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Slow as molasses. Finally all 50 U.S. states have made human trafficking illegal

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 16th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The United States has joined the international community in condemning the practice of human trafficking. Said practice, used primarily for forced prostitution and domestic labor has now been outlawed in all 50 states. Thirty-nine states have passed laws against the practice in the past year alone.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Anti-slavery group the Polaris Project has lauded these developments in its annual survey. Thirty-two states have received top ranking for having adopted strict laws. These new measures have given law enforcement officers and prosecutors strong tools to stop human trafficking. Twenty-one states were given the Tier 1 status.

Both Washington State and New Jersey became the first states to receive gold stars from Polaris for enacting all of its recommended measures. "We've witnessed a historic turning point now that all 50 states have passed laws criminalizing human trafficking," CEO of Polaris Project Bradley Myles said in a statement.

"However, criminals are trafficking women, men and children from coast to coast at horrendous rates."

South Dakota was ranked bottom by Polaris. That state was cited for no minimal effort in an effort to pass basic legislative framework to combat trafficking.

Polaris' Trafficking in Persons report mentions that the U.S. State Department reports that as many as 27 million men, women and children are estimated to be trafficking victims at any given time.

Hundreds of thousands of victims were in the U.S., forced into prostitution, labor or engaged in services against their will.

Polaris' National Human Trafficking hotline received 20,000 calls in 2012. This month that figure has been topped, spokeswoman Megan Fowler says. The most calls for help came from California, followed by Texas.

Since its policy team was set up in 2004, Polaris Project has contributed to the passage of over 100 anti-trafficking bills at the state level, including 15 bills in 2013.

Its annual ratings assess laws in 10 categories and were based on legislation enacted by state legislatures by July 31, 2013.

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