January 9, 2014
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is seeking to use $6 million from a national Medicaid fraud settlement to create shelters for human trafficking victims.
Cuccinelli is asking the U.S. Department of Treasury to use a portion of the state's share of the $1.5 billion settlement with Abbott Laboratories in 2012 for the shelters and intensive counseling programs.
He says criminal investigators have a difficult time obtaining victim testimony and the evidence necessary to prosecute the traffickers if the victims don't get counseling and have a safe place away from traffickers.
Cuccinelli expects an answer from the U.S. Treasury in the coming weeks.
The money would be transferred to the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, which would administer a competitive grant program to create the shelters and counseling programs.