Friday in Richmond, Governor Bob McDonnell issued an Executive Directive to expand Virginia's fight against human trafficking at the first-ever Governor's Summit on Human Trafficking.
McDonnell called on the Secretary of Public Safety and other members of his Cabinet to establish an Anti-Human Trafficking Coordinating Committee to assure the commonwealth's response to human trafficking is comprehensive and coordinated.
The Coordinating Committee's role will be to follow up on a number of recommendations put forward by an informal workgroup and to develop new recommendations and strategies for strengthening the state's response to human trafficking.
During the summit, Governor McDonnell said, "Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world. This horrible crime generates billions of dollars in profits by victimizing people through control and exploitation. We have worked over the last three years to strengthen Virginia's laws against human trafficking, but there is more to be done to combat this growing crime. Through the Governor's Summit on Human Trafficking we have brought together representatives from state and local government, as well as advocacy groups, to draw attention to this heinous crime and work toward comprehensive solutions to fight human trafficking."
McDonnell also said he will consider including in the upcoming two-year budget funding for a grant program to support pilot programs designed to reduce prostitution and provide services to victims of trafficking.
In addition to announcing his Executive Directive and consideration of a budget initiative, the governor highlighted Virginia's progress in creating a legal framework for more effectively combating trafficking and in taking steps to better coordinate the state's efforts to raise awareness of the problem and the harm done to the victims.