An international organization announced Tuesday that Washington state received an A grade for its laws combating child sex crimes and human trafficking.
Shared Hope International, a Vancouver, Wash.-based organization dedicated to stopping sex trafficking worldwide, gave Washington the rating after the Legislature unanimously passed more aggressive human trafficking laws this year. The ranking is an improvement from last year’s B grade.
Representatives from Shared Hope and the new laws’ author, Sen. Mike Padden, R-Spokane Valley, presented their findings at Gonzaga University on Tuesday.
The law doesn’t require proof of use of force, fraud or coercion for minor victims, allowing the state to press charges against traffickers even when the victim claims consent. The law also adds trafficking and commercial sex abuse of a child to the offenses requiring sex-offender registration and increases the sentencing limits for those crimes.
“Today it is very gratifying to be able to celebrate this ranking,” Padden said. “Certainly not just for me but for the entire Legislature.”
Louisiana and Tennessee also received A’s. Idaho received a D grade for its trafficking laws.