A New Study by Shared Hope International Shows Oregon’s Efforts May be Paying Off
WASHINGTON, D.C., Portland is believed to have the highest rate of strip clubs per capita and has been dubbed “Pornland,” but a new study by Shared Hope International shows Oregon’s effort to crack down on trafficking may be paying off. According to the Protected Innocence Challenge, a report on the sufficiency of state laws relating to domestic minor sex trafficking in the U.S., Oregon earned a “B” in 2015, with continuing efforts to strengthen state laws.
In 2015, Oregon legislators considered a new bill that would apply a commonly held courtroom protection for rape victims to victims of human trafficking. House Bill 3040 was an innovative approach to create a hearsay exception for human trafficking victims. The bill promoted the use of reliable evidence, including text messages, emails and other writings or statements from victims, at human trafficking trials while mitigating the risk of victim retraumatization. Despite significant local support, the bill did not pass the Senate Judiciary Committee. Committee Chair Senator Prozanski committed at a public hearing to establish a work group that will further consider hearsay exceptions for sex trafficking cases.
“While Oregon has made commendable strides forward, forcing victims to face their traffickers from the witness stand only continues that terror. A victim should never have to choose between justice and restoration.” Linda Smith, President and Founder of Shared Hope International said.
Historically, Oregon’s efforts to strengthen anti-trafficking laws paled in comparison to neighboring Washington. Washington created the first state Task Force Against Trafficking of Persons, enacted one of the first state trafficking laws, and in 2007 overhauled its laws criminalizing commercial sexual exploitation of children. As Washington strengthened its laws, enabling more aggressive investigation and prosecution, Oregon’s weak laws put it at risk of attracting Washington’s trafficking market. In 2013, the Oregon Legislature passed a new law that elevated the crime of purchasing sex with a minor to a felony. Since then, the Portland Police Bureau has conducted proactive sting operations to identify buyers seeking to purchase sex with a minor and to hold buyers accountable through felony prosecutions.
703.351.8062 office / 602.818.3955 cell
ABOUT THE PROTECTED INNOCENCE CHALLENGE: The Protected Innocence Challenge is a 41-component, comprehensive analysis of each state’s existing laws on domestic minor sex trafficking.
For media convenience, a variety of video clips and resources, including sex trafficking survivor comments, are available at this location: https://vimeo.com/user12564384/videos. Videos are password protected, please enter password sharedmedia1 to access media clips.
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