New Virginia Bill Cracks Down on Human Trafficking

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam just signed a new bill that cracks down on human trafficking. This crime earns a total of $150 billion globally, and in 2017, Virginia was the 15th highest state for most-reported trafficking cases.

Human trafficking is the modern-day form of slavery, forcing victims into forced labor and sexual exploitation, and is largely supplied through illegal smuggling and trading of people. Most trafficking tends to occur near areas of large influxes of immigrant populations, such as California, Texas, and Georgia.

The Bill

Del. Mike Mulling, D-Newport News, and Del. Dawn Adams, D-Richmond, proposed the bill which adds four crimes to the “list of human trafficking charges that are not granted bail.” These charges include receiving money for trafficking a person for sex; receiving money from the money earned by a trafficking victim; commercial sex trafficking, and detaining someone for the purpose of trafficking.

The bill was signed at the Norfolk Police Department with Mullin, Adams, the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force, and AG Mark Herring in attendance.

Human Trafficking in Virginia

One of the most disturbing human trafficking facts is that the State of Virginia ranks 15th in reported cases in the U.S. based on 2016 numbers. That year, there were 148 reported cases and 59 of those involved minors, says the National Human Trafficking Hotline.

The state has taken numerous efforts to thwart the trafficking there, including House Bill 2282, which took effect July 1, 2017. This bill requires the Virginia Board of Education to establish guidelines to prevent the trafficking of children for school staff that works directly with children.

One of the most disturbing human trafficking facts is that the State of Virginia ranks 15th in reported cases in the U.S. based on 2016 numbers.

Since 2007, calls made to the National Human Trafficking Hotline in Virginia have totaled 4,248.

There were a total of 1,055 moderate-indicator victims and 1,265 high-indicator victims in total. In 2018, there have been 156 trafficking cases in Virginia reported, with 53 calls received from victims and survivors. 388 cases were found to have high-level indicators of trafficking and 192 were found to have moderate indicators.

Human Trafficking in the U.S.

Human trafficking in the U.S. has steadily climbed on an annual basis. The U.S. Justice Department estimates that 14,500-17,500 people are illegally trafficked into the country each year.

According to statistics by the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there have been a total of 156,312 calls received about possible trafficking, 11,601 web forms, and 11,058 emails. Total moderate indicator victims are 45,241 and total high indicator victims are 43,564.

In 2017, there were a total of 26,557 calls received and 8,524 cases of trafficking reported. 10,708 of victims had high indicators of trafficking, and 10,534 had moderate indicators. 4,687 calls were received from victims and survivors.

The state with the highest number of trafficking cases is California with 1305, and the lowest is Wisconsin with 91.

Most trafficking is for sex, with 6,081 cases in 2017, and 1,249 for labor. The top venues for labor trafficking include agriculture, traveling sales, food service and domestic work. The top venues for sex trafficking include massage and spa businesses, hotels, escort services and online ads.

Out of 8,524 cases reported, 7,067 victims were female and 1,124 were male. 5,278 were adults and 2,495 were minors. In addition, 1,947 were U.S. citizens and 1,510 were foreign nationals.

Out of 26,557 calls made to the hotline, 8,043 were by a community member and 4,687 were by actual victims. Only 2,510 were made by family members of the victim.

In 2016, human trafficking rose by 35.7 percent in one year.

Human trafficking amounts to modern-day slavery, where a minor or an adult is drugged or otherwise forced to perform work for profit. This can include sex acts, physical labor, and even domestic services. The person who is trafficking either sells the victim for these purposes or continually receives a percentage of the victim’s earnings.

Other forms of modern slavery can include forced marriage and bonded labor, where a victim is performing work to repay a debt.

Human trafficking also involves the illegal smuggling of people across country borders to meet the needs of a country’s consumers. It is a federal crime to force a person to work in the U.S.