Friday, 7 November 2014

Why Some State's Stricter Laws Are Creating A Threat Of Trafficking For Others

Child sex trafficking affects an estimated 100,000 American children each year. While many states have worked aggressively to combat the crime by strengthening state laws, several states have slipped dangerously behind the nation, according to new research by Shared Hope International. Watch the release of state grades.
The Protected Innocence Challenge, a report on the state of child sex trafficking laws in the U.S., found that four years of sweeping legislative advancements allowed 42 states to raise their grade. In 2014, 37 states enacted 123 bills regarding domestic minor sex trafficking, resulting in the improvement of eight state grades. Louisiana earned the highest score, a 96 per cent. Pennsylvania, Colorado and Delaware enacted the greatest law changes, raising two grades.  View your state grade.

These improvements enable more aggressive investigation and prosecution, leaving traffickers searching for states with lower risk and greater tolerance. As neighboring states crack down, the four remaining states with failing scores, California, Maine, Michigan and South Dakota, could become trafficking hotspots. Yet, the migration of trafficking activity may be more accurately linked to states with weak laws against buyers, those who fuel the trafficking industry by creating a profitable market for the crime. Two of America's largest states, New York and California, are sorely lacking in this area and are at risk of becoming trafficking destinations. 

"While many states rose to the challenge and significantly strengthened laws to combat child sex trafficking, America's most populous states are safety zones for predators," Shared Hope International President Linda Smith said. "Failing to adequately address demand poses a significant threat to America's children."
The study found buying sex with a minor is a felony in 50 states and they could face human trafficking charges in 49 states. However, many states struggle to enact laws that provide stricter penalties. California and New York are among 20 states that do not require sex offender registration for buyers convicted of human trafficking. Over 30 states limit buyer liability by allowing them to claim they did not know the victim's age. 

Shared Hope International, founded in 1998 by Congresswoman Linda Smith, is an anti-trafficking organization focusing on prevention, restoration and justice for victims of sex trafficking. Access media resources.

SOURCE Shared Hope International

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