The state of Tennessee has been voted the best in the nation this year for its laws intended to prevent child sex trafficking. That’s according to Shared Hope International, which since 2011 has been grading states in part on their laws combating child sex traffickers.
Christine Raino oversees public policy at the nonprofit organization, which is dedicated to eradicating child sex trafficking. She says making it a priority to introduce laws that protect child victims also helped Tennessee move up from a C grade to an A over the years.
"Tennessee is one of those states that has come back each year and says, 'OK, we’ve improved this, what’s the next thing we need to do to just keep improving those protections?'"
Raino says one of those improvements has been no longer prosecuting minors who engage in prostitution. Officials and advocates have said that’s given law enforcement a much better understanding of the widespread problem.
Now, Raino says, her group would like to see Tennessee introduce legislation that provides specialized services for various types of child sex trafficking victims.
The report from Shared Hope is based solely on states’ policies and not on how they’re implemented, or their efficacy, which Raino admits is still virtually impossible to track.