Shared Hope International Releases State Report Cards to Reveal State of Trafficking Laws in U.S.
WASHINGTON, D.C., Michigan was named the most improved state for its laws addressing child sex trafficking, according to a new study released by Shared Hope International. The Protected Innocence Challenge, a report on the state of child sex trafficking laws in the U.S., found that five years of sweeping legislative advancements allowed 47 states to raise their grade since 2011.
Michigan raised its grade from an “F” in 2014 to a “B” in 2015 after enacting new laws strengthening criminal provisions addressing buyers – the driving force of the commercial sex industry. While Michigan made substantial law changes in five years, the state has more work to do. Earning strong scores in most categories of the assessment, Michigan must strengthen protective provisions for child victims. Juvenile sex trafficking victims have access to specialized services through child welfare; however, 16 and 17-year-old victims remain subject to arrest and potential criminalization for prostitution offenses. Leaving the older minors subject to criminalization ignores the reality that these kids are vulnerable and frequently targeted by traffickers.
“Michigan tackled the driving force of child sex trafficking in 2015. They should be proud of the work they accomplished to combat demand and now press forward to ensure no child victim is banned access to the justice they deserve due to gaps in the law.” Linda Smith, President and Founder of Shared Hope International said.
In 2015, a record-setting 933 bills related to domestic minor sex trafficking were introduced in 50 states and D.C., resulting in the improvement of 14 state grades. Louisiana ranked top in the nation for the second year in a row, earning a 99.5 per cent. View the state grades.
The Protected Innocence Challenge was created to address key legislative gaps and makes recommendations for improvement so states can strengthen laws and implement effective state response. See all state grades at www.sharedhope.org/reportcards.
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Shared Hope International is an anti-trafficking organization focusing on prevention, restoration and justice for victims of sex trafficking. Founded in 1998 by Congresswoman Linda Smith, Shared Hope is a trusted leader for training, research, restorative development, and legislative development