Report Indicates 250 Victims Of Human Trafficking In Northern Virginia Last Year
I would like to bring this article to your attention regarding a human rights crisis that is occurring right here in Northern Virginia; human trafficking.
In the article, reporter Justin Jouvenal cites a report from the Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force. Detective Bill Woolf, a member of the task force, revealed that more than 250 victims of human trafficking and nearly 70 human trafficking suspects have been identified in Northern Virginia since the "Just Ask" Prevention Project began last year.
Despite the good work authorities are doing to crack down on this scourge, Detective Woolf noted that victims and traffickers are getting younger as traffickers continue to use social media to recruit and prey upon their victims. Detective Woolf also admits that a "large chunk" of the trafficking in Northern Virginia is gang related.
It is because of these challenges that I sponsored HB546, which passed into law in July 2012. The legislation cracks down on those engaged in human trafficking and provides additional penalties and tools for prosecutors. HB546 addresses the growth of gangs such as MS-13 operating prostitution rings in our area who are now engaged in this heinous crime. These criminal traffickers have victimized women and girls in our area, exploiting them as a part of their crime operations.
Battling these horrific crimes is why I continue to work with my colleagues at the General Assembly as part of a bipartisan coalition to end human trafficking here in the Commonwealth.
To learn more about the signs of trafficking, please visit the "Just Ask" Prevention Project webpage at:http://justaskva.org/.
If you or someone you know is a victim of human trafficking, call 911 for immediate help. The suspicious activity/local crime tip line is: 703-246-4006. Also, the Polaris Hotline and National Human Trafficking Resource Center can be reached at 1-888-373-7888. A representative will be able to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. You can also text the words "Help" or "Info" to BeFree (233733).
If I can ever be of assistance, please do not hesitate to call me at (703) 772-7168 or contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.