West Virginia Passes New Human Trafficking Law

West Virginia House Bill 2814, signed by Governor Tomblin,  expands protections to victims of human trafficking.

“Signing this bill into law will provide three new forms of assistance to victims,” said Delegate Barbara Evans Fleischauer, lead sponsor. “Victims will be eligible for compensation under the crime victims compensation act, they can seek damages from traffickers and they may seek to have their criminal records expunged if they were charged with an offense that was a result of being a victim of trafficking, “ she said.

In 2012, West Virginia was ranked “most improved” by the Polaris Project for changes to its criminal law, including the addition of a new human trafficking felony, with a sentence of three to fifteen years and a possible fine of up to $200,000.  The Polaris Project annually tracks laws in the states on human trafficking and works towards ending human trafficking world-wide.

“We believe that these crimes are under-reported,” said Fleischauer, “in part because it is so hard to imagine this kind of behavior happening in West Virginia or anywhere else. It is important that we spread the word about these new laws to give hope to victims, most of whom are underage, and some tools to turn their lives around.”

Learn more at the WAJR-FM article: Tomblin signs human trafficking bill.

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