The following blog post is written by Michael Aiello, whom the Center for Global Justice funded to be an International Justice Mission intern in Thailand. Michael is also a legal graduate assistant and student staff member at CGJ. Read his other blog posts here >
Last year Virginia took a big step forward to protect victims of human trafficking by passing a standalone sex trafficking statute, VA Code § 18.2‑
357.1. However, that was only the first step. The law only applies to criminal cases. It did not create a civil remedy for victims to sue their perpetrator for damages in civil court.
Sex trafficking victims absolutely need to have the ability to sue their perpetrators for damages because it allows them and their families to be made whole and regain the dignity that was stolen from them. Virginia’s legislature is currently discussing such a law, SB 133 and HB 681.
Federal law serves as a model. Under 18 U.S.C. § 1595, victims of human trafficking have ten years to bring a civil action against their perpetrator.
If you want to get involved, please call your state representative and tell them that you support a civil remedy for victims of human trafficking that has at least a seven-year statute of limitations.