According to local agencies, child sex slaves are currently being rescued from Richmond streets. Human trafficking has become such an issue locally, Governor Bob McDonnell plans to organize a committee to fight it.
At the annual Governor's Summit Thursday, human trafficking survivor Brook Parker-Bello was the keynote speaker. Bello was only 12 years old when she was forced into prostitution with a friend.
"We were beaten and thrown into a bathtub, stripped of our clothes, injected with drugs, hung over balconies with razor blades. We were told who were and what we were going to have to do to survive," said Bello.
For nearly a decade, Bello was forced to have sex for money. She finally escaped and now works with girls and women who have been rescued from the streets. Bello has even published a book.
"Whatever city and whatever state, it's there. They think it's not in that jurisdiction, they think it's in that other jurisdiction. It's not so. It will be in the wealthiest areas, especially on the demand side," she said.
Bello travels nationwide to educate the public on human trafficking. The $52 billion business leaves many victims in its wake, including here in Richmond.
Joshua Bailey founded the group "Gray Haven" in Richmond. It helps children, women, even men who have been forced into the sex trade or forced to work.
Bailey says he recently worked with a man from South America who was sold on the streets of Richmond for $1,800. He was then shipped to Boston to work for a restaurant. Bailey says, that story isn't entirely uncommon.
"The more we delve into the issue, the more we're seeing how diverse a problem it is and how it affects so many different people," said Bailey.
On Friday, the Governor will speak at his summit and also plans to sign an executive directive to step up Virginia's ongoing fight against human trafficking.
Saturday, April 19 2014 1:11 AM EDT2014-04-19 05:11:27 GMT
Officials are investigating an accident on the 11000 block of Riverway Road, near the Beach Road intersection in Chesterfield, that occurred around 11 p.m. Friday evening. Chesterfield police were calledMore >>
Chesterfield police were called to the scene after a neighbor reported hearing "screeching tires" and what sounded like a car accident.More >>
Saturday, April 19 2014 6:32 PM EDT2014-04-19 22:32:55 GMT
Petersburg Police and crews are on the scene of a house fire. Firefighters say they found four victims dead in the house. No word yet on the cause of the fire. The fire happened around 4 a.m. in theMore >>
Firefighters say they found four victims dead in the house. No word yet on the cause of the fire. More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 11:28 PM EDT2014-04-19 03:28:02 GMT
The father of a teen found dead near the Defense Suppy Center in Chesterfield says she died from blunt force trauma to the torso. 18-year-old Alyna Davis was found under the Dundas Road overpass aroundMore >>
The father of a teen found dead near the Defense Suppy Center in Chesterfield says she died from blunt force trauma to the torso.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 4:18 PM EDT2014-04-18 20:18:40 GMT
Police have released the identity of a man found dead behind the Harley-Davidson shop on Washington Highway in Hanover County. Police say the victim is Mark Burns, 55, of West Fillmore Street in Petersburg.More >>
Police have released the identity of a man found dead behind the Harley-Davidson shop on Washington Highway in Hanover County.More >>
He was once a stranger to Anna Majure -- just a man behind her in the drive-through at a local fast food restaurant on Forest Drive. But in a split second, Clark McCarthy went from stranger to savior.More >>