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Letter: Human Trafficking in Our Backyard

To the Editor,

I was ecstatic to learn of the progress local leaders like my delegate, Barbara Comstock (R-34), have made in raising awareness on human trafficking and sex trafficking right here in our backyard. This serious issue was brought to my attention about a year ago through several newspaper articles, and it seemed to me as though the majority of locals were not aware of this egregious violation of human rights occurring under their noses. As an intern in the office of Congressman Frank Wolf (R-10) last year, I was shocked to learn of how widespread and severe human trafficking is, not only throughout the world, but within our area. We cannot stand idly by as this blatant violation of human rights continues, particularly given the spreading awareness of its presence. As a Vietnamese-American, this cause resonates heavily with me, as throughout my life my mother and relatives have emphasized its prevalence within their homeland and beyond.

Thankfully, the new bill proposed by Delegates Comstock and Hugo (R-40), which was signed by Governor McDonnell earlier this year, makes soliciting sex from minors a felony, and it will create additional barriers for local sex traffickers, which hopefully will help stop this hideous process. I am proud of our local leaders for taking such steps towards reversing intolerable, illicit practices taking place in a civilized, educated area where no such thing should be allowed to exist. Events like the Human Trafficking Forum hosted by Del. Comstock help educate people in the area and bring this despicable issue into the spotlight. We in Northern Virginia are lucky to have such committed legislators that focus on issues that affect us. This principled form of representation is the reason that I support Del. Barbara Comstock.

Arielle Swett

Great Falls