BOSTON (WWLP) – A shocking report found most of the country failed when it came to protecting children and youth from sex trafficking laws.
In a new report from Shared Hope International, Massachusetts received a failing grade when it comes to child sex trafficking laws. The nonprofit analyzes sex trafficking laws in all 50 states and the district of Columbia using 40 different policy goals to evaluate the legal responses to child sex trafficking victims. What they found is that many children could still be legally punished for their own trafficking and be unable to access care due to current laws.
Tennessee became the first and only state to receive a B, three states, Florida, Texas, and California received a C, and 10 states received a D. 37 states, including Massachusetts, received a failing mark.
States were graded on six policy issues: criminal provisions, identifications of and response to victims, continuum of care, access to Justice for trafficking survivors, tools for a victim-centered criminal justice response, and prevention and training. In every category, the report lists recommendations Massachusetts could make to enhance its laws.
For example, prohibiting a mistake of age defense in all cases involving sex trafficking and passing a law prohibiting the criminalization of minors for prostitution offenses. In the report, no state received an A rating.