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Image of the Virginia AG Seal

Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


For media inquiries only, contact:  
Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
Phone: (804)786-5874 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

**Campaign artwork is available in English, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese.**



~ Virginia Office of the Attorney General partnered with Richmond-based digital marketing agency Madison+Main to produce 6-month campaign aiding victims of human trafficking ~

photo of the VA public relations award

RICHMOND (May 19, 2016)--Last evening, Attorney General Mark R. Herring's latest initiative to combat human trafficking in Virginia was recognized with the prestigious Commonwealth Award for Public Service at the 69th Virginia Public Relations Awards. Presented by the Richmond Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America, the Commonwealth Award for Public Service recognizes exceptional public relations programs or campaigns that advance public understanding of societal issues, problems, or concerns.


The winning campaign is a new mobile, data-driven component of the statewide anti-human trafficking campaign Attorney General Herring launched in 2014 to raise awareness of the problem and to generate calls to the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline. Experts believe that Virginia's central location, large number of interstates, and international connections, make the Commonwealth vulnerable to human trafficking.


"Human trafficking is a real and growing issue around the world and we can't pretend it doesn't happen here," said Attorney General Herring. "Whether it's forced labor, domestic work, or even forced sex work, this modern form of slavery robs too many of their freedom, their dignity, and in many instances their childhood. By using cutting-edge mobile technology, we've been able to deliver our message of help directly to the victims, as well as our message of warning directly to the exploiters, in the exact areas where these intolerable activities most often occur. This is an issue everyone in Virginia needs to be aware of and this award is a great acknowledgement that our message is loudly and clearly working."


The online campaign, created by Richmond-based brand communications agency Madison+Main, started in November of 2015 and continued through mid-May. Madison+Main helped the OAG use a unique digital communications strategy to reach two very disparate audiences - victims of human trafficking and those individuals who seek to exploit those victims. Because both groups are difficult to reach through traditional media channels, the campaign targets mobile phones that are within a quarter mile of truck stops along the major interstates in Virginia, which have been identified for human trafficking activity. Because targeting is not restricted to certain websites, the ads appear on any website, as long as the device being used is within a quarter mile of a truck stop.


Mobile internet users in the geo-fenced areas are shown ads on their devices that feature direct language to victims, such as "Are you being held against your will," in a variety of different languages including English, Spanish, Korean, and Vietnamese. Other ads directly address exploiters with messages such as, "She needs your help, not your cash." All ads prominently feature the National Human Trafficking Resource Hotline - 1-888-373-7888.


"Human trafficking is one of the most heinous problems our society faces today and combatting it effectively requires a bold approach," said Dave Saunders, President & Chief Idea Officer of Madison+Main. "We were able to utilize some amazing new mobile ad targeted technology to take Attorney General Herring's desire to help these victims and deliver it directly to them.  Our team saw this as an incredibly important task and we were proud to play a part."


Other awareness initiatives of Herring's statewide campaign have included billboards on major highways and anti-human trafficking stickers on the mirrors of every rest stop in the Commonwealth, which serve more than 32 million motorists annually.


Because of the innovative approach being utilized in this campaign, the National Association of Attorneys General is sharing the materials and strategy with its Human Trafficking Committee and all state attorneys general for their use as they consider how best to combat human trafficking in their own states.




About PRSA Richmond

The Richmond chapter of the Public Relations Society of America is a professional association that serves public relations practitioners living and working in Central Virginia. The Richmond chapter has roots that go back nearly 70 years, to the founding in 1946 of the Richmond Public Relations Association. In 1995, the Richmond Public Relations Association merged with the Old Dominion Chapter of PRSA, establishing one of the largest PRSA chapters in the country. Today, PRSA Richmond serves over 300 members. Each year, PRSA Richmond recognizes outstanding public relations professionals and their work at the Virginia Public Relations Awards. Over its 69-year history, the chapter's awards program has recognized the most creative and effective communications strategies and tactics happening across Virginia. To learn more, visit prsarichmond.org.


About Madison+Main

Madison+Main is a branding, marketing, and public relations agency that gets results for challenger brands. Founded in 2005 and based in Richmond, Virginia, with an additional office in Blacksburg, Virginia, Madison+Main provides creative solutions for a wide variety of clients across numerous specialties, including education, financial, healthcare, retail, residential services, and non-profit organizations. To learn more, visit madisonmain.com.