I want to share a video with you about what has been done to eradicate the scourge of human trafficking and to protect our children here in Virginia.
In the video, you will meet a friend of mine, Tabatha Mansfield, the former Coalition Coordinator for the Kids Are Not For Sale in Virginia campaign. I have stood alongside her as she fights to end this abhorrent crime in Virginia.
In 2010, I joined the fight against the evil individuals who prey on our children. We’ve made significant progress on making the community aware of human trafficking. Sadly, these criminals continue to find ways to destroy lives.
In 2015, working with human trafficking advocacy groups, I sponsored landmark legislation — HB1964 — that established Virginia’s standalone trafficking statute – we were the final state to do so.
HB1964 set apart the offense of trafficking as a distinct crime and specifically criminalized the trafficking of a minor. Perpetrators now face a class 3 felony when a minor is the victim of trafficking, regardless of whether the child was forced, intimidated or deceived, reflecting the realities of how these criminals prey on the vulnerability and trust of their victims.
HB1964 provides legal tools such as multi-jurisdictional grand juries and sex offender registration requirements that put the community on notice of the threat posed by convicted sex traffickers.
Other legislation I sponsored and passed includes:
– HB1606, increased the punishment for those soliciting minors for prostitution.
– HB1898, made abduction for the purposes of child prostitution a felony.
I take seriously the importance of protecting our children which is why I’ll remain committed to ending the crime of human trafficking in Virginia.