Glenn Youngkin Announces Plan to Combat Human Trafficking in Virginia

June 24, 2021

Says he will “bring the full weight of the law down on traffickers and buyers”

FALLS CHURCH, VA - Political outsider, successful business leader, and Republican nominee for governor Glenn Youngkin announced today a plan to combat human trafficking in Virginia. Glenn will lead the fight to end modern-day slavery in Virginia with a survivor-first, trauma-informed, consequences-enforced approach that brings justice to traffickers and those participating in human trafficking, and prepares and empowers survivors for a better future.

“When I am governor, we will not only bring the full weight of the law down on traffickers and buyers, we will also equip survivors to heal and flourish,” said Youngkin. “Human trafficking is slavery in our time. It leads to the tragic consequences of lives lost to addiction and suicide. I commit to ending this exploitation and abuse, and ridding our state of this evil criminal enterprise.”

There are 339 suspected Illicit Massage Businesses (IMBs) in Virginia, most of which are concentrated in Northern Virginia, Hampton Roads, and Richmond areas.

Youngkin’s plan includes three big goals and identifies key actions that can be taken to combat human trafficking, including:

ENFORCE

  • Create a Governor’s Anti-Trafficking Task Force utilizing the State Trafficking Response Coordinator.
  • Bring together the commonwealth attorneys, Survivor Advisory Council, and law enforcement to form a coalition and make this a bipartisan priority.
  • Increase prosecutions and impose jail time as opposed to just a fine. This will put pressure on the buyers and address the demand side of trafficking.
  • Partner with landlords, investigate IMB tax compliance (many don’t fully report revenue), and work with other private sector partners to shut down IMBs.
  • Ensure all Virginia law enforcement are thoroughly trained in identifying trafficking cases and interacting with victims.
  • Work with authorities to ensure social media and tech companies actively fight trafficking on their platforms and are held accountable if they don’t.

EMPOWER

  • Create a Survivor Advisory Council to receive insights on how to empower survivors.
  • Provide resources survivors need for mental and behavioral recovery and wellness, focusing on the tools they need to address their trauma moving forward.
  • Foster public/private partnerships to educate, train, and empower survivors through a career and path to a brighter future.

EDUCATE

  • Increase education about recognizing the signs of a potential trafficking victim and the appropriate ways to take action.
  • Require school online safety training and education on the amount of trafficking that occurs online, especially through social media.
  • Expand efforts to increase awareness of the National Trafficking Hotline and other resources for victims to report and get assistance in escaping trafficking.
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