WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ernie Allen, widely recognized expert on child protection and former CEO and co-founder of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) joins Shared Hope International today as Special Advisor to the President. This alignment brings together two prominent voices in the fight to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation both internationally and domestically.
“We sat down together years ago and found we were working to fight the demand for sex with children from different angles,” said Linda Smith, president and founder of Shared Hope International and former U.S. Congresswoman from Washington State. “Today we are joining forces to continue that work.”
Ernie Allen explained, “Shared Hope has leveraged its global experience fighting demand to lead the development of child sex trafficking laws across the nation that protect our children and punish the criminals who buy and sell sex with kids. I am pleased that my experience, along with our common purpose and long history together in this fight, will bring about innovations in child protection.”
Ernie Allen joins Shared Hope at an important time. On Nov 17, Shared Hope will release the annual Protected Innocence Challenge state report cards on the sufficiency of laws to protect children and make child sex trafficking a serious crime. The first year, 2011, 26 states received an F. Missing and exploited children are frequently the victims of child sex trafficking, with NCMEC reporting 1 in 5 of the 11,800 reported children in 2015 were likely sex trafficking victims, up from 1 in 6 in 2014. Shared Hope works with the state policymakers and advocates to enact strong laws based on research and action.
Shared Hope International is an international anti-trafficking organization focusing on prevention, restoration and justice for victims of sex trafficking.