Polaris Project Rates States on Trafficking Laws

The Polaris Project released its annual state-by-state ratings on anti-trafficking measures. The good news: this year, all 50 states and the District of Columbia have at least some measures criminalizing human trafficking. When it comes to care for victims, however, there is still a long way to go.

States are divided into four tiers based on ten categories essential to a legal framework that combats human trafficking, such as criminalization laws, law enforcement training, and victim assistance services. This year 39 states scored a seven or higher, placing them in Tier 1. Zero states are inTier 4, which indicates no effort to pass laws against human trafficking. New Jersey, Delaware, and Washington all had perfect scores.  Arkansas is the “most improved” state, which jumped from Tier 4 to Tier 1 in just one year.

2014 marks huge progress from when the report was first issued in 2011. Then, only eleven states ranked in Tier 1 and nine states were in Tier 4.

To highlight the importance of victim assistance, this year the Polaris Project released another chart rating states on how well they protect victimsand help them rebuild new lives. By this measure, only twelve states rank in Tier 1 and another twelve rank in Tier 4.

There are some limitations to these rankings, as they do not measure the impact of the laws within each state, nor do they account for whether programs are properly funded or implemented successfully. Regardless, a strong legal framework is essential in the fight to end human trafficking.

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Published on September 16, 2014

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