2013 State Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws

state-ratings-gif-fixed5Polaris 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.

  • 39 states passed new laws to fight human trafficking in the past year
  • As of July 31, 2013, 32 states are now rated in Tier 1 (7+ points), up from 21 states in 2012
  • New Jersey and Washington have perfect scores, meaning they have laws fulfilling all 10 categories
  • 4 states were most improved this year: Arkansas, Wyoming, Mississippi and New Jersey 

View PDF | Download a printable version | Download 2013 Analysis

Read the press release  | Download individual state reports



State Ratings Category Descriptions:

  1. Sex Trafficking: A statute that criminalizes sex trafficking and includes elements of inducing another through force, fraud, or coercion to engage in a commercial sex act. Some states have related laws in the prostitution code and were given credit if they had the same criminal elements.
  2. Labor Trafficking: A statute that creates the crime of labor trafficking or trafficking in persons, in which a person is compelled through force, fraud, or coercion into providing labor or services.
  3. (a) Asset Forfeiture for Human Trafficking: A statute that provides for the forfeiture of assets used in the course of the crime or acquired with proceeds from the crime of human trafficking.
    (b) Investigative Tools for Law Enforcement: A statute that amends existing Racketeering (RICO) statutes to include the crime of human trafficking or authorizes the use of wiretapping by law enforcement in human trafficking investigations.
  4. (a) Training on Human Trafficking for Law Enforcement: A statute that mandates or encourages law enforcement to be trained in human trafficking issues and the law.
    (b) Human Trafficking Commission or Task Force: A statute that creates, establishes, or encourages a task force, commission or advisory committee dedicated to addressing human trafficking.
  5. Posting a Human Trafficking Hotline: A statute that mandates or encourages the public posting of a human trafficking hotline, such as the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline or a state human trafficking hotline.
  6. Safe Harbor - Protecting Sexually Exploited Minors: A statute that recognizes sexually exploited individuals under 18 as victims of a crime in need of protection and services by granting immunity from prosecution or diverting minors from juvenile delinquency proceedings, and instead directing them to child welfare services. In order to receive full credit, the state must have provisions that relate to both immunity or diversion and services for the child.
  7. Lower Burden of Proof for Sex Trafficking of Minors: A statute that ensures that the elements of force, fraud, or coercion are not required for a trafficker to be prosecuted for the sex trafficking of a minor. This statute must be under the sex trafficking section in order for the state to receive credit.
  8. Victim Assistance: A statute that provides assistance, mandates the creation of a victim services plan, or funds programs to help victims of human trafficking. Victim services and protection may include counseling, job assistance, housing, continuing education, legal services, and/or a human trafficking caseworker privilege.
  9. Access to Civil Damages: A statute that provides victims of human trafficking with the ability to seek civil damages from their traffickers.
  10. Vacating Convictions for Sex Trafficking Victims: A statute that permits victims to have convictions for prostitution that were committed as a result of being trafficked vacated from their criminal records.

2013 State Reports

Please click on the link below for your individual state report which lists the statute(s) your state received credit for. This list is not necessarily exhaustive of all of the laws against human trafficking in each state, and only includes the laws from the 10 categories that we track for the state ratings map. For guidelines and examples of bill language, please consult Polaris’s Model Provisions of Comprehensive State Legislation to Combat Human Trafficking and Commentary. If you need technical assistance in enacting laws to fill in the gaps, please contact the Polaris Policy Program at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

For additional information related to your state, visit our State-by-State Resources Page.

NHTRC-module National Human Trafficking Resource Center Report Human Trafficking Access Trainings Human Trafficking Information & Resources

Client Quotes

"Thanks to Polaris Project, I have a job, a home, and many friends that help me when I need it. I am making a life of my own."


- Survivor of Labor Trafficking & Client of Polaris