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Virginia Passes Landmark Anti-Sex Trafficking Law

02-26-2015
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Virginia lawmakers unanimously passed a landmark anti-trafficking legislation.

If Gov. Terry McAuliffe signs it as expected, the Commonwealth will become the 50th state to enact a human trafficking law.

Ernie Walton, administrative director for Regent University's Center for Global Justice, said the lack of a good anti-trafficking law in Virginia has been a barrier for prosecutors attempting to try pimps and traffickers.

They've had to resort to using abduction and pandering laws, he said.

Virginia Delegate Timothy Hugo and Sen. Mark Obenshain sponsored the legislation, which was supported by the Kids Are Not For Sale Coalition, a coalition with state law enforcement, prosecutors, advocacy groups, schools, and hospitals.

The bill provides stronger penalties for perpetrators and increases protections for child victims. It also criminalizes the recruitment of children and adults for commercial sex.

"We now have strong tools to combat this brutal crime," Obenshain said Friday.

He noted that human trafficking is the second-fastest growing crime in the country.

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