Polaris Project has rated all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 10 categories of laws that are critical to a basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors.
2012 State Ratings Map
- 28 states (55%) passed new laws to fight human trafficking in the past year.
- As of July 31, 2012, 21 states are now rated in Tier 1 (7+ points), up from 11 states in 2011. Washington received 11 points, the most of any state.
- Four states are "Most Improved": Massachusetts increased by 12 points, South Carolina by 8 points, West Virginia by 6 points, and Ohio by 5 points.
- Four states -- the "Faltering Four" -- are now rated in Tier 4: Wyoming, Arkansas, Montana, and South Dakota. Last year, 9 states were in the bottom tier – the “Nine Lagging Behind.”
- Wyoming has yet to pass any human trafficking law and received -2 points, the lowest number of any state.
- 17 states, or one third of states, increased their rating by at least one tier compared to the 2011 ratings map.
Polaris Project began tracking and mapping the progress of state anti-trafficking laws in 2007 when only 28 states had anti-trafficking criminal statutes. As of July 31, 2012, the number of states with anti-trafficking criminal statutes, including the District of Columbia, has grown to 48 with sex trafficking offenses and 50 with labor trafficking offenses.
Tier 1 (7+ points): State has passed significant laws to combat human trafficking, and should continue to take steps to improve and implement its laws.
Tier 2 (5-6): State has passed numerous laws to combat human trafficking, and should take more steps to improve and implement its laws.
Tier 3 (3-4): State has made nominal efforts to pass laws to combat human trafficking, and should take major steps to improve and implement its laws.
Tier 4 (0-2): These "Faltering Four" states have not made nominal efforts to enact a basic legal framework to combat human trafficking, and should actively work to improve their laws.
Note: The 10 categories are not exhaustive of all the important legislation that helps combat human trafficking in a given state. The ratings used to evaluate states do not assess the effectiveness or implementation of these laws, nor the anti-trafficking efforts of task forces, law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, service providers, and advocates in the state.