U.S. states of play in anti-trafficking laws
The Polaris Project map splits the U.S. into four tiers, one being the best, based on anti-trafficking measures.
August 8th, 2012
01:52 PM ET

U.S. states of play in anti-trafficking laws

The state of Massachusetts was named among the most improved in the U.S. in 2012 after it passed wide-ranging anti-human trafficking laws.

A report published by Polaris Project, one of the leading organizations in the global fight against human trafficking and modern-day slavery, rated and placed all 50 states plus the District of Columbia in one of four tiers based on the human trafficking laws in the state.

South Carolina, West Virginia and Ohio were also rated 'most improved' for taking concrete steps to address human trafficking. Of those states, Massachusetts was singled out for particular praise as it is now also ranked in the top four states having the strongest legal framework.

Washington tops the list, with Minnesota third and Texas fourth.

The Polaris Project, which published its "2012 State Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws" on Tuesday, believes it is critical that state trafficking laws exist to punish the criminals in the global trade and support the survivors.

"Since 2004, Polaris Project has been tracking state laws," said Mary Ellison, Polaris Project's Director of Policy. "In 2004, only four states had human trafficking laws. But in 2012, we are happy to report that 49 states plus District of Columbia have some type of human trafficking laws. In fact, over the past year, 28 states, or 55% of the states, have passed new human trafficking laws."

After enacting a comprehensive human trafficking law in November 2011, Massachusetts moved from the bottom tier in 2011 to the top tier in 2012, and earned the 'most improved' distinction.

"Massachusetts has taken major steps to combat the egregious crime of human trafficking, and we are pleased that this report recognizes those efforts," Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley said.

"We continue to work towards a successful implementation of the new law through investigations, prosecutions, and policy change and look forward to working with stakeholders to end the exploitation of people in our commonwealth."

Meanwhile, Wyoming, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota were included in the bottom tier, or as the report calls them - the Faltering Four - for what Polaris says was a minimal effort to enact human trafficking legislation.

Wyoming, according to the report, is the only state that has failed to pass any robust laws against human trafficking at the state level.

"Passing strong state laws is a critical step to increasing prosecutions of traffickers and providing local support for survivors," said Ellison.

"It is exciting to see so many state policy makers actively seeking ways to stop human trafficking, but using these new laws to save lives and hold traffickers accountable is what we are ultimately striving for. While states like Washington and Massachusetts are clearly at the top of the pack in our ratings, every state can and should do more to improve and implement their laws."

soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. dfgdfghfh

    millions of people are trafficked everyday in the work force. this is nothing new. everyone complains about it. BELIEVE THEM NO ONE LIKES TO WORK. there are so many inactive items on the market, unnecessary businesses, all this ignorant filler because they believe that they are too much of the little man to do anything about anything. for like 3 reasons people go to the street to sell their fruit or like their tourist items. because they are OBLIGATED (whether they want to or not) to go make some money because they are obligated to pay prices for food and rent and obligated to find it and obligated to pay it and obligated to make crafts and obligated to try to sell them on the internet making all kinds of waste in the world and it takes too much work to make a ridiculously low amount of money. the world is way too populated

    August 31, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • Totes M'Gotes

      You're an idiot.

      February 27, 2013 at 10:53 pm | Reply
      • Sweet Potato Tots

        You are so wise. I agree with you. He is an idiot.

        February 27, 2013 at 10:55 pm |
  2. Evian

    This is my first time to browse the webpage.If there are some opinions I have,I will speak it out .

    September 7, 2012 at 9:19 am | Reply
  3. Pnm9pnm

    Let's all hope 4 more of that worldwide.pnm.

    September 13, 2012 at 12:03 am | Reply
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    Music video made for the cause against modern-day slavery featuring actress/dancer Kathryn McCormick (SYTYCD, Step Up 4)


    September 21, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Reply
  5. RealityBites

    Meanwhile.., out here in Reality,
    Planned Parenthood was caught on tape offering to help setup a human trafficing operation in California. "They can do that" was the exact quote. But I guess thats a different kind of slavery..

    September 25, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  6. sadness

    Right now as we sit on our fancy internet, a little girl is ripped from her family or off of a playground, from her school, her bike...for a life of beatings, servitude, and rape. We know this, so how do we stop it? How do we go on living knowing the monsters of the world live freely to make nightmares come to life?

    October 3, 2012 at 11:12 pm | Reply
  7. Luii

    I think trafficking is bad, expessialy to little mexican boys that flip there moms car

    November 9, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  8. wina5000

    The tiered map of the U.S. saying that Georgia has the highest anti-trafficking laws, seems a bit misguided since my local Atlanta is the #1 city for human trafficking in the world... Laws don't prohibit illegal behavior.

    December 6, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Reply
  9. non minded326

    at this time whole world is slave to one country...as i dont have mind i dont know the name of country. do u have mind do u know the name of country.?

    January 18, 2013 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  10. Lacey Jennen

    Arkansas just created a new Human Trafficking task force with new laws that were just published. http://arkansasag.gov/programs/criminal-justice/human-trafficking-task-force

    December 16, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Reply
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