Since December 2015, the Central Virginia Justice Initiative has been fighting human trafficking. The group builds awareness through community events, speaking with law enforcement and health care professionals, school health classes and volunteers, and advocating for legislation to protect the vulnerable and raise the stakes for traffickers. The all-volunteer, faith-based group has also begun training volunteers to provide crisis support for victims.

In support of Human Trafficking Awareness Month, the group has planned several local events.

A panel discussion about human trafficking will be held Jan. 21, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., at the Fredericksburg Hospitality House Hotel and Conference Center in Central Park. Panel members will include a human trafficking survivor, the mother of a human trafficking survivor, and representatives from CVJI, Just Ask Prevention, the Department of Homeland Security and the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office. Admission is free.



Following the panel discussion, the Mary Ball Woman’s Club, The Woman’s Club of Fredericksburg and King George Woman’s Club will host a luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. The luncheon will include a discussion about human trafficking prevention. Tickets are $26, and reservations are required. For reservations, mail a check made payable to The Woman’s Club of Fredericksburg to Box 1005, College Station, Fredericksburg, VA 22402. For more information, email Suzanne Smith at szsmith8@hotmail.com.

The Red Sand Project, a joint effort by CVJI, RCASA and University of Mary Washington, will be held Jan. 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Campus Walk. Students and staff will be invited to pour red sand into the cracks of the sidewalk as a gesture of support to those who fall through the cracks into human trafficking. More information is available at redsandproject.org.

The Rude Mechanicals will perform “Between the Cracks,” a play about the dangers of human trafficking, on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at University of Mary Washington, Lee Hall, Room 411. The play is sponsored by CVJI and UMW.

Based on a true story, “Between the Cracks” follows the harrowing journey of a young girl as she slips into an invisible world that exists between the cracks of a broken society. The play was written by Derek Brown, founder and CEO of Actorshop Ltd., UK. Admission to the performance is free.

For more information about the group and the events, visit centralvajusticeinitiative.com.

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