Montana Receives ‘A’ Grade for Child Sex-trafficking Prevention Efforts

A national non-profit has ranked Montana as one of the top three states in the country for its efforts to prevent child sex trafficking.

Shared Hope International recently released its annual state report cards, and upgraded Montana to an “A” over last year’s “D.” The organization cited Montana’s successful commitment to advancing legislation this spring to ensure that children are not for sale within its borders.

During this year’s legislative session, House Bill 89 was drafted by and introduced at the request of Attorney General Tim Fox, and was sponsored by Rep. Kim Dudik (D) of Missoula. Now law as of July 1, 2015, this important legislation updated Montana’s human trafficking laws to reflect the model state human trafficking act.

“The Montana Department of Justice is pleased and gratified that Shared Hope International has taken note of our ongoing legislative advocacy and outreach efforts over the last two years to fight modern-day slavery with a dual approach: To bring perpetrators to justice while taking a victim-centered approach to helping those whose lives have been destroyed by these heinous crimes. Montana’s laws now have the clear definitions and penalties we need to protect our children and help sex trafficking victims on the road to recovery,” Attorney General Fox said.

Montana’s new law has three primary components:

• Establishes comprehensive definitions and penalties for human trafficking crimes.
• Provides essential protections for human trafficking victims.
• Creates new opportunities for the Montana Department of Justice to raise awareness about human trafficking and educate the public and law enforcement on how to detect and prevent detect human trafficking.

Attorney General Fox thanked Soroptimists International of Helena and Whitefish, Watkins Shepard Trucking, the Montana Motor Carriers Association, and the Town Pump Foundation for their assistance in outreaching to the public on human trafficking awareness.

More information on human trafficking, as well as a printable awareness poster, is available on the Attorney General’s Office website at www.dojmt.gov/stopht. Montana joined Texas and Minnesota among the top three states for the strongest laws to combat child sex trafficking, according to Shared Hope International. These states join Louisiana, Tennessee and Washington, which were the first three states to earn an “A” on the annual Protected Innocence Challenge report card. To view state report cards, visit: http://sharedhope.org/what-we-do/bring-justice/reportcards/

To report suspected human trafficking cases, or to request help, call 1-888-3737-888 or text BeFree (233733).