The Polaris Project is an organization active in the fight against human trafficking in the U.S. and globally.
Pushing for stronger state laws, they rank states on their efforts fight trafficking. Virginia once had a poor score but that has changed.
Three years ago, Polaris Project ranked Virginia at "tier 4"—its lowest ranking—for efforts to fight human trafficking.
Since then, lawmakers have increased penalties, provided more tools to help law enforcement identify and track such cases, and backed awareness campaigns.
Advocates say one critical change made it a felony to commit a major crime tied to trafficking: solicitation of a minor for prostitution. Now those changes have helped raise Virginia's ranking to "tier one."
Governor McDonnell says now that Virginia has this momentum, it can't stop.
"It's been one of the fastest I think in all of America over the last couple of years and with the efforts now we're making in Virginia, we hope to see a dramatic reverse of that trend," he said.
The Governor announced that Virginia will hold its first-ever summit on human trafficking in October.
One of the goals of advocates is to pass a comprehensive law to enable authorities to accurately compile and track cases that may not—but should—be classified as human trafficking.