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Friday, January 13, 2012

For Immediate Release:

January 12, 2012 


Richmond Justice Initiative Receives $25,000 from AT&T;

Richmond, VA- On Wednesday, January 11, 2012, Delegate Tim Hugo (R-Fairfax & Prince William) joined the Richmond Justice Initiative, Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth Janet Polarek, fellow delegates, and local educators in applauding AT&T;'s $25,000 grant to the Richmond Justice Initiative (RJI) to develop educational programs to help prevent human trafficking in Virginia.

In stating the importance of this grant, Del. Tim Hugo said, "I applaud AT&T; for their commitment in joining the fight against the modern day slavery that is human trafficking, by awarding RJI this Prevention Project Grant. AT&T;'s generous grant will help stop human trafficking before it starts by educating at-risk children in the Richmond schools and surrounding communities of this issue."

The grant will be used to create youth prevention and awareness programs and a training documentary for middle school and high school students about Modern Day Slavery and human trafficking. The programs will "empower students to raise awareness in their school; prevent young people from being trafficked; and create a model for sustainability of the "Prevention Project."

Sara Pomeroy, founder and executive director of RJI, said: "We are beyond grateful for the generosity of AT&T; and their commitment to prevention education in our local communities. RJI is committed to be a part of the movement to end-modern day slavery through awareness, education, advocacy, and prevention education."

AT&T; Regional Vice President Vince Apruzzese said RJI is unique in its innovative and collaborative approach to addressing human health issues. "At AT&T;, we're committed to advancing education, strengthening communities and improving lives," said Apruzzese. "Our support of this project is one way we can help combat human trafficking in Virginia and around the U.S."

The RJI project will not only help stop youth human trafficking before it starts through education on the issue, but will also promote character development and cultivate student leaders to be active in their school and communities in raising awareness about human trafficking.

Last year Delegate Hugo successfully championed stronger laws against child sex trafficking through the passage of his legislation, HB 1898, which raised the penalty for any person abducted for prostitution or any minor abducted for child pornography to a Class 2 felony. The legislation also provided protection to the victims of sex trafficking who testify in a prosecution of their exploiter by preventing questions about their past sexual behavior as reputation evidence.

Delegate Hugo continues his fight against human trafficking this year by sponsoring HB 1074, which increases the penalty for soliciting prostitution from a minor to a felony, and provides an affirmative defense for anyone who is arrested or charged with being a prostitute that was forced, coerced, threatened, or intimidated into prostitution.

The complete text of HB 1074 can be found at this website link: HB 1074
For more information about RJI, visithttp://www.rvaji.com.

Delegate Hugo currently serves as the Majority Caucus Chairman for the House Republican Caucus. He is the Vice Chairman of the Finance Committee and also serves on the Commerce and Labor, Transportation, and Privileges and Election Committees. Delegate Hugo represents Centreville, Clifton, Fairfax, and Fairfax Station in Fairfax County as well as Catharpin, Gainesville, Haymarket, and Manassas in Prince William County.



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