It may be hard out here for a pimp, but nowhere is it harder in a legal sense than in Washington State. Washington did a great thing by passing some common senselegislation this February to solidify its standing as the worst spot in the country for human traffickers. The two new laws make it illegal to coerce someone into involuntary servitude by threatening them on the basis of their immigration status. This sort of coercion can include withholding or threatening to destroy immigration paperwork, as well as threatening to tell law enforcement about a person’s undocumented status.
It’s a serious human rights issue, and we should all push our state legislatures to crack down on it.
Polaris Project, one of the world’s most prominent organizations in the fight against human trafficking, conducts an annual study to assess states on their human trafficking legislation. The study groups states into four tiers based on criteria that includes sex trafficking provisions, labor trafficking provisions, support for victims and laws protecting trafficked minors from prosecution when they’ve been forced or manipulated into illegal activities like prostitution.
Much work remains to be done. Aside from picking up straggling South Dakota — the only state still in Tier 4 according to the Polaris Project study — it is important to keep pushing all states (Tier 1 states included) to improve their laws and to implement them in such a way that they truly improve the lives of victims and survivors of human trafficking.
Visit Polaris Project’s study for more detail on how your state is doing on human trafficking legislation. Then follow this link for a list of anti-human trafficking advocacy groups and service providers in your state. Give them a call to see what the needs are for survivors in your state, and what changes you can push for to help make a difference on the policy level.
Learn more at Tabitha Peyton Wood’s PolicyMic article: Has Your State Joined the Fight Against Human Trafficking? Check This Map.