Tag: HB1898

Human Trafficking Bill Signing Ceremony: A Momentous Day!

Governor of Virginia Robert F. McDonnell declared, “Unfortunately, the subjugation of human beings who are forced against their will into labor or worse, into the sex trade, is not something relegated to the history books or to underdeveloped third-world counties,” at the Human Trafficking Bill Signing Ceremony located at Washington Dulles International Airport, a common entrance point that traffickers use to transport victims into the United States. On Tuesday May 31st, 2011, Governor McDonnell initiated an aggressive campaign against human trafficking in Virginia by signing three landmark pieces of legislation, House Bills 1898 and 2190 as well as Senate Bill 1453, which work to strengthen comprehensive laws and close loopholes. For example, HB 1898 acts to amend existing code statutes and significantly stiffen penalties for those who abduct adults for the purposes of prostitution. HB 2190 creates a plan to coordinate effective response for victims of human trafficking to ensure the delivery of social services and resources they need and deserve in order to begin the recovery process.  SB 1453 authorizes the Department of Criminal Justice Services working along with the Attorney General Office to advise and train law enforcement agencies and prosecutors in the identification, investigation, and prosecution of traffickers. RJI was present at the event along with the many delegates, law enforcement officials, journalists, new station crews, and various non-governmental organizations. All of us agree with Sara, RJI Director and Founder, when she stated, “We are very grateful to Governor McDonnell and the members of the General Assembly who, along with the many grassroots organizations in Virginia, have taken an active leadership role on this issue. Together, with the proper awareness and action, we can fight to end modern-day slavery in our lifetime. Today is significant in many ways because it is sending a message to traffickers and those who enslave others that Virginia is open for honest, legal businesses, but closed for slavery.” As RJI and partners are becoming closer and closer to abolishing modern day human slavery, the more and more human traffickers acknowledge the concrete reality that Virginians and America as a whole will no longer tolerate such malicious violations against human rights.

To learn more, please visit https://www.wtvr.com/.

To see more photos from the event, click here.

-Tran, RJI Administrative Volunteer


Legislation Update – Call Your Representatives

Thank you again to all who attended our lobby day in January. We are happy to announce House Bill 2190 has passed in both the House of Delegates and Senate, but there are two bills  that still need our support. Our delegates and senators will be voting on these bills in the coming weeks, so we need everyone to call their representatives to encourage them to support the bills.

Please contact your delegate in regards to SB1453 and your senator in regards to HB1898. You can easily search for your delegate’s & senator’s contact information here. If you have any questions about how to contact your representatives please email RJI.

The bills are as follows:

HB 2190 – Passed both the House and Senate
Introduced by Delegate Ebbin

Requires the Department of Social Services to develop a plan for identifying victims of human trafficking and coordinating the delivery of services such as housing, health care, legal services, job training, education, as well as advising victims of any benefits the victim may be eligible for under Virginia or federal law.

HB1898 – Passed in the House & Pending in the Senate
Introduced by Delegate Hugo & Delegate Watts

Amends the current statutes to criminalize abduction of any person for purposes of prostitution, extend evidentiary protections to victims of human trafficking, and criminalize receiving money for causing a person to become a victim of forced labor or services, prostitution, concubinage, or the manufacture of pornography.

SB 1453 – Passed in the Senate and Pending in the House
Introduced by Senator Newman

Gives the Department of Criminal Justice Services the power and duty, in conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, to advise law-enforcement agencies and attorneys for the Commonwealth regarding the identification, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking offenses using the existing criminal statutes in the Code of Virginia.