LITTLE ROCK — A group that advocates for tougher laws against human trafficking says Arkansas is the most improved state in addressing the crime.
In a report released Wednesday, Washington-based Polaris Project praised Arkansas for passing legislation this year to allow forfeiture of traffickers’ assets, provide law enforcement training on human trafficking, mandate posting of the National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline number and provide victim services, among other things.
The group graded states on their anti-trafficking laws and gave Arkansas a score of 10.5 points, with 12 being the highest possible score. Washington state and New Jersey each received 12 points and Mississippi received 11.
Arkansas’ score was up 8.5 points from its 2012 rating, a bigger increase than any other state received.
Arkansas was one of 39 states that passed anti-trafficking laws this year, the group said.
"Over the past year, the momentum among advocates, legislators, and state officials to pass robust laws combating human trafficking has been inspiring," Polaris Project CEO Bradley Myles said in a news release. "We’ve witnessed a historic turning point now that all 50 states have passed laws criminalizing human trafficking.
"However, criminals are trafficking women, men and children from coast to coast at horrendous rates. In every state, we need to give prosecutors and law enforcement the right tools to stop traffickers, and state agencies must have the ability to protect survivors and help them reclaim their freedom," he said.