JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – According to a new report released Wednesday by Shared Hope International, Florida received an A for its laws fighting child sex trafficking.
Shared Hope International said that this year's report reveals an encouraging bi-partisan trend in the midst of a division time: individuals are coming together to fight child sex trafficking.
Shared Hope’s annual Protected Innocence Challenge State Grades analyzes state laws to protect juvenile sex trafficking survivors and hold buyers and traffickers accountable.
The report grades each state in six categories:
- Laws criminalizing domestic minor sex trafficking
- Criminal provisions for demand
- Criminal provisions for traffickers
- Criminal provisions for facilitators
- Protective provisions for child victims
- Criminal justice tools for investigation and prosecution
Florida received a score of 94 out of 102.5 possible points and is the only state for two years running that has a perfect score for laws addressing protections for survivors.
“Florida is proud to have received an A grade for the third year in a row," said Bethany Gilot, Statewide Human Trafficking Prevention Director at the Department of Children and Families. "Florida will continue to maintain an all-hands-on-deck approach at the state and local levels to combat human trafficking and serve those impacted by this heinous crime.”
READ: Florida's Report Card
Florida's Report Card Summary: “Human trafficking” criminalizes child sex trafficking without regard to whether force, fraud, or coercion caused the minor to engage in the commercial sex act. Florida law prohibits the criminalization of minors for prostitution offenses, and commercially sexually exploited children will have access to specialized services. Further, law enforcement officers are provided with critical investigative tools.
Through eight years of grassroots action, Shared Hope is leading a movement and has changed the map from 26 states with F grades in 2011, to 35 states with A and B grades in 2018.
Georgia received a B grade with a score of 88. It had perfect scores in criminalization of domestic minor sex trafficking, criminal provisions for traffickers and protective provisions for child victims and criminal justice tools for investigation and prosecution.
READ: Georgia's Report Card
Across the nation, Shared Hope’s advocacy tools provide a bridge for anyone to reach out to
their elected officials and effect change.
The official release presentation of this year’s grades will take place at the National Foundation of Women Legislators Annual Conference via Facebook Livestream at 12:45 p.m. Friday.