Every year since 2011, Shared Hope International, an organization focused on eradicating sex trafficking, gives out "Report Cards" to each US state, which are graded under a study called Protect Innocence Challenge. California had the lowest score in the nation, and was one of six states that received a failing grade of "F."
The goal of the Protect Innocence Challenge and grading system is to address each states efforts to prevent and protect sex trafficking victims, as well as outlining legislative issues that must be addressed in order to combat the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Which again, California is failing at.
According to the Shared Hope website, the Protected Innocence Challenge is a comprehensive study of existing state laws designed to inspire and equip advocates. Under the Challenge, every state receives a Report Card that grades the state on 41 key legislative components that must be addressed in a state’s laws in order to effectively respond to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking. In addition, each state receives a complete analysis of this 41-component review and practical recommendations for improvement.
Hawaii, California, South Dakota, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maine all received an "F" on their state report cards.
As a native Californian, this makes me sad... and angry. Really California? We are a state full of supposed "forward thinkers," technical geniuses and billionaires, yet our schools are closing, we don't have enough basic public safety services, and oh yeah, we don't have the provisions in place to protect our most important and vulnerable assets... our children. Is something wrong with this picture, or is it just me?
Our biggest crime in California is a lack of criminal provisions addressing the demand for child sex trafficking. It really is the law of supply and demand. Eradicate the demand, and then there is no need for supply. While that may be a dramatic simplification of the issues, the concept remains the same. These pedophiles that pay to rape these young girls are just as much a part of the problem as the pimps that traffic them. More needs to be done, and can be done to protect children from a life on the circuit. These children go from town to town, John to John, being bought and sold as a piece of meat. A life far worse than any prison sentence, yet the perpetrators of these horrific crimes often get off with a slap on the wrist. It's time for that to change.
You can help create change. Please support the following legislation:
H.R.2805 "End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013" (Amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Act to increase penalties for individuals who exploit, solicit or attempt to solicit a child sex trafficking victims)
H.R.1732 "Strengthening Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2013” (Amends the Social Security Act to require state foster care programs, which receive federal funds under the Social Security Act, to report on current and future efforts to address the human trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children in their care)
Written by Anthony Gonzalez for Child Quest International