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Gov. McDonnell Signs Three Bills Curbing Human Trafficking

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Gov. Bob McDonnell signed three human trafficking bills at a ceremony in Annandale, Va. Tuesday.
Michael Pope
Gov. Bob McDonnell signed three human trafficking bills at a ceremony in Annandale, Va. Tuesday.

Governor Bob McDonnell is reaching across the aisle to work with Democrats in the fight against human trafficking and domestic violence in Virginia. In a ceremonial bill signing at Northern Virginia Community College, the Republican governor signed a more than a dozen of bills, many introduced by Democrats

"Those of us who have been in the General Assembly for a while recognize that passing bills is the easy part," said Senator Janet Howell. "Much harder is providing services to the victims of violent crimes."

Several of the bills are aimed at cracking down on human trafficking, which has become a growing problem in Northern Virginia. One of the bills was introduced by Senator Adam Ebbin, who says the recent case of teenage prostitution in Fairfax County might have been undercut if school officials had better training.

"These girls were trafficked while in high school on evening weekends, and it's unconscionable that this could happen," said Ebbin. "We need to better equip teachers, administrators and counselors to detect prevent and report cases like this in the future."

Governor McDonnell agrees that Northern Virginia is increasingly susceptible to human trafficking crimes: "Sometimes proximity to major international airports and larger more cosmopolitan cities is the places around the world where you see the incidences of human trafficking, and what really needs to be done is to raise the level of awareness."

The new laws become effective on July 1.

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