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Over the past few years, Human Trafficking has taken center stage thanks to the advocacy of celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith and Angelina Jolie. Films like Taken have defined our concept of the global epidemic.

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According to the Polaris Project, The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 20.9 million victims of human trafficking globally.  The Project even includes hotline stories on their website where you can read stories of individuals who have reached out to the National Human Trafficking Hotline for help.

However, despite the growing conversation, many are still unclear as to what human trafficking really is. Recently, I sat down with Ms. J the founder of Diamonds in the Rough, a resource committed to the awareness, prevention, and training of survivors and survivor advocates.

She spoke candidly about the various types of trafficking, the common myths and misconceptions, and the impact on the culture here in Richmond.

Ms. J is on the ground level fighting for the victims of this form of modern-day slavery. For her safety and the safety of the survivors that she supports, she insists on using a pseudonym. For those looking to contact Ms. J, she can be reached at

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