Human Trafficking Laws Score
Special Report - August 29, 2012
A new report shows that the majority of states have enacted laws to fight human trafficking, including 28 states, such as North Carolina, that have passed human trafficking laws in the last year. Released earlier this month by the Polaris Project, the annual report, “2012 Annual State Ratings Map on Human Trafficking Laws,” rates all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on 10 categories of laws that are “critical to a basic framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers, and supports survivors.”
Key findings from the report include:
- North Carolina is ranked among the top 21 “Tier 1” states in the report that are defined as states that “have passed significant laws to combat human trafficking.”
- Sixteen states plus D.C. were ranked as “Tier 2” states for having “numerous laws to combat human trafficking” but needing more work.
- Nine states are ranked as “Tier 3” states in the report for making “nominal efforts to combat human trafficking.”
- Four states, Wyoming, Arkansas, Montana and South Dakota, were ranked in the bottom four in the report, as “states [that] have not made nominal efforts to enact a basic legal framework to combat human trafficking.”
- Twenty-eight states passed laws to combat human trafficking in the last year, including North Carolina. For example, during the 2011 “Short Session,” a provision was added to the Budget Bill (H950) that creates a Human Trafficking Task Force under the State Department of Justice. Additionally, the General Assembly passed S910,which increases the legal penalties for the sale, surrender or purchase of a minor from a Class I misdemeanor to a Class F Felony.
According to the report, North Carolina received a total of eight points out of a possible 12 for having the following laws/provisions related to human trafficking:
- A sex trafficking statute, specifically G.S. §14-43.10, §14-43.11, and §14-43.13.
- A labor trafficking statute, specifically G.S. §14-43.12 regarding involuntary servitude.
- Asset forfeiture for human trafficking, specifically G.S. §14-2.3: “Forfeiture of gain acquired through criminal activity,” and Investigative Tools for Law Enforcement (a “statute that amends existing Racketeering statutes to include the crime of human trafficking, or authorizes the use of wiretapping by law enforcement in human trafficking investigations”), specifically G.S. §75D-3.
- Training of law enforcement and the establishment of a human trafficking task force, specifically an amendment to the 2012 budget [see specifically Section 15.3A (a) of H 950] that established a Human Trafficking Commission within the Department of Justice, which is tasked with contributing “to efforts to inform and educate law enforcement personnel, social services providers, and the general public about human trafficking so that human traffickers can be prosecuted and victim-survivors can receive appropriate services.”
- No requirement of force, fraud or coercion to be guilty of sex trafficking of minors, specifically G.S. §14-43.10 (5).
- A Victim Assistance statute that “provides assistance, mandates the creation of a victim services plan, or funds programs to help victims of human trafficking” (specifically G.S. §14-43.11, §15C-10, §15A-831 and §15A-832, most of which deal with the responsibilities of law enforcement agencies in providing assistance to victims of human trafficking).
North Carolina’s score suffered in the report due to a lack of the following:
- a law that requires the public posting of a national or state human trafficking hotline;
- a Safe Harbor for Minors law that “recognizes sex trafficking individuals under 18 as victims of a crime in need of protection, and services by granting immunity from prosecution or diverting the child delinquency proceedings and instead directing them to child welfare services;”
- a law that vacates convictions for sex trafficking victims (defined as laws that “permit victims to have convictions for prostitution that were committed as a result of being trafficked vacated from their criminal records.”); and
- a law that provides human trafficking survivors with the ability to seek civil damages from their traffickers.
“In every state in our country, as well as globally, traffickers are enslaving victims,” said Mary Ellison, Polaris Project’s director of policy. “We look forward to continuing to work with state legislators to develop tools to stop this horrendous human rights abuse.”
Child Trafficking In North Carolina - FPM - August 4, 2012
Trafficking Funding Denial Questioned - November 16, 2011
Legislative Committee Explores Trafficking of Children for Sex - March 5, 2004
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