Virginia as a source of human trafficking

For many Virginians apart from those living in Northern Virginia, sex trafficking victims have the faces of Asian girls in massage parlors or Eastern European ladies in strip clubs. To them, that the victim’s face can be one of many American children sexually exploited anywhere in the United States does not seem to enter in their mind. However, the past reports show that Virginia is nowhere near to be a safe haven for the minor trafficking victims in the United States. The domestic minor sex trafficking in fact may go unnoticed when general public as well as law enforcement authorities are unaware that American children can be trafficked just as much as Asians or Russians are. 

Virginia as a source of human trafficking

A few cases show the glimpse of the truth behind Virginia as a source of human trafficking:

In October 2009,  police arrested a man who recruited two minors for forced prostitution in Virginia. The two minors were recruited from the state of Virginia, where they were forced into prostitution. The man promised the minors that if they “would serve as prostitutes in Virginia, for a short period of time, they and he would earn enough money to go to Florida for an extravagant vacation.”  As soon as they arrived in Florida, the Virginia minors were also forced into prostitution to pay for hotels, food, and other items. 

In July 2007, A 15 year old girl was taken from a group home in Virginia. She was advertised on Craigslist and forced into prostitution. She was rescued through a software program developed a few years later. 

 And these are, of course, only two cases in addition to numerous examples of sex trafficking in massage parlors and other cases in Northern Virginia. 

Awareness raising is essential

 Some people may argue that human trafficking, apart from Northern Virginia, does not happen in the state because they do not hear about it on the local newspaper. However, this is not to say that children in Virginia are immune from the danger of being trafficked out of the state. Pimps may not choose to sell children in the middle of cornfield in Virginia. But, pimps will, as they certainly have, recruit children in Virginia and force them into prostitution in bigger cities outside of the state. The cases mentioned above therefore are only a reminder that awareness raising effort to protect Virginia children becomes more vital. So, what can you do to educate public and law enforcement authorities to protect Virginia children from being trafficked out of the state? 



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