​For release on July 17, 2015   CONTACT:
Paola Estanislao, Deputy District Attorney
Human Trafficking Unit
(408) 792-2354   SAN JOSE, MOUNTAIN VIEW, CAMPBELL TEENS WIN DA's “JUSTICE FOR ALL” ART CONTEST   An 18-year-old Valley Christian High School graduate has been awarded the annual District Attorney’s “Justice For All” art award for his powerful and sobering image of a minor blindfolded with an American flag.
Andrew Wassell’s poster – chosen from more than 50 high school students’ entries - will be used in a county-wide campaign against human trafficking. He and the other winners will be given their awards in person by the District Attorney on Monday, July 20, at 12 Noon in the Santa Clara County Building’s breezeway at 70 West Hedding St. in San Jose.
All of the students’ art work will be on display from July 20th – July 24th along the public breezeway. Wassell, of San Jose, said he had seen examples of trafficking while living in the Philippines.
“I was really passionate about human trafficking because I know it’s a big deal,” he said. “I have two sisters, who are older, and I love them, and wouldn’t want that to happen to them.”
Wassell won $500 for his winning poster. Elaine Giles, a 17-year-old Mountain View High student, won $300 for her stark black-and-white portrait of a gagged girl. Brianna Edwards, an 18-year-old Campbell graduate of Westmont, won $200 for her creative collage of images that included a girl on a leash.
All of the entries deeply impressed District Attorney Jeff Rosen, who helped chose the winners.
“There are many strategies to deal with human exploitation, and we are exploring many of them in my Office,’’ the District Attorney said. “One of the best strategies is to raise awareness among young people. They will one day take the mantle of a world that I hope will have far less human trafficking.”   
Santa Clara University Professor and award winning filmmaker Jonathan Fung, director of Hark, a film about human trafficking, was also a guest judge.
The county-approved money used to fund the awards came from the District Attorney’s Asset Forfeiture funds – illegal proceeds confiscated from criminals, such as drug dealers.   # # #

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