In Virginia, human trafficking is becoming a staggering challenge. While in 2019, 188 cases were reported; in 2020 the number went up to 120 cases, and in 2021, 140 cases were reported by the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
The ongoing problem of child sex trafficking in Virginia is a reality that many people may be unaware of. At Libertas Home, it is our vision to empower and support our community to protect children from predators by raising awareness and providing education. In support of that vision, here are five actionable steps you can take to help raise awareness and support local efforts to combat this issue:
- Get Educated: To better understand the issue of child sex trafficking in Virginia, you can take the OnWatch™ training, which is a survivor-led training designed to empower you to spot, report, and prevent sex trafficking. Through true survivor experiences, the OnWatch training shows the key indicators of trafficking, as well as how you can support a survivor’s path to freedom. You can also consider visiting websites like the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services. You can also read through the varying articles that The Polaris Project or The International Organization for Migration (IOM) offers.
- Spread the Word: Follow our Facebook page to share information and resources on children’s safety to support organizations dedicated to fighting sex trafficking awareness and encourage your followers to get involved. Share news about developments related to sex trafficking in Virginia with your friends and family and support our social media accounts to speak out against trafficking.
- Volunteer Your Time: Consider donating your time and skills to local organizations like the Children’s National Hospital Foundation, which provides medical care and other services to trafficked minors. Another option could be to look into volunteering with groups like the Virginia Trafficking Task Force or the Salvation Army’s Community Anti-Trafficking Initiative. Finally, consider volunteering with us! We always have open opportunities available.
- Support Local Businesses That Fight Against Child Sex Trafficking: Consider patronizing local businesses and restaurants that support anti-trafficking organizations. Companies like the Virginia Restaurant Association and the Greater Virginia Restaurant Association have been actively supporting these initiatives by donating a portion of their proceeds or hosting awareness events. At Libertas Home, we partner with a variety of organizations and businesses who are committed to working with us in the fight against human trafficking.
- Contact Your Political Leaders: Contact your local representatives and members of Congress to advocate for stronger policies and legislation aimed at preventing and addressing child sex trafficking. Support measures that provide support for survivors and work to hold traffickers accountable for their crimes.
By taking these practical steps, we can all make a difference in helping to eradicate this heinous crime and protect vulnerable children.