Shared Hope International Introduces Advanced-Level State Report Cards

Shared Hope International, a non-profit leader in the fight against domestic minor sex trafficking, today released year-one of Report Cards on Child & Youth Sex Trafficking, introducing advanced-level analysis that builds upon the previous 10-year grading project, one that realized a 25.6% improvement nationwide in basic anti-trafficking legislation responding to domestic minor sex trafficking. Published as a report card for each state, the 2021 Report Cards on Child & Youth Sex Trafficking encourages redoubled effort to tackle the hardest elements of responses that will protect juvenile sex trafficking survivors and hold buyers and traffickers accountable.

Due to the high bar set with this grading system, 39 states and the District of Columbia (D.C.) earned a failing grade in 2021.

Tennessee, which had held the #1 spot under the first framework, held to Tier 1, due to aggressive efforts in the 2021 session. "Through historic investments in law enforcement and public-private partnerships to serve survivors, Tennessee is at the forefront of this important fight," said Governor Bill Lee. "Human trafficking has no place in our state, and we are committed to building on our progress, improving laws, and protecting the most vulnerable among us."

Shared Hope honors two individuals with the Pathbreaker Award. Ohio Senator Teresa Fedor has worked tirelessly to change the state law to focus criminality on the traffickers and the buyers of sex with children. Alexis Martin was trafficked at 15 and then convicted of conspiring with her trafficker in the homicide of the man buying sex with her. She now brings her lived experience to the effort to change the way systems respond to an offending victim.

"Ohio has also seen its grade drop this year because of Shared Hope's new advanced legislative framework, despite the fact that last year I finally managed to extend Safe Harbor protections to 16- and 17-year-olds who have been trafficked. All Ohio children can now be rescued from the horrors of human trafficking without the fear of being arrested," said Fedor. "However, with Shared Hope's Advanced Legislative Framework and survivors guiding my work, Ohio will raise its grade. This is urgent and will be my top priority. I have spent the last 15 years fighting against human trafficking in all forms, and I am not about to give up now."

"We are asking states to respond to exploited youth as victims of a serious crime," said Shared Hope founder Linda Smith. "We recognize changing victim protection laws is a heavy lift and providing services presents resource challenges. Regardless, some states are taking the lead on this and we're confident others will learn from their example."

2021 Report Cards on Child & Youth Sex Trafficking can be accessed here:

Founded in 1998 by then-U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith, Shared Hope International strives to prevent sex trafficking, restore victims of sex slavery, and bring justice to vulnerable women and children.

Samantha Vardaman
202-963-2601, ext. 416

Source: Shared Hope International