August Virginia Coalition Against Human Trafficking Meeting
The Virginia Coalition Against Human Trafficking Meeting was held in the Governor’s cabinet room during the month of August. The purpose of the meeting was to gather organizations throughout the state to form one voice as the abolishment movement for Virginia. Some of the attendees of this meeting included the Richmond Division of the FBI, Shared Hope International, the Office of the Attorney General, Courtney’s House, Secretary of the Commonwealth, Tahirih Justice Center, Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS), IJM Regent Chapter President, as well as Sara Pomeroy, Director and Founder of Richmond Justice Initiative. Ms. Kathy Cooper, State Refugee Coordinator for the DSS, presented. The main topic of her discussion was concerning the passing of the Victim Services Bill, and with its passing, how the responsibility of arranging services for victims of trafficking became that of the DSS. Other points of discussion during the meeting were also provided by Ms. Tina Frundt, Executive Director and Founder of Courtney’s House. Ms Frundt shared the recent sex trafficking trends in the state of Virginia. Shared Hope International provided an update on the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). Following this update, James Dold and Nicole Lebouf discussed the proposals to be presented during the 2012 Legislative Session. Some of the proposals are: 1.) to require all strip clubs to post the national human trafficking hotline; 2.)seize the assets of those convicted of human trafficking related offenses and use the funds to help the victims; 3.)to make sure that all of the sex-related human trafficking offenses are added to the registry; and 4.) increase the penalty for solicitation of a minor for prostitution. The meeting ended with an open discussion of what the Virginia abolishment movement hopes to accomplish and how this movement could be most effective.