New law aims to help prevent trafficking of children in Virginia

Posted at 12:50 PM, Jun 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-06 16:35:05-04

HAMPTON, Va. - Legislation is going to effect next month to make sure school districts are trained to help stop sex trafficking.

House Bill 2282 requires the Virginia Board of Education develop guidelines for training school nurses, guidance counselors, and other relevant staff to prevent the trafficking of children.

Virginia ranked 15th in the United States for the most reported cases of human trafficking in 2016.

According to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, there were 148 reported cases last year, with 59 of those involving minors.

“It’s a whole ton of factors for that," Patrick McKenna, the co-founder of the Virginia Beach Justice Initiative said. "Might be related to the hypersexualization of our society, the glorification of pimp culture.”

While some advocates support the law, their concern is that there is no deadline on when the Board of Education has to finalize the guidelines and put them into school districts.

“There is in fact no time frame. That’s something that’s a little disconcerting is that there’s no time frame. I mean, they can take the next five years to develop these guideline," McKenna explained.

McKenna said several local organizations are planning to help the board write the guidelines.

“There’s this collaborative thing going on. Awareness is being raised. Calls are being made," McKenna told News 3.

The law goes into effect on July 1.