Virginia is home to many hotels and with Interstate 95 being a major highway going through, it is frequently used by human traffickers.
Delegate Shelly Simonds (D-94th), who represents parts of Newport News, announced the signing of her bill HB258 by Gov. Glenn Youngkin.
The new law requires training for hotel employees to spot and report human trafficking. The Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) will create training for hotel staff. It also permits the DCJS to approve human trafficking recognition and prevention training programs that many hotel chains are currently conducting. The bill passed the House unanimously and passed the Senate 36-4.
“I was impressed by how many people came together to try to make progress on this issue, including leaders in the hotel industry, advocates from groups that work with victims like Freekind, and state leaders from across the political spectrum. It took all of us pushing in the same direction to get this done,” Simonds said.
General Manager of the Holiday Inn Newport News/Hampton in City Center and President of the Newport News Hospitality Association, Liz Parker, said “Human trafficking has always been of great concern for us in the hospitality industry, and one that our industry has been working proactively and diligently to bring it to an end. All major hotel brands require training in human trafficking within the first 30 days of employment. HB258 will help codify these industry standard practices to combat and prevent human trafficking.”