Human trafficking tends to make Americans think of far-flung, developing countries. Unfortunately, children, women, and men are taken and forced into work against their will, all the time, right here.
The number of people trafficked in the United States is difficult to estimate, but the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children says that there are approximately 100,000 children in the U.S. forced into sex trafficking every year. And many more thousands of adults are enslaved, as well.
A leading organization in the fight against modern slavery, Polaris Project has just released its 2013 ratings of the 50 U.S. states in terms of their preventative and punitive legislation against human trafficking.
Their scorecard is meant to be a catalyst for change, and it is. Polaris has helped pass 40 new laws in more than half the states in the U.S. Three of the worst states from last year—Arkansas, Montana, and Wyoming—greatly improved their scores this year. Senior policy counsel for Polaris, James Dold, says, “As a matter of fact, Arkansas was the most improved, followed by Wyoming. And those are states where Polaris Project worked quite closely with the Attorney General’s office, with legislators, and so we saw a tremendous amount of improvement to the legal infrastructure in those states, which is really cool.”
So, which states are at the back of the pack this year? Click through to see if your state is one that needs to make some big changes.