HB 2016—Human Trafficking. Defines human trafficking to include the use of force, deception, or coercion, for the purpose of subjecting a person to involuntary servitude, debt bondage, concubinage, prostitution, or slavery. The bill provides that any person who engages in human trafficking is subject to the provisions of the Virginia Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, and provides for forfeiture of a trafficker’s property used in, and proceeds gained from, trafficking. The bill also creates an affirmative defense to criminal activity engaged in by a victim of trafficking.
However, the issue this bill pertains to is already in the Code of Virginia. Out of concern, the Virginia State Crime Commission conducted a study in 2006 to determine if any of the criminal activity listed in HB 2016 is not currently covered in the Code of Virginia. After a thorough study, the Crime Commission found all current criminal activity listed in HB 2016 except for one was already illegal according to the Code of Virginia. As for this one activity not covered, HB 1921 was passed in 2007.
Last week we found another thing that was not included – forfeiting of property. We asked the patrons to prepare an amendment to add forfeiture of property for property used in the course of human trafficking.
Let me assure you that I am very concerned about human trafficking. That is why I made sure that every element listed in HB 2016 was currently covered in our Code of Virginia. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.
David B. Albo