HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) – There is a renewed push to stop human trafficking in Hampton Roads.

January is National Human Trafficking Prevention Month.

The Hampton Roads area is high risk for human trafficking since so many people come here for work, coupled with the tourism opportunities.

Shannon Taylor, Transitions Family Violence Services anti-human trafficking director, said the signs look similar to domestic violence.

Those most at risk in our area are immigrants, blacks, people with disabilities or those struggling with addiction.

“They may think they are going on their own free will. Drugs, tiny bits of money but in the end, they are still being exploited. They are not getting the pay that they deserve.” 

In 2021, the National Human Trafficking hotline reports 140 cases were reported in Virginia. This crime often includes sex or labor. 

“They are being forced into these acts because they feel there is no way to escape it.”

The Hampton Roads human trafficking task force is made up of the Attorney General’s Office, and several nonprofits like Transitions in Hampton and Samaritan House in Virginia Beach. 

The group works with law enforcement to investigate and help identify victims of human trafficking.

“A lot of people that are being trafficked, they don’t self-identify as being trafficked,” she said. “I want to empower them by not judging them, being there for them, getting the resources that they need, sitting and listening to them.”

Later this year, Taylor hopes to partner with Delegate Shelly Simonds in Newport news to help implement a bill to require hotel workers to receive training to recognize human trafficking.

“The best way to heal our communities, to grow as a society, to become better human beings is to help our fellow humans.”

On Thursday, Portsmouth police and the FBI will host a forum on human trafficking and crimes against kids.

Available Resources

Avalon Center in Williamsburg

Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence

  • Hotline number: 757-787-1329
  • Offers: emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis hotline, individual counseling, safety planning, children’s services, legal advocacy, accompaniment during hospital visits and court appearances and support groups to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Website: https://www.escadv.org/

Samaritan House Inc. in Virginia Beach

  • Phone: 757-631-0710
  • Offers counseling, emergency shelter placement, and safety planning.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-430-2120

H.E.R. Shelter in Portsmouth

The Genieve Shelter in Suffolk

  • Phone: 757-925-4365
  • Offers emergency shelter and crisis services.
  • Crisis Hotline 757-705-2025 or 757-353-1439
  • Contáctanos para ayuda inmediata 1-800-969-4673
  • Website: https://thegenieveshelter.org/

Transitions Family Violence Services in Hampton

  • Phone: 757-722-2261
  • Offers emergency shelter, crisis services, court advocacy, and counseling.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline (757) 723-7774
  • Website: https://www.transitionsfvs.org/

YWCA South Hampton Roads in Norfolk

  • Phone: 757-625-4248
  • Offers emergency shelter and crisis services.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-251-0144
  • Website: https://www.ywca-shr.org/

National Human Trafficking Task Force Hotline: 1-888-3737-888.  

Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force: 757-430-2120

Blue Campaign to bring an end to Human Trafficking

Prevent Child Abuse America – Coronavirus Resources & Tips for Parents, Children & Others.

Child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. For more information on preventing child abuse and neglect check out resources from the CDC or call The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 for help.