November 11, 2022
Last week, our team had the privilege of attending the 2022 Shared Hope International JuST Conference in Fort Worth! It was a delight to connect with partners in person and humbling to bear witness to the important work that is accomplished day in and day out.
Each year, Shared Hope releases a set of report cards reflecting their assessment of state statutes related to and impacting child and youth sex trafficking in all 50 states and D.C. The 2022 results were eye-opening:
When Shared Hope began grading states in 2011, the national average was an "F”. With 10 years of legislative improvements and hard-earned advocacy, the national average improved to a "B". A huge accomplishment!
As Shared Hope updated the methodology for grading states, the new scores placed a greater emphasis on laws that protect victims and survivors.
This year’s grades show that state legislatures have more work to do to increase services and prevention strategies. As a movement, we need to continuously improve, and the report cards are a clear call to action. But it is important to remember that the grades measure a state's laws, not necessarily what's happening on the ground.
Texas is a good example:
This is only one example of the disconnect that can exist between field solutions and policies. Policies reflect one part of a state’s overall strategy. A comprehensive view of progress must include data from the field about a range of solutions, programs, and outcomes — prevention, victim identification, arrests, prosecutions, and comprehensive services in addition to policies.
We are grateful for the efforts of Shared Hope International to consolidate important and often esoteric information into a framework that helps everyone understand larger trends across the US. There has been clear and impactful change as a result of that work.
The report cards remind us we need better data to close the gap between policy and practice. States like Texas and Louisiana are using Lighthouse to provide an accurate picture of what trafficking looks like and the real progress being made by the entire anti-trafficking movement. If you are interested in using data to better understand your state’s response to human trafficking, reach out to our team!