Nebraska’s Effort Against Human Trafficking Earns ‘A’

By 
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

Nebraska’s coordinated efforts to combat human trafficking over the past eight years has raised a score of the state’s performance from an ‘F’ to an ‘A’ grade.

Shared Hope International released its annual scorecard last week where it grades laws against the sex trafficking of children. Nebraska is one of only six states to have improved from failing marks to an ‘A’ score since 2011.

“This is the result of teamwork,” Nebraska Attorney General Don Peterson said in a news release. “I am proud of our state and am grateful for the tools we now have to confront human trafficking in Nebraska.”  

Peterson praised the Nebraska Legislature for improving laws to deter traffickers and protect victims. He also praised the Nebraska Human Trafficking Task Force partners that have worked to address trafficking across the state.

Shared Hope is a nonprofit that scores state laws on several factors, including criminal provisions for traffickers and protective provisions for child victims.

Nebraska’s improved scores can be attributed to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ adoption of a protocol regarding juvenile sex trafficking victims and changes in state law authorizing wiretaps for human trafficking investigations.

Eight other states and the District of Columbia improved their grades in 2019. Tennessee had the highest score, at 98 out of 100, followed closely by Montana, Nevada, Georgia and Louisiana. Nebraska’s overall score is 91.

Only two states – Maine and South Dakota – remain as ‘D’ states, and no state are failing.

“Analyzing state laws for nearly a decade enables us to understand where progress is concentrated and where gaps remain,” said Linda Smith, founder and president of Shared Hope. “The 2019 analysis shows that states are still struggling to provide adequate protections to sex trafficking victims, essentially leaving the women and children behind.”

The state report cards, as well as policy recommendations, can be found at sharedhope.org.

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