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Attorney General, lawmakers focus on human trafficking

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks at human trafficking press conference (PHOTO: Andy Pederson)

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks at human trafficking press conference (PHOTO: Andy Pederson)

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks at human trafficking press conference (PHOTO: Andy Pederson)

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks at human trafficking press conference (PHOTO: Andy Pederson)

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli spoke Tuesday morning on the issue of human trafficking.

Cuccinelli, a Republican who announced plans to run for governor, joined a bi-partisan group of legislators to speak out on the issue.

“Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing criminal enterprises in the country,” Cuccinelli said in a statement emailed to the media. “Besides working to get Virginia’s laws strengthened, it is a major priority of my office to educate law enforcement, prosecutors, and victim-witness coordinators how to identify, prosecute, and prevent human trafficking to rid our commonwealth and our nation of this scourge.

The attorney general said he will support three anti-human trafficking bills in the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session:

  • HB1606 (Hugo)/SB1015 (Howell) – These bills increase the penalty for soliciting prostitution from a minor from a misdemeanor offense to a Class 5 or Class 6 felony, depending on the age of the minor.
  • HB1870 (Bell) – This bill would include Virginia’s basic human trafficking statute — “receiving money for procuring a person” — in the list of offenses that can be investigated and indicted by a multijurisdictional grand jury.
  • HB1826 (Villanueva) – This bill would include Virginia’s aggravated human trafficking statutes in those offenses that officers are allowed to investigate outside their jurisdictions.