After 7 years working to stop child trafficking, I'm still amazed by how many Americans don't know it's happening in their own states and cities. So I'm going to take a few posts to report on trafficking in the US. (Apologies to my international readers.)
Today Shared Hope International released their end-of-year state-by-state Report Card on trafficking in the US.
Click on the map to read about the efforts to stop child trafficking in your state:
IMPORTANT: This is NOT a report on how bad child trafficking is in each state because it's bad in ALL states. This is a report on each state's efforts to get rid of child trafficking within and across their borders.
Sometimes my Twitter feed sounds like it's a contest with tweet after tweet about whose state is worst. There's absolutely no way to quantify which state is worst--and it doesn't matter one bit.
The point is that child trafficking happens everywhere in the US. Yes, in your city. Yes, in your schools.
Shared Hope International and the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) analyzed each state's laws and then created a national standard of protection against domestic minor sex trafficking or DMST (that is, trafficked US citizens who are underage). This national standard is called the Protected Innocence Legislative Framework.
A year ago Shared Hope issued a challenge to each state to improve their laws to fight DMST. Here's what happened in 2012 as a result:
- 240 state and 38 federal bills were introduced that relate to DMST.
- 78 laws were passed that relate to DMST.
- 40 states introduced legislation that relates to the Protected Innocence Framework.
- 33 states enacted legislation related to the Protected Innocence Framework.
Pretty awesome. You can read specifics here about new efforts to criminalize DMST -- for sellers and buyers (not the children themselves). It's hard to believe that some of those old laws were ever on the books, but they were.
Kudos to Shared Hope and ACLJ for their excellent work to stop DMST in the US. More helpful links from Shared Hope: