Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Continuing the Fight Against Human Trafficking

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Dear  Robert:

Human slavery hasn’t gone away. Across the globe, tens of millions of people—mostly children—are enslaved. And this horror is not confined to far away places: by most estimates, as many as 100,000 children are victims of human trafficking right here in the United States, and roughly 15,000 foreign nationals are trafficked into the country each year.

And then theres this heartbreaking statistic: the average age of entry into prostitution is thirteen. Thirteenand many younger still.

Under the leadership of Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Virginia has prioritized efforts to combat trafficking, and the impact is obvious in the Commonwealths recent successes in investigating and prosecuting traffickers. Virginias efforts have been recognized by organizations like the Polaris Project, and if Im privileged to serve as your next Attorney General, I intend to build on these successful initiatives and make Virginia a leader in the fight against this heartbreaking crime.

Yesterday morning, I was joined by Congressman Frank Wolfa national leader in the fight against human traffickingto unveil my plans to crack down on trafficking and provide support to its victims. My plan includes:

  • Making human trafficking a stand-alone felony offense, ensuring that prosecutors have the means to bring traffickers to justice;
  • Adding those engaging in commercial sex with a minor to the sex offender registry, one of the most effective means of deterring prostitution with a minor;
  • Extending asset forfeiture laws to human trafficking, with proceeds deposited in a set-aside fund to cover investigative costs and compensate victims;
  • Ensuring victim compensation and creating a civil cause of action for victims; and
  • Establishing a formal Human Trafficking Task Force to assist prosecutors, collect and publish trafficking data, produce educational materials, and review policy.

You can read the full plan here, or click here to read the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s coverage of this new component of my Safe Communities Agenda.

Human trafficking is the next front in the fight against child predators. Trafficking is a global calamity, but here in Virginia, we are going to do everything in our power to end this terror and offer victims a chance at a new and better life. 

Best regards,

Mark Obenshain


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