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AG Herring to Hire Case Worker for Richmond-Area Human Trafficking Victims

Attorney General Mark Herring and Bonnie Price
Attorney General Mark Herring joins Bonnie Price, administrative director of community health advocacy at Bon Secours Richmond Health System and Raymond Villanueva, special agent in charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Washington, D.C. (Whittney Evans/VPM News)

Attorney General Mark Herring announced plans Tuesday to hire a case manager to help underage victims of human trafficking in Central Virginia. The new position will coordinate with local agencies to help them reunite with their families, access health care, counseling and other treatments and services.

“Many of the victims of human trafficking we see have not received basic medical care in years,” said Bonnie Price, an administrator with Bon Secours Health System, which is a partner in the effort.

Stephanie Davis with Child Advocacy Centers in Richmond said in the last two years, about 22 children were identified as human trafficking victims in the Richmond region.

“What we know is that number is only the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “There are many other children who have not yet been identified. And if they were the community wasn’t fully equipped to address the full scope of that child’s needs.”

Herring has made human trafficking a priority since he took office five years ago. He launched a statewide human trafficking awareness campaign in 2014, the Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force in 2017 and helped usher in a new law denying bail to traffickers. 

“We will not let up when it comes to protecting victims and helping them as well as bringing perpetrators to justice,” he said.

Herring said there isn’t a specific timeline for hiring the new case manager.

This new initiative will be funded by a $350,000 grant from the U.S. Justice Department’s Office for Victims of Crime’s Integrated Services for Minor Victims of Human Trafficking program.

Whittney Evans is VPM News’ features editor.