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WHEREAS, human trafficking is a form of modern slavery that occurs in every state, including Virginia, wherein victims are forced to work in various forms of labor exploitation including, but not limited to, commercial sex acts and other services that are induced through force, fraud, or coercion; and
WHEREAS, due to its isolated and discrete nature, many individuals across the globe are unaware that trafficking exists in their communities; and
WHEREAS, it is estimated that more than 40 million people around the world are victims of human trafficking; and
WHEREAS, in the United States, our youngest populations are most vulnerable to exploitation; 60 percent of domestic child trafficking victims are system connected; and
WHEREAS, increased education about how to identify human trafficking along with increased knowledge of in-state resources and services for those affected by criminal exploitation can help decrease the number of future victims; and
WHEREAS, Virginia is committed to creating legal frameworks for investigating human trafficking and prosecuting those engaged in it; and
WHEREAS, the Junior League of Richmond has worked diligently to bring awareness to the fact that human trafficking occurs closer to home than one might think, and that Virginia ranks number 11 in the country for reported human trafficking cases; and
WHEREAS, Human Trafficking Awareness Month is an opportunity to recognize the critical role all Virginians play in preventing, reporting, and adjudicating theses heinous crimes;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize January 2020 as HUMAN TRAFFICKING AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.