Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Polaris Project's New State Ratings for the United States

The Polaris Project State Ratings for 2014 came out today! Similar to the US Trafficking in Persons Report Rankings these scores are something I always look forward to reading about because they show how far the states in the US have come with trafficking legislation over the past year. It is remarkable just how different the map looks over the years since the ratings began.

States are rated based on a ten point scale with one point for each of the following provisions: Sex Trafficking, Labor Trafficking, Asset Forfeiture and Investigative Tools, Training and Task Forces-black, Lower Burden of Proofs for CSEC Victims, Hotline Posting, Safe Harbor, Victim Assistance, Civil Damages, and Vacating Convictions. Polaris Project started rating each state in the US in 2010 and each year the ratings of the states have increased. So that means that since the ratings were published many states have adopted trafficking policies satisfying the above criteria. The first state level anti-trafficking legislation was adopted in 2002 and the last state to criminalize human trafficking was Wyoming in February 2013. There have been significant strides in state level legislation since 2002 and every year more and more states have adopted trafficking laws. Although the rankings have changed over the years with more specific provisions, they still evaluate the depth of trafficking legislation on the state level. One thing I would like to see them do in the future is discuss the superfluous legislation that has also been adopted since 2002. Most people think that more legislation is a good thing but not all legislation is designed well and can help survivors and those combatting human trafficking on the state level. Still, these rankings have provided the groundwork for evaluating state level policy and the Polaris Project's Legislative Circle's bi-weekly emails track human trafficking legislation across all fifty states. For more information and to read more about the individual state rankings please see here.

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