WASHINGTON, Nov. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new study released by Shared Hope International finds a growing divide between states that aggressively address child sex trafficking through state laws and those with inadequate protections.
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. 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. Michigan claims most improved state in 2015. View the state grades.
As states like Texas, Tennessee, Washington, Louisiana, Montana and Minnesota crack down on trafficking, earning top scores, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire and South Dakota tie for last place – making these states more vulnerable to attracting this illicit business.
Shifting dynamics have states scrambling to tighten laws. North Dakota and Montana, states highly affected by the booming oil industry, significantly strengthened state laws over the past year to respond to the surge of transient workers flooding the area, increasing demand for commercial sex. In contrast, California faces the impending wave of visitors for Super Bowl 2016 and has not improved its laws to handle an increase in trafficking crimes, especially demand.
"In 2011, over half the nation earned a failing grade for its state laws addressing child sex trafficking," Shared Hope International President Linda Smith said. "Five years later, we've made significant strides forward. Not a single state has a failing grade. Increased awareness, coupled with legislative will, is the reason."
SOURCE Shared Hope International