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Announcing the 2016 PIC Report Cards

By November 29, 2016December 16th, 2019Shared Hope, Student Staff
Every semester the Center for Global Justice supports Shared Hope with the Protected Innocence Challenge (PIC).  The PIC is a 50-state survey designed to improve the laws of all 50 states as they relate to the sex trafficking of children. This semester, the Center is analyzing whether each state has vacatur laws that allow minor sex trafficking victims to have any convictions that resulted or related to their trafficking vacated rather than merely expunged.  Below is a blog post from a student staff member working on this project.  After Chelsea’s post is an announcement from Shared Hope about this year’s PIC report card grades.

Chelsea Mack

I am working on a project for Shared Hope for this semester.  The project is focused on searching through the statutes of each state to find a vacatur law that essentially allows human trafficking victims to clear their records of a delinquent adjudication or conviction that is related to their being trafficked.  This type of statute is important because the victims are able to have a fresh start and need not worry about a conviction following them for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, through the research that the student staff team has gathered so far, there does not appear to be many vacatur laws in place to help human trafficking victims.  Most of the vacatur laws that we are finding only allow a victim to vacate the conviction for certain acts related to trafficking, such as prostitution.  Unfortunately, this type of vacatur law turns a blind eye to the other offenses that human trafficking victims are often charged with under domestic law.  More states need to provide vacatur laws that are all-inclusive in regards to the types of acts acceptable for vacation.  It is unfair that these individuals are punished for crimes that they committed as a result of being victims to all forms of abuse.  I think that these laws can only help the victims and I hope that more legislators will begin to understand the importance of adopting this type of vacatur law.

This post was written by a Center for Global Justice student staff member.  The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect those of Regent University, Regent Law School, or the Center for Global Justice.


Announcing the
2016 Protected Innocence Challenge
Report Card Grades

Shared Hope’s Protected Innocence Challenge is the nation’s only comprehensive study of state laws on sex trafficking, providing 51 Report Cards which grade each state and DC on 6 areas of law. What is your state’s grade? Find out here!

Last week, at the National Foundation of Women Legislators annual conference, Shared Hope hosted a press conference to release the 2016 Report Card Grades. You can watch the press conference here.

This Year’s Report
Every state now has a law covering child sex trafficking according to the annual Protected Innocence Challenge State Report Card released by Shared Hope.
“But kids can still be prosecuted as criminals in 31 states because law has not kept up with reality – the reality is that these children are victims of sex trafficking and cannot be criminals at the same time for the same thing,” said SHI founder Linda Smith, at a press conference in Orlando, FL where the National Foundation for Women Legislators is meeting.

SHI started the annual report card—known as the Protected Innocence Challenge—six years ago, in 2011, when 26 states got Fs and 15 had Ds. This year 30 states have As and Bs.

While she commended legislators and activists for the progress they have made, “We must stop criminalizing kids for crimes committed against them!” declared Smith. “Domestic minors are #twicecondemned: first by sex buyers and the voracious commercial sex trade, then by the juvenile justice system.”

“Only when buying sex becomes very costly—meaning steep fines and jail time—will we be able to prevent this crime from happening in the first place,” Linda observed. Shared Hope research shows that a very small percentage of buyers are arrested and even fewer do time.