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Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Hawaii receives ‘F’ in Shared Hope International’s Report Cards on Child and Youth Sex Trafficking
By News Release @ 7:06 PM :: 1533 Views :: Hawaii Statistics, Law Enforcement

Hawaii receives ‘F’ in Shared Hope International’s Report Cards on Child and Youth Sex Trafficking

Hawaii ranks in middle tier of rankings of all states for laws protecting and responding to young trafficking survivors

News Release from Shared Hope International, Nov 15, 2023

WASHINGTON, NOVEMBER 15, 2023—Hawaii received an F in Shared Hope International’s Report Cards on Child and Youth Sex Trafficking, released today. (Hawaii’s Report Card and related resources are at: "2023/Hawaii") As the only U.S. nonprofit organization working in every state to advance legislative protections for child and youth sex trafficking survivors, Shared Hope’s 2023 Report Cards for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., gave the majority of states–32–a grade of F, while Tennessee (A), Florida (B), Minnesota (C), California (C), and Washington (C) ranked in the top five highest grade earners.

The Report Cards are used to press for a national standard of victim-centered justice, which can be achieved only if all states are actively working to develop and implement robust protections and just responses to children and youth who have experienced trafficking. Through the Report Cards, Shared Hope is pushing states to ensure all children have access to protective care and services that help survivors heal and rebuild their lives.

“We applaud the progress that states have made in recent years,” said former U.S. Congresswoman and Shared Hope Founder and President Linda Smith. “At the same time, many states continue to struggle in their legislative efforts. This creates a wild patchwork of statutes across the country, with the number and quality of legal protections and responses literally all over the map. Regardless of state of residence, no minor should be punished for their own trafficking victimization. Instead, these minors deserve critical services and care.”

Shared Hope’s Report Card Toolkit for Hawaii also provides these highlights of its grades and legislative activities related to child and youth sex trafficking:

Between 2021 and 2023, the state raised its score by 23.5 points.

Most improved in 2023 (raised score by 20 points this year alone).

Enacted House Bill 579, requiring the Department of the Attorney General to develop and implement a program to prevent and support survivors of human trafficking, including through training of law enforcement, educators, and mandatory reporters.

State funds were appropriated to support the development and provision of services to survivors of human trafficking.

Convicted offenders of sex trafficking and CSEC are required to pay fees that are deposited into a special fund to support access to specialized services for survivors.

Status of the state’s Safe Harbor laws: One of 21 states that fail to prohibit the criminalization of minors for prostitution offenses, thus allowing commercially sexually exploited minors to be held criminally accountable for their own victimization.

The Report Cards are the result of a comprehensive analysis and assessment of all legal responses to child and youth sex trafficking in each state. While Shared Hope recognizes a range of policy, practice, and cultural responses to sex trafficking victims in each state, the Report Cards evaluate only statutes and use 40 policy goals in six issue areas in its grading system. States are assigned up to 2.5 points for each policy goal for a possible total score of 100 (with a possibility of up to 10 extra credit points) and then assigned a letter grade – A, B, C, D, or F – based on their score.

The Report Cards are part of a larger toolkit that Shared Hope has produced for each state, which includes a State Analysis Report specific to each state’s statutes on child and youth sex trafficking. Shared Hope has produced the Report Cards and state analyses annually since 2011 as a tool to assist public policy activists and state elected officials in developing and advocating for better laws to support sex trafficking survivors.

“As states make significant legislative reforms to move away from criminalizing survivors, access to appropriate services is critical to successful implementation of safe harbor laws,” said Christine Raino, Senior Director of Public Policy at Shared Hope. “This necessary and encouraging shift is demonstrated by this year's top-scoring states, which have all appropriated substantial state funds towards specialized services for trafficked children and youth.”

The national average of numerical scores on the 40 policy goals is 57.9 for 2023. The average has risen from 51.2 in 2022 and 47.9 in 2021, the year that Shared Hope strengthened its grading criteria to shift the focus from criminal laws to victim-centered responses and services. Prior to that, Shared Hope had issued its annual Report Cards for ten years under a different evaluation framework emphasizing criminal law responses.

# # #

About Shared Hope International 

Founded in 1998 by then-U.S. Congresswoman Linda Smith, Shared Hope International is a national nonprofit organization with a threefold mission to prevent the conditions that foster sex trafficking: prevent sex trafficking through training, awareness and collaboration; restore survivors of sex trafficking, and bring justice through legislative and policy solutions. Shared Hope engages in diverse training, intervention, and legislative activities that confront sex trafficking in communities throughout the U.S.  

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