Learn about Trafficking Issues in America Pt. 2

December 2, 2011
In our previous article entitled “Learn About Trafficking Issues in America” we highlighted how victims of DMST (Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking) have complex issues requiring highly skilled care. We highlighted the most critical gap for victims which is, simply stated, a National Shelter/ Treatment Crisis for victims of Domestic Minor Sex-Trafficking in the U.S.  One important factor contributing to the lack of victim services is antiquated and/or missing state laws dealing with criminal activity known as Human Trafficking. Shared Hope International, an international anti-trafficking organization, released research on these state laws that are preventing effective prosecution of Traffickers and services to victims. Shared Hope entitled their research the Protected Innocence Initiative.

On December 1, 2011, at the National Association for Attorney General’s meeting (San Antonio,Texas), Shared Hope International released results of their Protected Innocence Initiative. "Recognizing that most of the gaps in responding to domestic minor sex trafficking must be addressed at the state level, the Protected Innocence Legislative Framework sets out the basic policy principles required to create a safer environment for children." An exhaustive analysis of laws in all 50 states was conducted to provide a grade for each state based on how well each state scored on 4 key areas.  
  • Eliminating demand
  • Prosecuting traffickers
  • Identifying victims
  • Providing protection, access to services, shelter for victims

This initiative measures each state’s body of legislation against the desired minimum nationwide standards. These standards are outlined in the Protective Innocence Legislative Framework Methodology. Their hope is that our nation will achieve and maintain national legislative standards on Human Trafficking at the state legislative level.

Freedom Youth Project Foundation supports standardized laws throughout our nation.  Traffickers continuously escape capture and prosecution by frequent moves from city to city around the nation.  Domestic minor sex-trafficking can only be addressed effectively if we approach the issue on a macro-perspective. You cannot begin to address lack of services until state laws around the nation are standardized. Currently, 10 states have no laws which specifically state sex-trafficking is a crime.  There are 19 states which have no law specifically making it illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor. These laws are necessary to create the status of a minor to be considered a victim who is eligible for services. State laws also need to keep up with the evolving tactics of criminals such as the use of Internet, cell phones, social networking, etc. to conduct criminal activity.

Please go to Shared Hope International’s Protected Innocence Initiative page to see how your state's laws need to be changed to address the needs of victims, law enforcement and prosecutors.  Let your legislators know Human Trafficking legislation matters to you. Legislative priorities are the direct result of how often they hear from constituents on various issues. The next step is up to you.

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Protected Innocence Initiative - Shared Hope International

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