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Monday, December 1, 2014

Juhu Thukral: Human Rights and the Fight Against Trafficking

 
Human Rights and the Fight Against Trafficking, December 1, 2014
By Juhu Thukral

Human Rights Day
is December 10. It's a day to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and, rest assured, people who work on the pressing issues of the moment will be pumping new energy into efforts to protect the human rights of people in the most vulnerable situations around the world. As lawyers and advocates who've represented survivors of trafficking and advocated for policy change for over a decade, we've learned a lot about what it means to respond with the human rights of victims and survivors in mind.

Human rights are the notion that all people have rights, simply by virtue of their humanity. They represent both a set of values and a system of laws and enforcement mechanisms. Human rights embody the values of dignity, fairness, equality, and opportunity that are central in a just society and for empowered people.

§ 18.2-370. Virginia Sex Offenses Prohibiting Entry Onto School or Other Property and Prohibiting Proximity to Children

 
Back on July 27, 2014 there was a post titled How Can a Virginia Sex Offender Attend Their Child’s School Sponsored Activities? which included the process to obtain permission to be on school property to pick-up and drop-off your children as an RSO in Virginia. 

I usually do not post articles about Virginia RSO’s messing up and facing new charges for their error or blatantly ignoring the laws but a second article in 3 months on this exact subject has come out.  

First there was the article on August 27, 2014 about an RSO not following the proper process that I did post. 

And now this month there is a second news story about another Virginian RSO again not getting permission from the courts (see below) to be on school property. The RSO father believed permission from the school and the school district was sufficient, it’s NOT! 

There are laws in Virginia prohibiting MOST RSO’s from being on and near school property and ignorance of the law is NOT a DEFENSE!
  • § 18.2-370.2. - Sex offenses prohibiting proximity to children; penalty.
  • § 18.2-370.4. - Sex offenses prohibiting working on school property; penalty.
  • § 18.2-370.5. - Sex offenses prohibiting entry onto school or other property; penalty.

Florida Cities and Towns Scaling Back Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders Because Officials Say Buffer Zones Don’t Prevent Repeat Offenses and Make Predators Harder to Track

 
A must read article below! 

Remember, Virginia does have residency restrictions for some Registered Sex Offenders (RSO’s) and their family members since 2006:

§ 18.2-370.3. Sex offenses prohibiting residing in proximity to children; penalty.

A. Every adult who is convicted of an offense occurring on or after July 1, 2006, where the offender is more than three years older than the victim, of one of the following qualifying offenses: (i) clause (iii) of subsection A of § 18.2-61, (ii) subdivision A 1 of § 18.2-67.1, or (iii) subdivision A 1 of § 18.2-67.2, shall be forever prohibited from residing within 500 feet of the premises of any place he knows or has reason to know is a child day center as defined in § 63.2-100, or a primary, secondary, or high school. A violation of this section is a Class 6 felony. The provisions of this section shall only apply if the qualifying offense was done in the commission of, or as a part of the same course of conduct as, or as part of a common scheme or plan as a violation of (i) subsection A of § 18.2-47 or § 18.2-48, (ii) § 18.2-89, 18.2-90, or 18.2-91, or (iii) § 18.2-51.2.

B. An adult who is convicted of an offense as specified in subsection A of this section and has established a lawful residence shall not be in violation of this section if a child day center or a primary, secondary, or high school is established within 500 feet of his residence subsequent to his conviction.

C. Every adult who is convicted of an offense occurring on or after July 1, 2008, where the offender is more than three years older than the victim, of one of the following qualifying offenses: (i) clause (iii) of subsection A of § 18.2-61, (ii) subdivision A 1 of § 18.2-67.1, or (iii) subdivision A 1 of § 18.2-67.2, shall be forever prohibited from residing within 500 feet of the boundary line of any place he knows is a public park when such park (i) is owned and operated by a county, city or town, (ii) shares a boundary line with a primary, secondary, or high school and (iii) is regularly used for school activities. A violation of this section is a Class 6 felony. The provisions of this section shall only apply if the qualifying offense was done in the commission of, or as a part of the same course of conduct as, or as part of a common scheme or plan as a violation of (i) subsection A of § 18.2-47 or § 18.2-48, (ii) § 18.2-89, 18.2-90, or 18.2-91, or (iii) § 18.2-51.2.

D. An adult who is convicted of an offense as specified in subsection C and has established a lawful residence shall not be in violation of this section if a public park that (i) is owned and operated by a county, city or town, (ii) shares a boundary line with a primary, secondary, or high school, and (iii) is regularly used for school activities, is established within 500 feet of his residence subsequent to his conviction.

I hope one day to get these current restrictions repealed with a court challenge or through legislation. 

There have been past proposals by some Virginia lawmakers at the yearly General Assembly session to expand upon our residency restrictions here in Virginia:
Plus a proposal to restrict the movement of RSO’s in public places: