Herring requests funding for combating human trafficking
Attorney General Mark R. Herring is asking that funds be included in the introduced budget that will expand the Office of Attorney General human trafficking initiatives into other jurisdictions and provide support for victims in all corners of the Commonwealth.
Currently, the OAG manages two major, successful human trafficking initiatives: the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force and the Richmond Minor Victims of Human Trafficking Project. Herring is proposing $2 million from the American Rescue Plan to create additional human trafficking teams that will allow the OAG to hire support staff and expand its human trafficking initiatives across Virginia.
“I am incredibly proud of the work my team has done to combat human trafficking and support victims in the Hampton Roads and Richmond regions. It is clear that our comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach works, which is why it’s so important that we get the funding to expand our efforts statewide,” Herring said. “Human trafficking robs its victims of their humanity and oftentimes preys on vulnerable individuals who are only looking for financial support, stability, or acceptance. By raising awareness about human trafficking and providing crucial resources, we can give victims a path towards justice and healing and help end this heinous crime in Virginia once and for all.”
With this funding, the OAG will be able to expand it successful human trafficking initiatives into every corner of the Commonwealth. The OAG will hire human trafficking support staff in each regional office – Central Virginia, Northern Virginia, and Southwest Virginia – in addition to the coordinators already working in Hampton Roads and Richmond to lead efforts in those regions using the same models that have already proven effective in Hampton Roads and Richmond to support victims. Additionally, the funding will allow the OAG to:
- Create or support existing local and regional human trafficking task forces and coordinate multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) comprised of local law enforcement, local social services offices, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, local hospitals, and domestic violence service providers to address juvenile trafficking cases.
- Provide response protocols for accessing case management services and provide training to partner agencies on the human trafficking of minors, effective forms of response and intervention, and screening methods used to identify potential victims.
- Heighten community awareness of human trafficking issues and engage community partners in prevention activities.
This funding will allow the OAG to expand its human trafficking services to support juveniles who are minors, expand training efforts in schools, special victims units, the hotel/motel industry, the transportation industry, construction and labor, and expand partnerships with probation and parole and university and college communities, as well as continue efforts to support the LGBTQ+, non-English speaking and Native American populations.