Shared Hope International announced today that Tennessee has received the highest score in the US as part of the 2017 Protected Innocence Challenge report card with a score of 96.5 out of 102.5. According to Shared Hope International, Tennessee has demonstrated a 7-year trend of gradually strengthening the state’s child sex trafficking laws.
“It is because of the hard work of many local agencies and individuals that Tennessee is the highest scoring state,” said Jerry Redman, chief executive officer for Second Life Chattanooga. “The Second Life team has been part of a statewide joint effort for many years. Tennessee receiving the top score this year shows that our collaborative strategy and impact approach is yielding results.”
The Protected Innocence Challenge report card is the only comprehensive study in the nation of existing state laws on child sex trafficking. Through the Protected Innocence Challenge, each state receives a report card and analysis that covers 41 legislative components that address a state’s laws and the state’s ability to respond to child sex trafficking. States are encouraged to implement analysis recommendations from Shared Hope International in order to better address sex trafficking in their area.
Tennessee’s 2017 report card details the penalties the state executes for sex trafficking, the improvements in protective services for survivors, the tools law enforcement agencies are equipped with to effectively investigate the issue and recommendations to further improve existing programs.
“The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has been an incredible partner of ours,” said Redman. “They serve on the frontlines of this issue and bring offenders to justice. We are also grateful to Governor Bill Haslam and our state legislators who have ensured that we have laws in place to serve the survivors and punish those engaging in human sex trafficking.”
Second Life is one of Tennessee’s four single-point-of-contact non-governmental agencies that comprise the Tennessee Anti-Slavery Alliance (TASA). TASA agencies include Second Life, End Slavery TN, Grow Free TN and Restore Corps. The Alliance seeks to ensure that quality survivor services are available for those affected by human sex trafficking.
“This is a huge step forward, and we celebrate this achievement; however, this score also serves as a reminder that we must continue advocating for those affected by this crime,” said Redman. “It is our duty to improve our work and to educate the community about trafficking so we can see human sex trafficking eradicated in Tennessee.”
To view Tennessee’s full report card, visit Shared Hope International Tennessee Report Card 2017.