping list and come out to Ten Thousand Villages in Carytown to shop!  During this wonderful opportunity, from 6-8pm only on December 6, a percentage of the sales will go to directly benefit Richmond Justice Initiative!  This is not only a great occasion to find unique gifts for your family, friends, and co-workers but also to contribute in a meaningful way to Richmond Justice Initiative and to the lives of artisans around the world through purchasing fair trade.

Written by Jessica Sutton

The “Nefarious” Showing at UR

Girls in a window. Dressed up. Looking as if they were going out on the town. But with no smiles. Only depressed, detached eyes. With signs below them that read: Humans for sale. People to go.

This describes an awareness event that took place on the University of Richmond’s campus in September.  SSTOP (Students Stopping the Trafficking of People) used a prominent window in the Student Commons to create an awareness display for students during the week leading up to the showing of the prominent documentary “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls” on UR’s campus.  SSTOP members used the real UR students (as models) in the window to represent sex trafficking victims, talk to other students who walked by about modern-day slavery, and encourage a significant number to come out and watch the documentary on September 21st.  The passion and urgency expressed by the SSTOP members about the topic of human trafficking pressed many UR students (myself included) to leave our comfortable lives for a few hours and view an entirely different reality: that of the modern-day, global sex industry.

It is estimated that there are 27 million individuals enslaved around the world today – some in labor trafficking, some in sex trafficking. Many people, even on college campuses, are just learning about this global injustice.  Benjamin Nolot and Matt Dickey, the directors of “Nefarious”, do an incredible job shedding more light on and uncovering the unfortunate truth about this topic through their documentary. They do this not only by featuring actual victims and perpetrators of the sex trade in their documentary, but also through scripted scenes. These scenes illuminate the evils that could not be caught on camera such as physical and psychological abuse that the pimps inflict upon their victims and the process of purchasing these girls for sex. In this way, they are just as heartbreaking as the scenes that show the actual victims telling their stories.

Some of the stories that stood out to me the most were not of the girls who were forced into prostitution but who actually seemed to “choose” the occupation for themselves. These women were Americans, living the “glamorous” life (or so they had thought) of a prostitute in Las Vegas, Nevada. It is unfortunate how highly sexualized our culture has become and how it serves to objectify women as instruments for sexual pleasure. Many women are prey to the ploys of traffickers because they buy into the idolized images of pimps and prostitutes in American culture. Our culture glorifies the life of a prostitute who is pictured as sexy, free, and in control – case and point being Pretty Woman. What these women in prostitution find out after working for a time in the industry is that it gives them the opposite of what they were looking for. They loose sight of their value as actual human beings and become trapped in the cycles of manipulation-“love”-abuse-and-violence. Regardless of if a woman “chose” to enter prostitution, the exploitation occurring in the sex industry must be addressed if we are ever to restore the dignity of women across the globe.

How can we do this? The tears and the utter silence by the end of the film clearly demonstrated that everyone in the audience was weighted by the horrors of the film. However, while the documentary was filled with much anguish and despair, it also offered a shining beacon of hope regarding the end of human trafficking.  Toward the end, the movie cites William Wilberforce, an anti-slavery activist in the 18th century who spent fifty years of his life fighting towards the termination of the British Slave Trade.  He wisely said, “If to be feelingly alive to the sufferings of my fellow-creatures is to be a fanatic, I am one of the most incurable fanatics ever permitted to be at large”. Just like William Wilberforce who was ultimately successful in his campaign against the slave trade, we must all be “incurable fanatics” regarding the abolition of modern day slavery. This is the only way we can stop the largest growing criminal industry in the world and turn around our highly sexualized culture that so tightly upholds the objectification of women.

After the film a member of Exodus Cry (the documentary’s producing organization) led everyone in a group prayer towards the abolition of sex slavery. Once we were dismissed, University of Richmond students signed up to become more involved in SSTOP and Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI) outside the auditorium.  In showing “Nefarious”, SSTOP was able to widen the circle of “incurable fanatics” regarding the issue of human trafficking, which will undoubtedly only grow in the coming weeks, months, and years amongst the UR student body. ~ Hannah Jacobsen, University of Richmond Student

 

 

 

Screening of Not My Life Documentary by Prevention Project Students

How exciting it was to attend the showing of the Not My Life documentary at Hermitage High School on October 12th.  Exciting, because of the enthusiasm of the Prevention Project students! They are clearly “owning” this human trafficking educational program being piloted in their school. The turnout was amazing with over 300 attending the event at the invitation of the students in the program. What made it more impressive was the fact Hermitage High was facing one of their biggest rivals in football that same evening. Even Principal, Ms. Omega Wilson attended the screening, along with other teachers. In chatting with Ms. Wilson briefly, she said she too is very impressed with the program and the students’ openness to becoming so involved in this fight to stop human trafficking. To learn more about Richmond Justice Initiative’s (RJI) Prevention Project and to keep up with the program as it progresses, visit our web site and Facebook page set up especially for this program. (https://www.prevention-project.org/home.php; https://www.facebook.com/thepreventionproject?fref=ts)

The evening started with students and those they invited entering the school with the opportunity to purchase various Prevention Project items. T-shirts, buttons, and black wrist bands, with the Prevention Project symbol of the big orange “X”, were for sell with all proceeds going strictly back into the program. Some of the students even made baked goods to sell (also decorated with the orange “X”) all in an effort to raise even more monies for the program they strongly believe in.

As the screening began, students filed into the auditorium. RJI Director, Sara Pomeroy greeted the students and made opening remarks – also providing the students with a text number where they could ask questions about anything they saw in the movie as the movie progressed. “Not My Life is the first documentary film to depict the horrifying and dangerous practices of human trafficking and modern slavery on a global scale.” While those responsible for making the film acknowledge that millions of adults universally are forced into human trafficking, there focus is on the children forced into slavery as they represent the vast majority of those trafficked.  It is this fundamental truth that causes the film’s director, Oscar nominee Robert Bilheimer, to raise the questions: 1) “What kind of society cannibalizes its own children?” and 2) “Can we do these sorts of things on such a large scale and still call ourselves human in any meaningful sense of the term?” For further information on this documentary, visit their web site: https://notmylife.org/

For me, the most touching time of the event – were the interviews held of the students after the screening for purposes of feedback on the program. Also, the entire Prevention Project is being filmed for the production of its own documentary. The purpose of this documentary is to promote the Prevention Program to others interested in seeing a human trafficking educational program in their schools. Already schools not only throughout the state of Virginia, but in other cities within the country, have made it clear that they want this prevention program in their schools to educate their children. I love the remarks made by one female student of the program when interviewed about her feelings and opinions about the Prevention Project. To paraphrase her, she said that when the issue of human trafficking was first presented to her, she thought the instructors were being overly dramatic about how big an issue it is. But now…..now she SEES the enormity and the horror of the human trafficking issue worldwide. She also said that as time progresses and she sees this program grow and spread throughout the schools in the United States, she can look at it and say with pride, “Yah, I started that.” I couldn’t help but tear up as I realized that these students were owning the program, owning their new positions as modern day abolitionists. In doing so….they then become the solution to preventing and eradicating human slavery. ~ Christina Nyczepir