In 2013, Michele Trampe of Spotsylvania founded Central Virginia Justice Initiative (CVJI). It started with a search for volunteer opportunities for the staff that she manages in the Richmond-based company where she worked at that time. She came across The Salvation Army's webpages on human trafficking. Not only was modern day slavery an appalling reality across the globe but it was also happening in the U.S. She wanted to find out more, and especially if it had a local presence. She met with someone from the Spotsylvania County Sheriff’s Office and her concerns about this heinous activity were confirmed and she sensed a leading from God to do more.
As a result, CVJI held its first public meeting in December 2013. A core group of 6 to 10 volunteers attended the meetings, along with others. Michele invited some from the core to form a board of directors which has grown from three including Michele to five in 2016. CVJI was incorporated in 2014 and in 2015, received its 501 (c) non-profit status.
From 2014 to 2016, the organizations’ activities included public movie nights, Evenings of Awareness, Evenings of Prayer, and hosting tables at community events. CVJI joined advocacy efforts for passage of federal and state legislation that addressed human trafficking. Volunteers participated in speaking engagements and panel discussions on human trafficking. Volunteers provided training for the general public, healthcare workers and hotel/motel workers, in conjunction with law enforcement. Volunteers also met with NGOs and human services agencies to create awareness about human trafficking.
Since founding CVJI, Michele has anticipated getting involved in aftercare because there isn’t any organization dedicated to meeting the needs of victims coming out of trafficking situations in the Fredericksburg area. In 2016, CVJI's Board of Director's approved a plan to pursue an after-care facility and victim services.
Our strategy is based on 6 Primary Areas of Focus:
- Awareness: We believe a critical first step towards combating human trafficking is to realize and accept that it is a problem; not just overseas, but here, in our own country, states, cities, and towns. That is why we are committed to continually spreading awareness throughout our community in the forms of handing out literature and holding local awareness events such as plays, fashion shows, and Evenings of Awareness. For more information, check out our Awareness Page.
- Education: We believe strongly in educating our community on the dangers, signs, lures, locations, and circumstances of human trafficking as well as on how to report it. We do this through Human Trafficking 101 classes, Movie Nights, Hotel/Motel workers training, participating in local Trafficking Forums, and partnering with local agencies. If you would like to host your own Movie Night or request one of our speakers click here.
- Advocacy: We believe it is extremely important not only to get more human trafficking legislation passed, but to be discerning about which legislation to get behind. Check this site regularly or follow us on Facebook or Twitter for updates on what we are supporting. For more on Federal, State, Local, and upcoming legislation, check out Polaris Project's Policy and Legislation Page.
- Prevention: We believe in stopping potential human trafficking cases before they start and that this effort starts with our youth. That is why we support prevention programs for youth.
- After Care: We believe in the countrywide need for more after care facilities and the pivotal role they play in the recovery and future of victims of human trafficking. We are looking to partner with other organizations to provide after-care in our area.
- Prayer: We believe prayer is our greatest weapon against human trafficking. We also believe in the healing power of Jesus Christ, not just in the lives of the victims, but in law enforcement, churches, non-governmental organizations, and the traffickers and Johns. We pray continually every day and invite others in the community to do the same along with us both in their daily lives and through organized Prayer Nights. If you would like to organize a Prayer Night with us, contact us.
- Michele Trampe: Executive Director/Chair of the Board
- Kathleen Lewis: Director of Communications/Board Secretary
- Jackie Grizzard: Board Member/Treasurer
- Paul Trampe: Board Member