Home Gov. Youngkin donates salary, taking steps to ‘end scourge of human trafficking’
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Gov. Youngkin donates salary, taking steps to ‘end scourge of human trafficking’

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Operation Light Shine, a nonprofit organization working to end human trafficking, recently received a donation from Gov. Glenn Youngkin – his second-quarter salary. Operation Light Shine created the INTERCEPT approach, or the Inter-agency Child Exploitation and Persons Trafficking task force.

“Operation Light Shine is an important partner in the process of eliminating human trafficking in the Commonwealth,” said Youngkin. “Together we are taking comprehensive steps to end the scourge of human trafficking. It’s a cancer, it’s an abuse, and it’s a blight on our Commonwealth, nation and world.

“This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, it’s a human rights issue that we all know affects every community, every race, every socio-economic group, and it’s on the rise globally.”

First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin agreed with her husband.

“This issue has weighed heavily on Glenn’s and my heart and is one of the reasons Glenn felt called into this level of service,” said the First Lady. “We are inspired by the relentless efforts and innovative work being done by Operation Light Shine to eradicate human trafficking.”

Operation Light Shine created the task force to provide the resources, staffing and support required to identify and rescue child victims, apprehend their offenders and reduce the risk through public education and awareness.

The state-of-the-art facilities bring together law enforcement, NGOs, prosecutors, victim services, and medical professionals in a multi-disciplinary approach to fight the exploitation and trafficking of children.

The INTERCEPT task force is a workspace providing all resources required to conduct investigations, plan and run operations, identify and rescue victims, educate parents and youth, process and analyze seized data and serve its community.

The Youngkin administration signed an executive order to establish the Commission on Human Trafficking Prevention and Survivor Support on his first day in office. The purpose of this commission is to increase law enforcement awareness, empower and support survivors and enhance prevention education in the Commonwealth.

Last year, Governor Youngkin signed seven bills that deliver on the Governor’s commitment to enact legislation to combat human trafficking in the Commonwealth and empower survivors.

Building on this effort, Governor Youngkin signed eight additional bills last week, including a ceremonial signing of HB 1426, which allows the Board of Medicine to require health care professionals they license to complete continuing education courses on specific subject areas, and directs the board to make the first subject area to be on the topic of human trafficking.

The bills include:

  • HB 1374 (Taylor) Civil action for trafficking in persons; charge or conviction not required.
  • HB 1426 (Tata) and SB 1147 (Boysko) – If the Board of Medicine designates a subject area for continuing learning activities or courses, the first subject area shall be on the topic of human trafficking.
  • HB 1555 (Brewer) and SB 1373 (Vogel) Higher educational institutions; human trafficking awareness and prevention training required.
  • HB 1575 (Walker) – Internet Safety Advisory Council; powers and duties.
  • HB 1699 (Cherry) Minors; buying or selling, exceptions, penalties.
  • SB 1292 (Deeds) Sex trafficked youth; DCJS to administer two-year pilot program to provide safe harbor for youth.

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Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.