West Virginia has NOT criminalized human trafficking.
Without laws specifically recognizing human trafficking, victims risk going unidentified, criminals are given more lenient sentencing, and law enforcement is unable to effectively combat this horrendous crime.
West Virginia has set into motion House Concurrent Resolution 146 (HCR 146), which calls for a study into the existence of human trafficking in the state of West Virginia. However, this nonbinding resolution is unnecessary given that the U.S. government and all other U.S. states have recognized human trafficking as a crime actively occurring throughout the country:
State Department: “The United States recognizes that, like other countries, it has a serious problem with human trafficking for both labor and commercial sexual exploitation.” (The 2010 Trafficking in Persons [TIP] Report)
In 2000, U.S. Congress passed the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, “To combat trafficking in persons, especially into the sex trade, slavery, and involuntary servitude.”
Furthermore, the conclusions found from the HCR 146 study will not be reported until the regular session of Legislature in 2012.
Unfortunately, human trafficking is happening NOW and leaves no state untouched. West Virginia is by no means excluded from this harsh reality.
West Virginia needs to stop lagging behind the rest of the U.S. and pass laws recognizing human trafficking as an official state crime TODAY.
Please sign this petition and tell West Virginia to CRIMINALIZE HUMAN TRAFFICKING!