Virginia Takes The Lead

VA Takes The Lead Logo #2

On August 1, 2016 at Virginia Commonwealth University the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia formally began a quest to become the undisputed national leader in the fight against human trafficking and the care and support of trafficking survivors and their families (see link for WRIC TV8 coverage of the 8/1/16 program at VCU – http://wric.com/2016/08/01/virginia-takes-the-lead-aims-to-fight-human-trafficking/)  The name of this quest is Virginia Takes The Lead and its strategic objectives and current action plan are outlined below.  The introductory event at VCU served to publicly announce VTTL and its intentions, and acted as a pep rally to energize and inspire folks from the Richmond region and across Virginia who have been actively working to eliminate trafficking and care for its survivors.

Virginia Takes The Lead (VTTL) is a private-public initiative born out of a grassroots effort to end human trafficking = modern day slavery.  Originally conceived by Laura Lederer (Founder, Global Centurion Foundation) and Rick Tatnall (Replenish Richmond), VTTL is an organically developing collaboration of individual Virginians partnering with federal/state/local law enforcement & government agencies, Virginia colleges & universities, non-profits, health organizations, businesses and the faith community.  VTTL organizers believe this is Kairos – Virginia’s right and opportune moment to provide the national leadership that is critically necessary to stop the scourge of human trafficking once and for all.  VTTL is based on the belief that with collective pride and purpose, the citizens and the many jurisdictions of the Commonwealth of Virginia can together address this serious public safety and public health issue head on, offering a model of the power of collective impact to other states across the nation and countries around the world.

Ending modern day slavery is akin to completing a picture puzzle when you are missing a lot of pieces.  We know our goal – on the front of our puzzle box is a beautiful picture of what Virginia will look like when human trafficking is eradicated.  Since we also know we’re missing a lot of pieces, the primary goal for VTTL in 2018 is to put all the pieces we do have on the table – defining who is currently doing what, where and why.  That effort has been gaining momentum across the Commonwealth and especially in the Richmond region.  Once we know our available puzzle pieces and their current shapes and sizes, then VTTL can work to define what new pieces must be created and which pieces might we look to reshape or expand in size.

VTTL organizers recognize that the Virginia puzzle is just a small part of the national puzzle, which is in turn a small part of the global puzzle that is modern day slavery.  Human trafficking is a moving target and for VTTL efforts to be successful in the Commonwealth, they must be coordinated with national and international organizations and initiatives.  Most importantly, VTTL organizers recognize that the fight against human trafficking is about collaboration, not competition.  VTTL is not about organizational ego or who gets the credit; it is about strategic collaboration and action to affect transformational change and requires everyone to be a part of the solution. “Taking the lead” is really about stirring up the powerful Virginia characteristics of pride and purpose and harnessing these attributes to propel the Commonwealth into a national and international leadership role.

Strategic Objectives + Action Plan (as of 10/1/2018)

Virginia Takes The Lead (VTTL) Strategic Objectives

  • Create and continually refine VTTL Partners – a Virginia oriented database of individuals, organizations and government agencies working in the fight against human trafficking and in support of the survivors – include names, contact info, on-line presence, programs and services (including what is in the pipeline), current collaborations > subdivide information gathered into 4 VTTL quadrants – Central VA, Northern VA, Tidewater VA + Southwest VA
    • Establish an information sharing network between the leaders in each quadrant
  • Create and maintain Virginia-centric, sector specific training modules (classroom + on-line) and information databases for different community subsets including:
    • Education – administrators, faculty, staff, campus safety & security professionals – K thru 12 and Higher Education
    • Law Enforcement (police officers, sheriff deputies, victim-witness advocates, prosecutors, judges) – Federal, state, local, private
    • Social Services – Federal, state, local, non-profit, for-profit
    • Business – Retail, restaurants, convenience stores, hotels & motels, construction
    • Health Care – Doctors, nurses, administrators, staff
    • Faith, Civic and Neighborhood organizations
  • Create and maintain basic metrics for the Commonwealth of Virginia in terms of learner knowledge, retention and application to job
  • Equip Virginia’s higher education institutions to be epicenters for change and incubators to increase public awareness about the problem of trafficking, how to recognize the signs, and expand ideas, energy and action to solve the problem
  • Engage Virginia’s higher education community to develop new research that measures the problem and the progress in the fight against trafficking and support of the survivors
  • Create and fund a connected network of treatment and shelter facilities for trafficking survivors and their families across the Commonwealth
  • Create an on-line portal of information & ideas to facilitate sharing between VTTL Partners
  • Highlight and benefit from the good work and experience of current leaders in Virginia in the fight against trafficking and support of the survivors, including:
    • Virginia Office of the Attorney General + DHS Blue Campaign
    • Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Initiative – NOVA HTI
    • Virginia Beach Justice Initiative – VBJI
    • Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance
    • Straight Street (Roanoke)
    • Central Virginia Justice Initiative (Fredericksburg)
    • Henrico County Commonwealth’s Attorney Office and Police Department
    • Bon Secours Virginia Health System (Richmond & Tidewater)
    • Richmond Justice Initiative “Prevention Project”
    • Safe Harbor (Richmond Region)
    • ImPACT – People Against Child Trafficking (Midlothian)
    • Latisha’s House (Williamsburg)
    • Samaritan House (Hampton Roads)
    • Global Centurion Foundation (Arlington)
  • Develop a growing alliance of support within the Virginia General Assembly for Virginia Takes the Lead and invest and involve the GA to enact legislation and appropriate funding to facilitate the efforts of the VTTL Partners
  • Develop collaboration between local jurisdictions in the 4 VTTL quadrants to enact legislation and appropriate funding to facilitate the efforts of the VTTL Partners

Virginia Takes The Lead (VTTL) 2019 Action Plan

  • Create a relationship with VCU Brand Center to brand VTTL and develop the necessary on-line presence (website, social media) to be successful – start discussions January 2019
  • Identify the financial and intellectual resources (dollars and time investment) necessary to institutionalize Virginia-centric and sector-specific training modules and information databases
  • Identify the financial and intellectual resources (dollars and time investment) necessary to enhance the aforementioned training by developing basic metrics for the State in terms of learner knowledge, retention and application to job
  • Create & conduct a survey to define all of the VTTL Partners across the Commonwealth for the VA database
  • Promote the 4 VTTL Quadrants – Central VA, Northern VA, Tidewater VA + Southwest VA – as epicenters of action and collaboration.  Develop a communication network between the leaders of the four quadrants
  • Develop a legislative “wish list” for the 2020 General Assembly session – by 10/31/19
  • Develop a local jurisdiction legislative “wish list” for each quadrant – by 10/31/19
  • Prepare Virginia’s higher education institutions (75+) to become epicenters of the VTTL movement, spreading information and grooming activists and leaders for the future.  Each of Virginia’s higher education institutions will be asked to do the following:
    • Develop institutional protocols and training for staff / faculty and examine current campus operations and data collection starting in January 2019
    • Facilitate the creation of a formal student group that will assist with implementing the VTTL programming on campus starting in 2019; first looking for a student group already working on these issues that will agree to accept the VTTL responsibilities – if there is not already a student group, it is asked that the new group be called “The Freedom Project @ ?” for branding / creating continuity
    • Work with each student group to produce a VTTL information and awareness event on campus by the end of 2018/2019 school year
    • Work with the student group to spread the VTTL message to faculty, staff and alumni – develop an information dissemination plan ready for the start of the 2019/2020 academic year
    • Work with the student group to spread the VTTL message to the surrounding community – develop an information dissemination plan ready for the start of the 2019/2020 academic year
  • Develop an action plan to connect the student groups at all Virginia higher education campuses in common purpose – complete Connection Action Plan by the end of 2018
    • Start in January 2019 to connect the five major higher education institutions in the Richmond region to showcase connection opportunities > Randolph Macon / U of R / VCU / VSU / VUU
    • Start in January 2019 to connect the 23 Virginia Community Colleges in common purpose
  • Create a survey to define the areas of Virginia where treatment centers and shelter for trafficking survivors are non-existent or lacking in services; develop an action plan to bring all sectors of the Commonwealth up to the same levels of quality and service – ASAP
  • Identify and map specific kinds of trafficking problems in Virginia (i.e. street gang sex trafficking, sex and labor trafficking in Virginia Beach and other tourist areas, etc.) – ASAP

VTTL Leadership – to be expanded in 2019

  • Replenish Richmond LLC, led by Founder and Manager Rick Tatnall
    • Replenish Richmond will manage the strategic objectives and action plan items
    • Rick Tatnall – (804) 325-3674 (land line) /  rick@replenishrichmond.com
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