On May 6th, 2011, the Human Trafficking of Central Virginia Working Group met with the FBI, police, and Homeland Security at the Richmond FBI field office. Main speakers included Stuart Petro from the State Crime Commission, Erin Kulpa from the Attorney General’s Office, Peggy Roberts from Homeland Security, and Brian Hood, a civil rights investigator.
Stuart Petro reported the results of his research on the human trafficking issue in Virginia.
Erin Kulpa conducted a thorough analysis of current Virginia anti-trafficking laws, including § 18.2- 47(B) Abduction for Forced Labor, § 18.2-59 Extortion, § 18.2-356 Receiving money for procuring person, § 18.2-48 Abduction, § 18.2-346(B) Solicitation of prostitution, § 18.2-347 Keeping, residing in or frequenting a bawdy place (brothel), § 18.2-348 Aiding prostitution, § 18.2-349 Using vehicles to promote prostitution, § 18.2-355 Taking person for prostitution , or consenting thereto, § 18.2-356 Receiving money for procuring person, § 18.2-357 Receiving money from earnings of prostitute, § 18.2-374.1 Production of child pornography, and others. Ms. Kulpa reminded those in attendance that while none of these laws use the words “human trafficking,” they are all useful tools in arresting and prosecuting human traffickers.
Peggy Roberts spoke about human trafficking from an illegal immigration vantage point. She explained the differences between the S, T, and U visas, which could be used to help victims of trafficking. She also shared a couple personal stories regarding forced labor that she has seen while on the job.
Brian Hood covered many court cases that have helped define the issue of human trafficking, some of which he had worked on. Some of the cases included: U.S. v. Sabhanin, U.S. v. Farrell, U.S. v. Ubeozor, U.S. v. Afolabi, and a RICO case U.S. v. Askarkhodjaev.
The meeting was closed by the FBI and plans are in the works for the next Working Group meeting.