Governor Glenn Youngkin held a ceremonial bill signing of legislation focused on blocking human trafficking, and a swearing-in of the Commission on Human Trafficking Prevention and Survivor Support. He said the legislation would help victims get their lives back and have future opportunities, help find perpetrators and bring them to justice, and equip members of the public to recognize the signs of human trafficking and know how to respond.

“This is the comprehensive way that we eradicate human trafficking. That’s why I’m so excited about today. I want you to know that part of this is a focus on tracking down, arresting, and prosecuting those that participate in the trafficking and in the procurement of human lives. We will find you. We will arrest you. We will prosecute you. We will get you off the streets. This is our commitment,” Youngkin said.

“What’s happened historically is human trafficking has always been an issue of passion, but it’s been one that has been diffused in execution. And this is our chance with the great work from this commission, that commitment from so many people in this room, from law enforcement, from our attorney general’s office, from commonwealth’s attorneys, from nonprofit organizations all over the commonwealth, from individual passion to bring it all together and make a difference,” he said.

Youngkin signed bills from both Democrats and Republicans, including Delegate Shelly Simonds’ (D-Newport News) HB 258, to create an online training course for hotels and their employees to recognize human trafficking; Delegate Emily Brewer’s (R-Isle of Wight) and Senator Jill Vogel’s (R-Fauquier) bills HB 283 and SB 467, making victims of human trafficking in Virginia eligible for in-state tuition rates, and Delegate Elizabeth Guzman’s HB 1023, which permits high schools to incorporate age-appropriate teaching about prevention, recognition, and awareness of human trafficking.

Attorney General Jason Miyares said, “I think this legislation and this commission is the first step to what I think is going to be a very successful mission in our office, the governor’s office, and the lieutenant governor’s office in eradicating, I think, one of the absolute most heinous, horrific crimes that we see in the Commonwealth.”

This article originally appeared in The Virginia Star. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of The Republican Standard. Republished with permission.