One of my student staff projects this semester has been assisting Shared Hope with the Protected Innocence Challenge
(PIC). Shared Hope is a Christian non-profit organization that strives to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking, restore victims of sex slavery, and bring justice to vulnerable women and children. As part of its efforts to bring justice to sex trafficking victims in the United States, Shared Hope, through the PIC, conducts a comprehensive study of state laws to assist advocates in advancing legislative change. Under the PIC, every state receives a Report Card that grades the state on 41 key legislative components that must be addressed in a state’s laws in order to effectively respond to the crime of domestic minor sex trafficking. In addition, each state receives a complete analysis and recommendations chart (A&R) of this 41-component review and practical recommendations for improvement.
My project this semester has focused on making sure these charts are up to date. I read through the relevant A&R sections to ensure that all laws have been updated. After I review one chart, I usually meet with another student staff member and we review each other’s work to make sure nothing was missed. We then send our changes to the Administrative Director for his review. Assuming he has no questions and approves our work, our charts are then sent to Shared Hope, who uses these charts to educate state representatives on specific issues their state is facing.
The most difficult part of this project is being able to analyze the law to see if any changes have been made in the past year. As difficult as this work can be, it is also very rewarding. Knowing that my work is being sent to state representatives to help educate them on issues regarding human trafficking is priceless and well worth the effort.
Center Update: When Ernie Walton, Administrative Director of the Center, was advocating with Shared Hope this past January and February at the Virginia Senate, Shared Hope distributed the exact charts that we had updated the previous year.