Mrs. Stephanie Vu
Human trafficking survivor-advocate
Detective William Woolf
Fairfax County Police Department
Mrs. Cindy McCain
Arizona Governor’s Task Force on Human Trafficking
Mr. John D. Ryan
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
TV News Clips of the Hearing
Human trafficking is a form of modern-day slavery. Not only is it an affront to human dignity, but it is an insidious criminal enterprise. Approximately 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders each year, according to the U.S. State Department. This figure does not include the thousands who are trafficked annually within countries, including the United States. While the hidden nature of trafficking makes reliable numbers difficult to come by, we do know traffickers prey on the most vulnerable.Traffickers can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year selling women and children, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Polaris Project, one of the leading anti-trafficking organizations in the country.
The 2008 reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was appropriately titled the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Act, named after the stalwart abolitionist who tirelessly fought to eradicate the British slave trade. Wilberforce famously said, “Having heard all this, you may choose to look the other way, but you can never again say that you do not know.” The same could be said of human trafficking today.Trafficking in persons takes a multitude of forms ranging from child sex tourism in distant Thailand, to bonded labor in rural India, to domestic servitude right in northern Virginia. Some people mistakenly assume that human trafficking occurs only in distant lands. But the reality is that it is happening in American cities, to American children. Knowing this, we must not choose to look the other way.
Trafficking in Virginia:
People often think trafficking takes place overseas in places like Thailand. In reality, it takes place right here in Virginia. The links below show how close to home trafficking takes place:
Click here to read a piece from Washingtonian Magazine about human trafficking in Fairfax County.
Click here to read about the sentencing of the owner of an Annandale-based massage parlor to 30 months in prison for transporting women to work as prostitutes and laundering the proceeds from the illegal activity.
Click here to read court documents involving a Georgia man who pleaded guilty in federal court in Alexandria in 2013 of trafficking young girls in northern Virginia. Be sure to read Section 15 on page 6 to see the names and locations hotels in the region where the young girls were prostituted.
Click here to read about how local gangs are finding trafficking women and young girls is more profitable than trafficking drugs.
Click here to read about gang members indicted for racketeering, sex trafficking, robbery, cocaine distribution, and multiple acts of violence.
Shutting Down Backpage.com
On multiple occasions I have implored the Obama Administration to step up its efforts to stop human trafficking including through the possible criminal prosecution of Backpage.com which is reported to be the largest online forum for sex-trafficking under-age
girls in the United States.
- December 6, 2013 letter to Attorney General Holder
- October 23, 2013 letter to Attorney General Holder
- October 23, 2013 letter to President Obama
- July 30, 2013 letter to Attorney General Holder
- March 27, 2013 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder
- June 8, 2012 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder
- April 4, 2012 letter to Attorney General Eric Holder
- Response from Attorney General Eric Holder
News Stories Featuring Backpage.com
- Warants Reveal Details Of Alleged Prostitution Ring (In Frederick County) (1/30/14)
- Online and Anonymous: New Challenges to Prosecuting Sex Trafficking (8/3/13)
- Three Teens Sue Backpage.com Over Sex Trafficking (7/30/12)
- Trafficked Girls Sue Backpage.com (7/30/12)
- Shut down Backpage.com Adult Section (8/17/12)
Click here for information about other efforts to shut down Backpage.com
Targeting Underage Prostitution
Recent FBI operations targeting pimps nationwide who are exploiting children through prostitution is a sobering reminder that human trafficking and child exploitation is happening right in our own backyard. Click here to read more.
Click here to watch a two-part series about a young woman from Fairfax who was lured into prostitution by a Crips gang member.
Click here to read about a case closer to home which involved trafficking of local teens by the gang MS-13. The Northern Virginia Human Trafficking Task Force, comprised of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies - along with nongovernmental organizations - assisted in bringing
in this case.
As chairman of the Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations subcommittee I have worked to include legislative language to strengthen anti-trafficking efforts here at home.
Below are several links to news stories both local and national that highlight the problem of human trafficking.
Trafficking in the U.S.
- FBI: Kids forced into prostitution for Super Bowl (Washington Post February 2014)
- Gangs in Northern Virginia increasingly selling children for sex (Washington Post September 2013)
- Editorial: Trafficked (Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star - June 2013)
- "You're Pretty - You Could Make Some Money" (Washingtonian Magazine - June 2013)
- Sex trafficking forum highlights need for public awareness (Fairfax Times - May 2013)
- Northern Virginia becoming sex trafficking hotspot (The Examiner - May 2013)
- McLean Forum Highlights Sex Trafficking (McLean Connection - May 2013)
- Congressman calls attention to human trafficking in US (Catholic News Agency - May 2013)
- The Slave Next Door (Washington Free Beacon - May 2013)
- Sex Trafficking -- Closer To Your Neighborhood Than You Think (Huffington Post - January 2013)
- Two charged in Annandale prostitution ring (Fairfax Times - November 2012)
- Annandale massage parlor Peach Therapy was full service brothel (Washington Post - October 2012)
- Human trafficking in the USA hits close to home (USA Today - September 2012)
- Manassas Gang Associate Gets 23 Years in Sex Trafficking Case (Fairfax News - August 2012)
- Woodbridge Gang Member Sentenced for Aiding in Sex Trafficking (Woodbrigde Patch - July 2012)
- Justin Strom pleads guilty to sex trafficking (WJLA - June 2012)
- Child sex trafficking a growing threat in region (Washington Examiner - April 2012)
- Financiers and Sex Trafficking (New York Times - March 2012)
- 5 Va. men, alleged Crips members, charged in teen prostitution ring (Washington Post - March 2012)
- Where Pimps Peddle Their Goods (New York Times - March 2012)
- Nova's Asian Massage Parlors Can Be Fronts For Human Trafficking (Washington Post - October 2011)
- Human Trafficking Isn't Just Overseas: It's Alive in DC and its Suburbs (Washington Post - May 2010)
- 'Bawdy' Sterling Massage Parlor Raided (Washington Post - April 2010)
- Police bust Sterling Massage Parlor (Loudoun Times - April 2010)
- Vice Investigators Raid Potomac Falls Massage Parlor (Leesburg Today - April 2010)
- Involuntary-servitude case in New York highlights plight of domestic workers (New York Times - November 2007)
- In DC Area, Most Cases Involve Prostitution (Washington Post - September 2007)
- Ex-worker Sues Envoy Of Tanzania (Washington Post - May 2007)
- Servants: Diplomat Held Us as Suburban Slaves (NPR - March 2007)
- Time to Drop the Massage Parlor Ads (Washington Post - August 2006)
- Conference Spotlights Human Trafficking in Area (Leesburg Today - May 2006)
- Human Trafficking Hits Home (Washington Post - April 2006)
Trafficking Around the World
- CRS Human Trafficking Report
- 2013 State Department Trafficking in Persons Report
- Human Trafficking Roundup Nets 75 in Spain, France (CNN, August 11, 2013)
- U.S. Downgrades Russia, China for Lack of Anti-Trafficking Efforts (CNN, June 20, 2013)
- The Woman's Crusade (Nicholas Kristof NY Times 2009)
- Girls For Sale (Nicholas Kristof - NY Times 2004)
- Bargaining For Freedom (Nicholas Kristof - NY Times 2004)
- Going Home, With Hope (Nicholas Kristof - NY Times 2004)
- Loss of Innonence (Nicholas Kristof - NY Times 2004)
- Stopping the Traffickers (Nicholas Kristof - NY Times 2004)
- Letter to the Trafficking office of the State Department
- Letter to Craigslist on Erotic Services and Trafficking