In 2003, Washington became the first state to criminalize human trafficking. Since then, every state has enacted laws establishing criminal penalties for traffickers seeking to profit from forced labor or sexual servitude. The laws vary in several ways including who is defined as a “trafficker,” the statutory elements required to prove guilt in order to obtain a conviction and the seriousness of the criminal and financial penalties those convicted will face.
See NCSL's 2018 report, "Prosecuting Human Traffickers: Recent Legislative Enactments."
Common potential sex trafficking venues:
- Hostess/Strip Club-Based
- Residential Brothels
- Online Advertisements
- Commercial-Fronted Brothels
Common potential labor trafficking venues:
- Domestic Work
- Traveling Sales Crews
- Restaurants/ Food Service
- Commercial-Fronted Brothels
- Health and Beauty Services
Source: National Human Trafficking Hotline, top venues/industries for sex and labor trafficking (for updated statistics on the potential number of cases reported at these venues follow the link).
DEFINING TRAFFICKING ACTIONS
State laws include a wide variety of activities under their definition of trafficking. Differences in trafficking definitions are critical to identifying who has criminal culpability. Most commonly, trafficking activities are defined as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons for the purpose of exploitation. Some jurisdictions have expanded their definition of trafficking by including activities like purchasing, benefitting or profiting.
Statutorily enumerated trafficking activities include:
- Depriving Liberty
- Alaska identifies anyone who benefits from trafficking in any way as being guilty of human trafficking in the 2nd degree. Direct involvement is 1st degree trafficking.
- Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi allow, under certain circumstances, businesses and corporations to be prosecuted for trafficking crimes.
- Vermont’s trafficking definition includes “benefitting financially” from participation in a venture where a person is compelled to engage in commercial sex.
MEANS OF TRAFFICKING
In order to obtain a trafficking conviction, state laws, in most instances, require that prosecutors prove traffickers compelled their victims into labor or sexual servitude. The majority of laws include the elements force, fraud and coercion, but their definition can vary greatly from state to state. For example, in some states, their definition focuses primarily on the use of physical force. Other states more broadly include psychological control, financial threats, legal harassment and drug addiction.
Statutorily enumerated forms of force, fraud or coercion include:
- Threatening legal action.
- Withholding or destroying passports.
- Using or threatening force.
- Debt bondage.
- Using a controlled substance.
- Causing financial harm.
- Physical restraint.
- Blackmail or extortion.
- Kidnapping or abduction.
- Abusing a position of power.
State trafficking laws address many factors and circumstances that can enhance the criminal penalties for trafficking crimes. Laws for example, can assign more severe or additional penalties for trafficking when the crimes are committed against vulnerable populations like children, undocumented immigrants and people with a mental illness, or are effectuated through aggravating circumstances like the use of violence, branding or drug addiction.
Vulnerable Group Examples:
- Delaware raises labor trafficking from a class C to a class B felony when committed against a minor.
- Florida raises the trafficking penalty for commercial sexual activity from a first degree felony to a life felony when the crime is committed against a person who is “mentally defective or mentally incapacitated.”
- Missouri law creates the crime of “Contributing to Human Trafficking” for those who misuse immigration documents to facilitate trafficking crimes.
Aggravating Circumstance Examples:
- Nebraska raises labor trafficking from a class III to a class IIA felony when coerced by inflicting, or threatening to inflict, serious injury.
- New York raises labor trafficking from a class D to a class C felony when compelled by using a controlled substance to impair a person’s judgement.
Utah raises the penalty for human trafficking from a second degree felony to a first degree felony when it results in death or serious bodily harm, involves rape or sodomy, involves 10 or more victims, or involves a victim who is held against their will for longer than 30 days.
PENALTIES FOR BUSINESSES
Some states have enacted measures that specifically address penalties that apply to a business entity if it is has committed, or has been used in committing, a human trafficking crime. Laws also create procedures for the dissolution of the business entity, as well as, establish additional fines.
Criminal Penalties and Fines
- Alabama law makes a business entity criminally liable for human trafficking if an agent, by act or omission, performs an element of the crime while acting within the scope of his or her duties and the crime was authorized, requested, commanded, performed in a way that the entity knew or should have known was occurring.
- Massachusetts enables a business entity that commits trafficking of persons for forced labor services to be fined up to $1,000,000. The state also holds any business that knowingly aids, or is jointly involved in, labor trafficking civilly liable.
- South Carolina law requires an additional penalty of up to ten years in prison if a business owner used his or her business to facilitate sex or labor trafficking crimes.
- Hawaii requires, upon a conviction for labor trafficking, that the court revoke any business license issued by the state to the enterprise that the convicted person used to facilitate the offense.
- For businesses found guilty of trafficking, Minnesota law enables, in addition to criminal penalties, a court to dissolve or reorganize an entity, suspend or revoke any license or permit granted by a state agency, or order the surrender of its charter or its certificate to conduct business in the state.
- In Vermont, if any business is found guilty of human trafficking, the Attorney General is empowered to commence a proceeding in the Civil Division of the Superior Court to dissolve it.
ADDRESSING DEMAND FOR COMMERCIAL SEX
State laws vary on the criminal penalties they assess on people who purchase sex. Some states punish sex purchasers the same as traffickers, generally with felony level crimes, while others punish them with misdemeanors associated with paying for prostitution or solicitation. A third option some states have taken is to assign a middle-ground crime, usually being either a more severe version of solicitation, or a less severe form of human trafficking.
- South Dakota’s law assesses a class 1 misdemeanor for hiring a person for sexual activity, unless the person should have known they were hiring someone forced to engage in this activity through trafficking, then it is a class 6 felony.
- Washington identifies anyone who purchases a sexually explicit act as a human trafficker guilty of a class A felony.
Estimating how prolific trafficking crimes are in the U.S. is challenging. Currently there is uneven data, particularity across state and local jurisdictions, concerning the extent to which state laws criminalizing trafficking have acted as an effective deterrent or been utilized in prosecutions. The efforts states and the federal government have made to track trafficking investigation and prosecution data are provided in the reports below.
Resources with Trafficking Statistics:
State lawmakers have legislated several criminal protections and civil remedies for trafficking victims in the judicial system. Measures have provided immunity to, diversion from, and affirmative defenses against, criminal prosecution for actions victims were forced to commit by their traffickers. Laws additionally create mechanisms to seal, vacate or expunge previous criminal convictions and provide for civil standing and restitution procedures that enable survivors to recover financially from their traffickers.
Criminal protections for trafficked survivors have been implemented at different stages in the justice process.
- Immunity & Diversion - measures to prevent or divert survivors from the justice system.
- Affirmative Defense - measures ensuring survivors’ experiences are considered by courts.
- Vacation and Expungement - measures enabling survivors to clear their criminal records.
Lawmakers have also created mechanisms to help survivors recover financially from their traffickers.
- Restitution - as part of the criminal process, requires convicted traffickers to pay survivors for damages.
- Civil Standing - enables survivors to recover civilly for damages against them.
- Forfeiture - criminal forfeiture enables justice officials to seize assets used in, or benefitted from, criminal conduct.
IMMUNITY and DIVERSION
To prevent arrested victims from entering the justice system, state laws can provide for immunity from prosecution or diversion to rehabilitative services. Many states apply these protections only to trafficked youth, as they are considered the most vulnerable population. Laws also charge agencies with developing comprehensive plans for assisting trafficked youth once they are identified and diverted from the justice system. Diversion options may require the admission of guilt, or entering a conditional plea.
||Diversion and Immunity
- Kentucky, Montana, North Dakota and Oklahoma require that a youth be a victim of trafficking crimes to receive immunity.
- North Dakota provides immunity for misdemeanor forgery, misdemeanor theft, credit offenses and controlled substances crimes in addition to prostitution.
- Kentucky provides immunity from prosecution for status offenses committed by trafficked youth.
- Nebraska and Wyoming are the only states to provide immunity from prosecution for trafficked children and adults.
The majority of states enable trafficked victims to assert an affirmative defense to criminal charges they face as a result of actions they were forced to commit by their traffickers. An affirmative defense is evidence that, if found credible, negates criminal liability even if it is proved the defendant committed the acts at issue. Statutes differ in the crimes for which an affirmative defense can be raised, but many cover prostitution, loitering and solicitation.
- Colorado allows an affirmative defense to be asserted if a person was under duress or coerced into committing offenses that were a direct result of, or incident to, trafficking.
- Illinois enables trafficked victims to assert an affirmative defense for charges of lewdness, prostitution and obscenity.
- Maryland requires a defendant wishing to assert an affirmative defense to notify the State’s Attorney at least 10 days prior to trial
VACATING AND EXPUNGING
Many trafficked survivors have criminal records as a result of actions they were forced to commit by their traffickers. At least 27 states have created procedures for survivors to expunge, vacate or seal criminal records related to being trafficked. Clearing a survivor’s criminal record removes barriers to obtaining housing, gaining employment, pursuing education and restoring certain civic rights.
When traffickers are convicted of their crimes, laws in many states require that they pay restitution to their victims. The goal of restitution in criminal cases is to address financially the harms done to a person in order to make them whole. State restitution laws in trafficking cases may contribute to payment for medical and psychological services, housing, child care, property costs, repatriation and the cost of labor provided.
- Alabama requires forfeited proceeds from human trafficking crimes to first satisfy restitution.
- North Carolina requires restitution be paid in an amount equal to the value of the survivors' labor according to the Fair Labor Standards Act.
- Texas requires a person convicted of compelling prostitution to pay restitution in an amount equal to the cost of the medical and psychiatric treatment for all victims under 18 years of age.
State laws provide guidance on the civil suits survivors can bring against their traffickers. These laws can establish in which court a survivor can file their suit, what sort of damages can be recovered (actual damages, compensatory damages, punitive damages, injunctive relief, attorney costs and fees, treble damages, etc.) and the statute of limitations for their case to be brought to court.
- Massachusetts requires a civil action to be brought within 3 years of the victim being identified, or if they were a child, within three years after they reach 18.
- Nevada enables a prevailing plaintiff in a civil action to also be awarded attorney costs and fees.
- West Virginia allows a trafficked survivor to recover treble damages if the defendant's acts were willful and malicious
State laws enable justice officials to seize the property and assets of individuals and business entities convicted of committing trafficking crimes. Assets able to be seized can include profits, buildings and vehicles. States can direct funds specifically to victims of trafficking crimes via special funds or restitution, to government entities incurring costs of investigation or prosecution or to funds for general victim services.
- Alabama law requires the forfeiture of assets used in first and second degree human trafficking. The assets are required to first be used to pay restitution to trafficking victims, then to pay damages awarded to survivors in a civil action, next to the cost of the investigation and prosecution of trafficking crimes, with the remainder going towards the Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Fund.
- Rhode Island requires any person convicted of involuntary servitude or sex or labor trafficking to forfeit any profits, proceeds or property interest acquired or maintained as a result of the criminal activity. All forfeited proceeds will be deposited in the general fund.
- Wyoming requires the forfeiture of all buildings knowingly used to further human trafficking if the owner has knowledge of, or gives consent, to its use.
Immunity & Diversion
AL §§ 13A-12-123, 12-15-701, 13A-6-181
AR § 9-27-323
CA Penal Code § 236.13, Penal § 647, Welf. & Inst.Code § 18259, Welf. & Inst.Code § 300 Welf. & Inst.Code § 305
CT §§ 53a-82, 7a-106f
DE 11 § 787
DC § 22-2701
FL §§ 409.1754, 796.07, 39.524
HI § 712–1200
IL 720 § 5/11–14
IA § 725.1
KS §§ 38-2231, 38-2232
KY §§ 15A.068, 630.125, 620.029, 529.120
MI § 750.451
MN §§145.4716, 260B.007, 260C.007, 626.558
MS § 97-3-54.1
MT § 45-5-709
NE § 28-801
NH § 645:2
NY Crim. Pro. § 170.80
NC §§ 14-204, 14‑205.1
ND §§ 12.1-41-12, 12.1–41–17
OK 21 § 748.2
PA 18 § 3019
SC § 16-3-2020
TN § 39-13-513
TX Fam. § 54.0326
UT § 76-10-1302
VT 13 § 2652
WA §§ 13.40.213, 13.40.219
WI § 944.30
WY §§ 6-2-708, 6-2-709
AL § 13A-6-159
AZ § 13-3214
AR §§ 5-70-102, 5-70-103
CA Penal Code § 236.23
CO § 18-7-201.3
CT § 53a-82
DE 11 § 787
GA § 16-3-6
IL§§ 725 § 5/115-6.1, 720 § 5/11-14
KS § 21-6419
KY § 529.170
LA §§ 14:89.2, 14:83.3, 14:83.4, 14:46.2, 14:89
MD Crim., § 11-306
MA 265 § 57
MN § 609.325
MS § 97-3-54.1
MO § 566.223
MT § 45-5-710
NE § 28-801
NH § 645:2
NJ §§ 2C:34-1, 2C:13-8
NY Penal § 230.01
OK 21 § 748
PA 18 § 3019
RI § 11-34.1-2
SC § 16-3-2020
SD § 22-23-1.2
TN § 39-13-513
VT 13 § 2652
WA § 9A.88.040
Vacation & Expungement
AZ § 13-907.01
AK Code § 16-90-904
CA Penal Code § 236.14
CO §§ 18-7-201.3, 24-72-706
CT § 54-95c
DE 11, § 787
FL § 943.0583
GA § 15-11-32
HI § 712-1209.6
ID § 67-3014
IL 725 § 5/116-2.1
IA § 725.1
KA § 21-6614
LA §§ 855
MD Crim. § 8-302
MI Comp. § 780.621
MS Code Ann. § 97-3-54.6
MT § 46-18-608
NV 2017 NV AB 243 § 2
NJ §§ 2C:44-1.1, R. 3:21-11
NH § 633:7
NM § 30-52-1.2
NY N.Y. CPL 440.10
NC § 15A-1416.1
ND N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-41-14
OH § 2953.38
OK 22 § 19c
OR Or. Laws 2017 Ch. 245, § 1
PA 18 § 3019
SC § 16-3-2020
TX Fam. § 58.003
UT Code § 78B-9-104
VT 13 § 2658, 923
WA §§ 9.96.060, 9.96.070
WV § 61-2-17
WI Stat. Ann. § 973.015
WY § 6-2-708
AL § 13A-6-155
CO § 18-1.3-603
DE11 § 787
HI § 707-785
ID § 18-8604
IN § 35-42-3.5-2
IA § 710A.4
IL 720 § 5/10-9
KY § 532.034
LA § 15:539.3
MI §§ 780.766b, 750.462f
MS § 97-3-54.6
MO § 566.223
NV § 200.469
NH § 633:10
NJ § 2C:13-8
NM § 30-52-1
NC § 14-43.20
ND § 12.1-41-09
OK 21 § 748.2
PA 18 § 3020
RI § 11-67-4
SC § 16-3-2040
TN § 39-13-314
TX CCP § 42.0372
VT 13 § 2657
AL § 13A-6-157
AR § 16-118-109
CA Civ § 52.5
CO § 13-21-127
CT § 52-571i
DE 11 § 787
FL § 772.104
IN § 35-42-3.5-3
KS § 60-5003
KY § 431.082
LA § 46:2163
ME 5 § 4701
MA 260 § 4D
MS § 97-3-54.6
MO § 566.223
MT § 27-1-755
NE § 25-21,299
NV § 41.1399
NM § 30-52-1.1
NH § 633:11
NJ § 2C:13-8.1
NY Soc. Serv. § 483-bb
ND § 12.1-41-15
OH § 2307.51
OK 21 § 748.2
PA 18 § 3051
SC § 16-3-2060
SD § 20-9-46
TN § 39-13-314
UT § 77-38-15
VT 13 § 2662
WA § 19.320.040
WV § 61-2-17
WI §§ 940.302, 948.051
AL § 13A-6-156
CA § Penal 236.186
CO § 16-13-303
CT § 54-36p
D.C. § 22-1838
DE 11 § 787
FL § 787.06
GA § 16-5-46
HI § 712A-4
IL 720 § 5/10-9, 720 § 5/1246-300
IN § 34-24-1-1
KS § 60-4104
KY § 529.150
LA § 15:539.1
MA 10 § 66A-517
MD Crim. Pro. § 13-503
ME 15 § 5821
MS § 97-3-54.7
MT § 45-5-707
NC § 14-43.20
ND § 54-12-14
OK 21 § 1738
PA 18 § 3021
RI § 11-67-5
TN § 39-13-312
WY § 6-2-711
Providing services to survivors of human trafficking is critical, as is the funding for those services. States provide many different types of services, from legal services to housing assistance, which differs state to state. In addition, the funding for these services varies greatly across states, with some setting up special funds to address human trafficking while others provide for targeted services in budget line items.
See NCSL's 2018 report, "Human Trafficking: An Overview of Services and Funding for Survivors."
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 establishes the 3P approach to addressing human trafficking encompassing prevention, protection, and prosecution. Since 2000 the concept has been expanded to include partnership, recognizing the need for multiple agency coordination in order to properly address the issue.
Trafficking survivors require a range of different services, which vary depending on the specific needs of the individual survivor. Required services may include shelter, advocacy, health care, legal assistance, mental health services, or many others. For example, an Evaluation of Services for Domestic Minor Victims of Human Trafficking, released in 2015, documented the demographics of child trafficking survivors as well as the services provided by three grant-funded direct service providers in San Francisco, Chicago and New York City. The report details what the client needs were at intake including:
- Case management
- Legal services
- Crisis intervention
- Safety planning
- Health care: medical, dental and sexual health care
- Mental health treatment
- Housing: long-term, emergency and transitional
- Employment/vocational assistance
- Assistance obtaining benefits
- Family reunification or family counseling
- Victim assistance/legal advocacy services
- Substance/alcohol abuse treatment
Survivors of sex and labor trafficking face complex legal issues that often require expertise in many areas of the law, including criminal, civil, immigration law and more. For example, one survivor may need legal assistance in many, if not all, of the following areas:
- Vacating & Expunging Criminal Records: survivors often have criminal records including crimes committed as part of or in furtherance of the trafficking activity (e.g. theft, drug possession or sales, loitering, prostitution etc.)
- Family Law: some survivors may need help getting out of an abusive relationship that led to the trafficking, or they may need assistance getting custody of their children.
- Immigration: survivors may have been brought to the United States illegally and need assistance gaining legal status in the country. This often comes in the form of a T or U visa.
- Victim/Witness Advocacy: the court process can be intimidating, particularly for human trafficking victims. Victim/witness advocacy can help survivors navigate the legal system while protecting their rights and safety.
- Identity Theft: identity theft is a large issue for survivors of human trafficking. Assistance reversing the damaging effects of identity theft, or just helping survivors get proper identification, can be invaluable.
- Obtaining Public Benefits such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, SNAP, Medicaid or others.
Housing needs of trafficking victims vary, and service providers employ different options to meet the emergency, transitional, and long-term housing needs of their clients, including through a variety of emergency and transitional shelters as well as group and independent living options, working with landlords, housing authorities, and other partners. Survivors, service providers, law enforcement, and other stakeholders cite housing as a top priority of victims of all forms of trafficking.
The evaluation of services to domestic minor sex trafficking survivors, cited above, also looked at what needs of the trafficking survivor were identified at intake. Nearly 75 percent of the client/survivors identified housing, either emergency, transitional, or long-term, as an area of need upon intake.
Trauma-Informed Services Delivery
It is important when providing services to victims of crime, particularly human trafficking survivors, to do so in a trauma-informed way. This includes recognizing the impact that prior trauma can have, identifying the signs of trauma in clients and knowing how to respond in a way that does not re-traumatize. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified Six Key Principles of a Trauma-Informed Approach:
- Trustworthiness and Transparency
- Peer Support
- Collaboration and Mutuality
- Empowerment, Voice and Choice
- Cultural, Historical, and Gender Issues
State legislation regarding services for human trafficking survivors varies greatly. Some states require an agency or commission to develop a plan for providing services to trafficking survivors, others include programs to provide services to survivors, child welfare population specific statutes, or other, more specific services such as immigration.
Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act requires states to identify youth most at risk of becoming child sex trafficking victims and provide services for them to prevent them from being trafficked.
See below for examples of how states have addressed the provision of services to human trafficking survivors.
Plan to Provide Services to Trafficking Survivors
These statutes require specific departments to coordinate with other agencies, nongovernmental organizations and/or service providers to develop a plan for providing services to human trafficking survivors. Some statutes specify that they are for child survivors only, others apply to both labor and sex trafficking, while others are general to all human trafficking survivors and can be broadly construed.
- Ark. Code § 12-19-103
- Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 54-234
- Ga. Code § 49-5-8
- La. Rev. Stat. § 46-2161 et.seq.
- Minn. Stat. § 299A.795
- N.J. Stat. § 52:4B-44
- N.J. Stat. § 52:4B-44.1
- Penn. Stat. tit. 43, § 1499
- Tenn. Code § 71-1-135
Programs to Provide Services
These statutes are programs established to provide services to survivors of human trafficking. They are generally applicable to all human trafficking survivors, child and adult, who are survivors of both sex and labor trafficking.
- Mo. Rev. Stat. § 566.223
- N.M. Stat. § 30-52-2
- N.Y. Soc. Serv. § 483-BB
- Okla. Stat. tit. 21, § 748.2
- Penn. Cons. Stat. tit. 18, § 3051 et.seq.
- Tex. Govt. Code § 531.381et.seq.
- Wyo. Stat. § 6-2-709
Child Welfare Specific Provisions
These statutes address children who are survivors of human trafficking and are currently, or are eligible to receive child welfare services, including secure foster care placements. The Connecticut and Texas statutes address both sex and labor trafficking. California and Florida address commercial sexual exploitation only and the others are general to human trafficking.
- Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code §16524.7 et.seq.
- Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 17a-106f
- Fla. Stat. § 409.1678
- Mich. Comp. Laws § 722.954e
- Tex. Fam. Code § 262.011
- Tex. Hum. Res. Code § 42.0531
- Wis. Stat. § 48.48
Services to Non-Citizen Survivors
These statutes generally extend public benefits to non-citizen/immigrant survivors of human trafficking. They are broadly applicable and generally apply to both sex and labor trafficking.
- Ark. Code § 12-19-104: immigration
- Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code § 18945
- Fla. Stat. § 402.87
- N.Y. Soc. Serv. § 483-DD
- N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-43.11(d)
State Special Funds
At least 22 states have created funds to pay for anti-trafficking efforts, including training of law enforcement and attorneys general and for the provision of services to survivors of human trafficking (see map). A study released in 2015 highlights the impact of state investment, “any state investment in human trafficking … is important in generating human trafficking arrests and prosecutions.”
States also generate funds for services by levying fines on sex traffickers and purchasers of commercial sex
Trafficking in Persons Report: U.S. Narrative, U.S. Department of State, July 2015
Attorney General’s Annual Report to Congress and Assessment of U.S. Government Activities to Combat Trafficking in Persons, Fiscal Year 2015.For example, in Louisiana the crime of purchasing commercial sexual activity carries increased fines based on the number of convictions and the age of the person from whom sex is being purchased. If the person is under 18, the maximum fine that can be imposed is $50,000; for those who purchase sex from children under 14, the maximum fine is $75,000. California’s law fines those convicted of labor, sex and child traffickers up to $500,000 in addition to providing for prison sentences.
Examples of states that created statutory special funds to provide training and services are included in the map and the citations below. The statutes vary from state to state. Georgia, Louisiana and Oregon have funds that apply only to children who are survivors of sex trafficking. Arizona, California and Hawaii specifically mention that the fund is available to both child and adult survivors of sex and labor trafficking. The remainder are general to all survivors of human trafficking and may be applied broadly.
- Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 41-114
- Ark. Stat. § 16-92-119
- Cal. Govt. Code § 8590.7
- Cal. Rev. and Tax. Code § 18809.2
- Ga. Code § 15-21-200 et.seq.
- Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 706-650.5
- Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 730, § 5/5-9-1.21
- Ind. Code § 5-2-6-25
- Iowa Code §915.95
- Kan. Stat. Ann. § 75-758
- Ky. Stat. § 529.140
- La. Rev. Stat. § 15:539.2
- Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 10, § 66A
- Mich. Comp. Laws § 752.975
- Miss. Code § 97-3-54.8
- Mont. Code §44-4-1504
- Neb. Rev. Stat. § 81-1429.02
- Nev. Rev. Stat. § 217.500 et.seq.
- N.J. Stat. § 52:17B-238
- Ohio Rev. Code § 5101.87
- Or. Rev. Stat. § 147.480
- Tenn. Code § 39-13-312
Instead of providing a special fund, some states provide for specific services in line items of budget bills. For example, Virginia (2015 HB 5002) reads:
“Out of this appropriation, $100,000 the first year and $100,000 the second year from the general fund shall be provided to contract with Youth for Tomorrow (YFT) to provide comprehensive residential, education and counseling services to at-risk youth of the Commonwealth of Virginia who have been sexually exploited, including victims of sex trafficking…”
To appropriately respond to the crime of human trafficking, state policymakers believe coordination of anti-trafficking efforts among various state and federal agencies is key. Several states have enacted legislation creating statewide work groups, task forces, advisory groups and the like to better coordinate services between the criminal justice, juvenile justice and child welfare agencies.
Coordination Efforts in the States
In recent years, nearly every state has created a working group, task force, advisory group, initiative or the like, to promote and encourage the cooperation and coordination among law enforcement, justice departments, and child welfare agencies, in addition to other important stakeholders.
Legislatively Created Statewide Task Forces
At least 26 states and Guam have enacted legislation creating a human trafficking task force, work group, study group or similar coordination effort. Eight of those states—Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri and Rhode Island—apply to sex trafficking only; the other states encompass both labor and sex trafficking. Most generally address both adult and minor sex and labor trafficking. Others specify that they only address minor sex trafficking.
- 2014 AL HJR 270
- Arkansas Code § 12-19-101
- California 2016 AB 1731 (Pending)
- Colorado Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-3-505
- Connecticut Gen. Stat. Ann. § 46a-170
- Delaware Code tit. 11, § 787(k)
- Florida Stat. Ann § 16-617
- Guam Code Ann. § 26.20
- Illinois Rev. Stat. ch. 20, § 505/5.05
- Illinois 2015 HB 2822
- Kentucky Rev. Stat. § 15.706
- Louisiana 2013 SCR 27
- Maryland 2015 HB 456
- Maryland 2016 SB 863
- Michigan Comp. Laws § 752.971 et.seq.
- Minnesota Stat. § 145.4717
- Mississippi Code Ann. § 97-3-54.9
- Missouri 2016 HB 2116
- Nebraska Rev. Stat. § 81-1430
- New Jersey Stat. Ann. § 52:17B-237
- New Mexico Stat. Ann. § 30-52-3
- New York Soc. Serv. Law § 483-ee
- North Carolina Gen. Stat. § 114-70
- North Dakota Cent. Code § 54-12-33
- Rhode Island Gen. Laws § 11-67-7
- South Carolina Code § 16-3-2050
- Tennessee Code § 4-3-3001 through § 4-3-3002
- Texas Govt. Code § 402.035
- Washington Rev. Code § 7.68.350
Executive Statewide Initiatives/Task Forces
Several states also have task forces operated by separate agencies, such as the attorney general’s office or the department of justice.
Reports Issued by Task Forces
- 2011 MA HB 3808: Interagency Human Trafficking Policy Task Force (2013 Report)
- 2010 PA SR 253: Advisory Group Report
Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act
The Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-183) placed requirements upon states to address child sex trafficking among the children under the child welfare agency’s care and supervision.
To foster coordination, the Preventing Sex Trafficking Act established a National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the U.S. to advise policymakers on policies to improve the nation’s response to the sex trafficking of children and youth. These include the coordination of federal, state, local and tribal governments, child welfare agencies, social service providers, health and mental health, victim services, state and local courts responsible for child welfare and others to develop and implement successful interventions with vulnerable children and youth and to make recommendations for administrative and legislative changes.
In addition to the state requirements in the timeline below, a few requirements are placed on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) including:
- Reporting the number of children in the care of state child welfare agencies who were identified as sex trafficking victims to Congress and the public.
- Reporting to Congress annually on the number of child victims and on children who have run away from foster care including their risk of becoming sex trafficking victims—characteristics, potential factors associated with children running away from foster care, information on children’s experiences while absent from care and trends in the number of children reported as runaways in each fiscal year; state efforts to provide services and placements; and, state efforts to ensure children in foster care form and maintain long-lasting connections to caring adults.
Here is a timeline for state action to comply with the Preventing Sex Trafficking Act:
While most of these requirements fall on the state child welfare agencies, several state legislatures have passed legislation to require the identification and screening of, as well as the provision of services to children affected, or at risk of being affected by sex trafficking, particularly foster youth. In addition, states have passed legislation to require the reporting of missing children, who are under the care and supervision of the state child welfare agency, to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) as well as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
This is an ongoing area of law and more states are introducing and enacting legislation each day. For up to date legislative tracking information, contact Meghan McCann, email@example.com or visit NCSL’s Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act webpage.
Timeline for state action to comply with the Preventing Sex Trafficking Act
Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 is Enacted
Effective Within Two Years of Enactment:
- State child welfare agencies must immediately report children in their care identified as sex trafficking victims to law enforcement.
Child welfare agencies must report missing youth to law enforcement, within 24 hours, for entry into the National Crime Information Center and to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Effective Within Three Years of Enactment:
State child welfare agencies must report the numb
Effective Within One Year of Enactment:
States must develop policies and procedures to identify, document, screen and determine appropriate services for children under the child welfare agency’s care and supervision, who are victims of, or at risk of, sex trafficking.
Child welfare agencies must develop and implement protocols to locate children who run away or are missing from foster care, determine the child’s experiences while absent from care, develop screening to determine if the child is a sex trafficking victim, and report information to HHS.
Due to the covert nature of trafficking crimes, the public is often unaware that they can occur close to home, and that businesses in their neighborhood may benefit from, or be used as conduits for, sex and labor trafficking. State actions to raise public awareness of trafficking, and mitigate its influence on commerce, include disseminating information on trafficking crimes, services and prevention efforts, and setting standards in certain industries for licensing, advertising, training and disclosure.
Laws Raise Trafficking Awareness by:
- Disseminating information about the national human trafficking hotline.
- Requiring state entities to engage in public awareness campaigns.
- Commemorating efforts to combat trafficking.
Laws Regulate Businesses by:
- Requiring disclosures of anti-trafficking efforts.
- Encouraging voluntary anti-trafficking commitments.
- Setting standards for licensing in some professions and for advertising certain services.
- Requiring anti-trafficking training
National Human Trafficking Hotline
Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have laws that promote access to information about human trafficking through the use of the National Human Trafficking Hotline. The hotline is a telephone and web service that members of the public can call to report suspected cases of trafficking, survivors can call for help, or interested persons can contact for trafficking information. Laws require or encourage the dissemination of information about the hotline, charge state entities with creating educational information for awareness about the hotline and mandate certain business and facilities post information related to the hotline.
State laws addressing the hotline information either require it be posted in certain locations or encourage its dissemination.
Statutorily enumerated locations signs are to be posted include:
- Agricultural labor contractors.
- Lodging facilities.
- Adult entertainment services.
- Airports, train stations and bus stations.
- Hospitals and urgent care centers.
- Rest areas and truck stops.
- Restaurants, bars, night clubs.
- Any location declared a nuisance.
- Major sporting events or conventions.
- Massage services.
Laws also require state entities to develop signs to promote information about the hotline. To the right is an example from Tennessee, where posting it is voluntary.
Source: Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development
In order to draw attention to human trafficking crimes and the efforts to combat them, states have charged a variety of entities within their borders with raising the public’s awareness. Generally these entities have many other duties including coordinating state resources to provide services to trafficking survivors and implementing training protocols on trafficking for state employees. In addition, states also commemorate efforts against trafficking by granting special recognition during specific days and months.
Entities Charged with Public Awareness:
- Mississippi charges its statewide human trafficking coordinator with creating a website to promote its own work.
- North Dakota charges the state’s human trafficking commission with promoting public awareness of human trafficking, victim services, and prevention efforts.
- South Carolina charges its interagency task force with developing a public awareness program that, in part, will educate potential victims of the risks of human trafficking.
- Hawaii designates January as “Human Trafficking Awareness Month” to promote public awareness of human trafficking as a significant societal and public health crisis.
- New Jersey designates Jan. 11 as “Human Trafficking Awareness Day,” with the purpose of raising awareness about the signs and consequences of human trafficking and to promote its opposition.
Texas lawmakers, in 2015, enacted the Human Trafficking Prevention Business Partnership, to be operated by the secretary of state. Companies that voluntarily join the partnership must adopt a zero tolerance policy on trafficking, ensure their employees comply with that policy, participate in public awareness campaigns, and develop best practices for combatting trafficking. Participating entities will receive a certificate of recognition from the secretary of state. The partnership began accepting members in 2016
In 2010, California lawmakers enacted the Transparency in Supply Chains Act to require retail and manufacturing businesses operating in California, who have over $100 million in annual worldwide gross receipts, to publically disclose their efforts to eradicate human trafficking from their supply chains. The goal of the law, as stated in the legislation, is to educate consumers so that they are not inadvertently supporting trafficking crimes, and can make market influencing purchase decisions with this information.
- The California Franchise Tax Board says nearly 3,200 businesses are subject to the law’s requirement.
- In 2015, California’s attorney general issued a resource guide to help companies by providing model disclosures and giving them guidance on enhancing their consumers’ understanding of its anti-trafficking and anti-slavery efforts.
- The law does not force companies to expand or adopt new policies to eradicate trafficking in their supply chains, only to disclose their efforts.
“Sweatfree” Procurement by State Agencies
California also requires their state agencies have sweatfree procurement policies. Specifically, the law mandates all contractors who contract with state agencies for the procurement, or laundering, of apparel to certify that no work was provided through the use of forced labor or exploitation. The law requires the Department of Industrial Relations to create a contractor responsibility program and code of conduct to be signed by all bidders on state contracts. The law does not apply to public works contracts.
Contractors are required, among other standards, to:
- Comply with laws concerning wages, overtime, workplace safety, non-discrimination standards and rights to association and assembly.
- Have a policy of only firing employees for just cause and provide employees access to a mediation process to resolve certain workplace disputes.
- Never use forced labor, child labor, or allow any youth under the age of 15 to be employed in the manufacturing process.
- Lying about any of these elements is a misdemeanor.
Sanctions for violations by a contractor can include:
- The contract being voided at the discretion of the state agency involved.
- A fine of the greater of $1,000 or 20 percent of the value of the goods.
- A contractor being removed from the bidders list for up to 360 days.
Licensing & Advertising
Certain industries have higher a reported number of incidents of human trafficking abuses than others. In order to aid in anti-trafficking efforts for those businesses, some states have instituted requirements to license professionals and set standards for the advertisement of their services.
- Florida requires anyone employed by a massage establishment to immediately present, upon request of a law enforcement officer, a valid government ID.
- Indiana requires adult entertainment business to be licensed and performers to provide proof of their age and legal United States residency by a government issued ID.
- Arizona requires advertisements for massage therapy businesses and escort services to include the license number for the individual and/or the business. The fine for violating the law is $500 for a first .
- Requires massage services to keep records of their employees for at least one year, proving the age of any therapist whose services are offered in any advertisement.
At least 38 states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws to require certain public agencies and/or private businesses to train their staff to appropriately recognize, report or respond to human trafficking crimes and victims. Common professions required to receive human trafficking training include police and other first responders, judicial officials, school employees, medical professionals and social services workers. In addition, at least six states have expanded those training requirements to the private sector.
||For public employees
||For public and private employees
Private Sector Training
- Connecticut requires the commissioner of children and families and the commissioner of emergency services and public protection, in consultation with lodging associations, to recommend training programs for the accurate and prompt reporting of suspected human trafficking. Prior to Oct. 1, 2017, the operator of each lodging service must certify that each employee has received training.
- Iowa’s law requires the crime victim assistance division of the department of justice to develop and conduct training programs for the general public and persons conducting business in industries that have a high statistical incidence of debt bondage or forced labor. The programs shall train participants to recognize and report incidents of human trafficking and to suppress the demand that fosters exploitation of persons and leads to human trafficking.
- New Jersey requires the department of community affairs to implement a training course, and provide training materials, on handling and responding to suspected cases of human trafficking for owners and staff of hotels and motels. Training must be completed within six months of hotel/motel ownership or employment.
Public Sector Training
- Nebraska’s Human Trafficking Task Force is required to develop training concerning human trafficking for prosecutors, public defenders, judges, juvenile detention center staff, and others involved in the juvenile justice and criminal justice system.
- In Tennessee, the Bureau of Investigation is charged with training law enforcement and other government officials who are directly involved with the investigation and intake of human trafficking complaints. Training, where appropriate, must include presentations by human trafficking experts with experience in the delivery of direct services to victims of human trafficking.