PORTSMOUTH, NH (April 13, 2014) — Ten years ago, almost no states were dealing with the issue of human sex trafficking — defined as a situation in which one or more people coerce another person to engage in a sexual act against her or his wishes.
"In 2004, only a handful of states had laws on the books," said Brittanny Vanderhoof, policy counsel for the Polaris Project, an organization that advocates for stronger laws in the United States and internationally to combat human sex trafficking.
Today, only two states lack a sex trafficking statute, she said, although the Polaris Project also tracks whether states have instituted related measures like law enforcement training, asset forfeiture, labor trafficking, victim assistance, access to civil damages and vacating convictions for sex trafficking victims. Vanderhoof said the Polaris Project ranking, the only one of its kind for states, is intended to nudge them to take a look at this issue.
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