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A leader in the fight against modern-day slavery, and one of the most prominent anti-trafficking organizations in the US and Japan, Polaris Project this week released the 2011 update to their annual state ratings, which tracks the presence /absence of 10 key statutes they believe to be integral to combating exploitation across the US.
Sadly, despite human trafficking being one of the largest and fastest growing criminal enterprises in the world, less than a dozen states come close to meeting all 10 conditions, with Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Montana, South Carolina, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming, sorely lagging behind:
7-9 conditions met | 5-6 conditions met | 3-4 conditions met | 0-2 contions met
While there have been significant improvements across the country, the fact that most states continue to overlook a number of the suggested statutes remains extremely worrying. As Polaris Project's Policy Director Mary Ellison said in regards to the report's release:
Every day we are identifying an alarming number of victims from every state through the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline. Ten years after the passage of the federal anti-trafficking law, forty-five states, including D.C., now have sex trafficking criminal statutes, and forty-eight states have labor trafficking criminal statutes...Continuing to improve the legal framework at the state level by enacting critically important statutes will literally save lives.
With over 100,000 US minors at risk of commercial sexual exploitation each year alone, we must do better.
Further information on Polaris Project's 2011 analysis is available to view here.