- Groups grow to help victims
As human trafficking in Virginia comes into the public light, organizations just now are developing to help the victims.
In 2012, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services surveyed correctional facilities and human-trafficking services organizations. Of the organizations surveyed, all but one was located outside of the northern Virginia area, the criminal justice department reported. “There are not a lot of resources, but there are some,” said Kim McCabe, professor of criminology and sociology with LynchburgCollege.
Service organizations are working to spread throughout the commonwealth as awareness of trafficking increases.
In 2010, The Gray Haven formed in Richmond to assist victims of trafficking. Since its first referral in February 2012, The Gray Haven has helped more than 30 victims, according to the organization’s website.
The Arbor, a newfound service organization, hopes to open a shelter in Charlottesville for trafficking victims in 2015. The organization plans to house foreign-born women trafficked through the U.S. Even on a national scale, human trafficking resources are comparatively new. The Polaris Project, a national hotline based in Washington D.C. working exclusively on human trafficking, was founded in 2002.
The Gray Haven, The Arbor and Polaris Project all are non-governmental groups that rely on donations to thrive.
“All of these things take money,” McCabe said.
Of the groups surveyed by the criminal justice department, 70 percent reported having six or fewer full-time staff. More than half of the agencies reported no volunteer staff.
The sparseness of resources for human-trafficking victims may seem even greater considering their needs. Nearly 50 percent of the agencies surveyed in the report said victims require food, shelter, transportation and psychological counseling for months.
The criminal justice services department reported post-traumatic stress disorder is common among victims.
“Victims of human trafficking often suffer indoctrination — they may be brainwashed by pimps and others to believe they are worthless; many have no self-esteem,” the department wrote in its report.
Posted: Sunday, June 8, 2014 2:00 am
For many, human trafficking conjures images of frightened women snatched away in the night to be sold in some distant country.
But human trafficking exists in Virginia, even in Lynchburg, authorities have said.
Contact Barrett Mohrmann at (434) 385-5531 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow The News & Advance's Crime and Public Safety Beat on Facebook: http://facebook.com/NewsadvancePublicSafety.
Sunday, June 8, 2014 2:00 am.