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Child sex trafficking is a far too common in Virginia, according to local detectives, who say they regularly rescue girls from the sex trade.
Fairfax county Detective Bill Woolf says nearly 40 girls in the Northern Virginia area have been rescued from gang-related sex trafficking rings within the past year.
"What we're noticing is the emerging trend of gangs transitioning from traditional crime to sex trafficking, basically because it's a lot easier for them with a higher profit yield," says Woolf.
He says the young ladies who are most vulnerable are the ones who come from dysfunctional families.
"And gangs also use varying methods to build their self-esteem, sometimes they provide them with drugs or money or other things of value to them that they lack at home," Woolf says.
Woolf says parental involvement and simply eating family dinners together are good deterrents. But he's also advocating for tougher laws on the criminals who engage in sex transactions with minors.
Virginia received an F rating in a study on child trafficking by Shared Hope International.
Maryland governor-elect Larry Hogan will announce some of his cabinet appointments today, but there's no early indication which positions he will fill.