Inevitably when I tell people that I have worked in counter-human trafficking, I get sighs. “That must be so hard to see,” they say. “Where have your worked?” they ask. “Moldova”, I answer. “Where is that?” they reply. “Cambodia,” I answer. “How exotic!” they reply. “Chile,” I tell them. “Do you speak Spanish?” they reply. “St. Louis,” I continue. They don’t reply. They look at me as if I have just spoken in Khmer. They cock their heads to the side and wonder what I could possibly mean. Finally, the respond: “You mean in the US?”
Yes, human trafficking is not just a problem seen on HBO specials and Law and Order episodes. It does not just happen overseas and some of the victims are white. In fact, some of the victims are American citizens. In the case of those I worked with, the victims were men (yes, men) from Latin America who had been illegally trafficked to the US and ended up receiving victim services in St. Louis.
The Polaris Project recently put out a report that rates states and tracks the presence or absence of 10 categories of state statutes that Polaris Project believes are critical to a comprehensive anti-trafficking legal framework. Below is the map that will show you where your state (assuming you are from the US) falls in the ranking. If you want more information, please check out the full Polaris Project Report.