The State Department annually releases a “report card” evaluating countries’ work and progress on combating the heinous crime of trafficking of human person for either labor or sex slavery. In 2010, the United States was included in the ranking and evaluation for the first time, scoring in the highest tier, although its narrative showed much room for improvement in this area where all can agree that one exploited person is one too many.

On that note, in late November Shared Hope, a non-profit organization dedicated to the eradication of sex trafficking through education and public awareness, released a domestic version of the report, “The Protected Innocence Initiative,” grading individual states on their efforts to combat child sex trafficking.

In their words, “The Protected Innocence Initiative is a comprehensive strategy to promote zero tolerance for child sex trafficking. In partnership with the American Center for Law &Justice, Shared Hope International conducted a comprehensive analysis of each states existing laws. The Protected Innocence Legislative Framework solely evaluates a states existing laws and does not evaluate enforcement or implementation.

The methodology was vetted by experts in the anti-trafficking field including Ambassador Mark Lagon (U.S. Department of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons 2007-2009) and directors from the following organizations: the National District Attorneys Association; American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law; the Protection Project at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies; ECPAT-USA; Children at Risk, Houston, Texas; and A Future Not a Past, Atlanta, Georgia.”

Criteria used to evaluate states’ grades included criminal provisions addressing traffickers, demand and facilitators, protections for child victims, and criminal justice tools for investigation and prosecution, among others.

According to the report, the worst ranking states in the U.S. include Virginia, Michigan, Maryland, and Colorado, to name just a few. Some of the best states were Missouri, Washington and Texas.