State-wide Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives
After posting about the federal tools being used to combat human trafficking and modern slavery, I thought I would focus on the state-wide initiatives. Within the last 10 years, human trafficking and modern slavery has picked up a lot of media attention and public outrage. After the Trafficking Victims Protection Act was passed, the federal government pushed states to begin combating human trafficking on a state-wide level.
Interestingly, every state has passed some type of legislation to combat human trafficking. Today every state but Wyoming has a criminal statute regarding human trafficking or modern slavery. Although there has been some cohesiveness in these laws and statutes, there is a lot of variety of state legislation. In general, states have varying definitions of human trafficking. Some states only include sex trafficking in their definition, while others include labor trafficking. A few states established laws only protecting minor human trafficking victims. Unfortunately, many state laws do not include victim assistance. There is also variety of laws regarding smuggling and trafficking, some differentiating the two acts.
As mentioned above, some states have failed to pass victims assistance for human trafficking survivors. However, other states have established some really great resources. Texas, for example, has created a state-wide task force to oversee human trafficking cases. The state also established a toll-free hotline. Some individual cities have taken the initiative to establish city-wide tasks force.
Want to know your state’s rating on human trafficking laws? Check out the Polaris Project, a leader in the anti-human trafficking movement.
Want to let your legislators know that human trafficking legislation is important! Find your legislator’s contact information here.