November 20, 2018
Every year each state in the union gets a grade on their efforts in the fight against human trafficking by Shared Hope International, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending child sex trafficking. Shared Hope does this in a variety of ways, one of which is advocating in each state for stronger legislation that criminalizes the various aspects of human trafficking.
States are graded on the analysis and review of six areas:
- Criminalization of Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking
- Criminal Provisions for Demand (those who buy)
- Criminal Provisions for Traffickers (those who sell)
- Criminal Provisions for Facilitators (those who help)
- Protective Provisions for Child Victims
- Criminal Justice Tools for Investigation & Prosecution
Report cards for 2018 were just released and Utah continues to be a leader in the fight against human trafficking. This is due in large part to Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes who is a strong, international voice who speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Human trafficking is a top priority for the Utah Attorney General’s Office carried out by the Utah SECURE Strike Force and Utah Trafficking in Persons Task Force. Due to their action, the state of Utah has made several improvements to their legal code including:
- Prohibiting prosecution of children engaged in prostitution and mandating their referral to DCFS for services (2015 amendments)
- Defining child trafficking as child abuse subject to protections and intervention in juvenile court and through DCFS (2015 amendments)
- Punishing facilitators/beneficiaries of child trafficking the same as the direct offenders (I’m not sure when this was added)
- Allowing victims of trafficking to sue their traffickers for civil damages (2017 amendments)
You can read the entire report here: Utah Report Card – Shared Hope 2018.
To see how Utah compared to other states, go here: https://sharedhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/2018ProtectedInnocenceChallengeToolkit.pdf.
Photo Courtesy of Shared Hope International