It was great to hear that Mississippi recently received an “A” grade for its child sex trafficking laws.

The high marks came Shared Hope International, a nonprofit organization that has been grading states’ child sex trafficking laws since 2011.

Mississippi’s grade this year was improved over last year when it got a “B.”

According to Shared Hope International, sex trafficking occurs when “someone uses force, fraud or coercion to cause a commercial sex act with an adult or causes a minor to commit a commercial sex act.”

A commercial sex act can include “prostitution, pornography and sexual performance done in exchange for any item of value, such as money, drugs, shelter, food, or clothes,” according to the organization.

Sex trafficking “thrives” because there is a “serious demand” for it, Shared Hope International says.

The organization describes the sex trafficking process as follows: Buyers fuel the market with money; a trafficker/pimp exploits victims to make money; and girls and boys are bought and sold for profit. Victims are found through social networks, home neighborhoods, clubs/bars, the Internet and school. They are lured with promises of protection, love, adventure, home and opportunity.

Traffickers use fear, violence, intimidation and threats to ensure that victims comply, Shared Hope International says. According to the organization, the common age for a child to enter sex trafficking is 14-16 years old when they are too naïve to realize what’s happening.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says sex trafficking is a “form of modern-day slavery.”

According to the CDC, sex trafficking is defined as “the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act.” 

People who are poor, vulnerable, living in an unsafe situation or searching for a better life are often the targets of human trafficking, the CDC says.

According to the CDC:

  • Many victims are women and girls, though men and boys are also impacted;
  • Victims include all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities, citizens, non-citizens, and income levels;
  • Victims are trapped and controlled through assault, threats, false promises, perceived sense of protection, isolation, shaming, and debt; and
  • Victims do not have to be physically transported between locations to be victimized.

Given how awful sex trafficking is, we are glad that Mississippi has received an “A” for its child sex trafficking laws.

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