FBI reports an increase in reported human trafficking cases in Virginia

The FBI has reported an increase in the Commonwealth over the past year

RICHMOND, Va. – Within the last year, the FBI’s Richmond field office reported an increase in human trafficking cases in the state.

Special agent Melvin Gonzalez said he believes the increase is attributed to more awareness about the crime.

Trafficking, in any form, typically begins as someone thinking they’re doing one thing for someone and are tricked or forced into something else.

Numbers are increasing, but Gonzalez said that due to the sensitivity of the cases, he is not able to provide specific data.

Gonzalez said that it most likely begins on social media, which is why anyone could potentially be a victim.

“People think that victims of trafficking are going to be females, but we have encountered victims of trafficking who are males,” said Agent Gonzalez. “We have encountered adult victims. We have encountered minor victims.”

Gonzalez went on to explain the process for reporting a crime.

“If you’re reporting a potential crime, you can call our office directly – our Richmond FBI field office. Or you can go online to our tips.FBI.gov. There is also the human trafficking hotline, but if it’s an emergency, you should call 911,” Gonzalez said.

About the Author:

McKinley Strother joined the WSLS 10 News team in June 2020. He anchors 10 News at 6 and 11 on Saturdays and Sundays and you'll also catch him reporting during the week.