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Human Trafficking

Virginia Code Mandate

9.1-102(55) gives DCJS the power and duty to:

"In conjunction with the Office of the Attorney General, advise law-enforcement agencies and attorneys for the Commonwealth regarding the identification, investigation, and prosecution of human trafficking offenses using the common law and existing criminal statutes in the Code of Virginia."

Human Trafficking Services Needs Assessment Survey Report

What Is Human Trafficking?

Human trafficking is a unique crime, one that is often hard to identify, investigate and prosecute. Human trafficking activities often occur in conjunction with other crimes, which may mask the trafficking component of the activities. The victims of human trafficking may be unwilling or afraid to cooperate with authorities. Language and cultural barriers can hinder even voluntary communication with trafficking victims.

The federal Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act defines human trafficking, in part, as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision or obtaining of a person for the purposes of commercial sex acts or labor services through the use of force, fraud or coercion.

It is important to distinguish human smuggling and human trafficking, because the two are often confused. A smuggled person is a willing participant; whereas a trafficked person is not. A smuggled person must cross an international border; a trafficked person can be victimized in their home country. A trafficked victim does not have to be moved or transported; only forced into a state of servitude.

Information Sources/Disclaimers

This web page was designed to help law enforcement, Commonwealth's Attorneys, victims services providers and others in recognizing and responding to human trafficking in Virginia. The informational resources contained on this web page draw heavily from existing resources developed by international organizations, federal agencies, other states, and various non-governmental organizations.

Throughout these pages, DCJS provides links to various websites and documents which may be useful to those involved in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting human trafficking and serving victims. Users are advised that these documents and websites are identified for informational purposes and that the information and opinions presented within each are the responsibility of the authors and do not represent official positions or policies of the Department of Criminal Justice Services.

DCJS Contact

For questions about this webpage, contact: Kristina Vadas, 804.786.7802


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