LB - Yavapai College 0523 Industrial Machine 728x90

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : state May 24, 2016


11/16/2013 9:24:00 AM
Arizona gets middling grade for protections against sex trafficking
Advocates tried to raise awareness of sex trafficking of minors by putting a teen girl inside a life-sized doll box labeled “for sale” on a street in downtown Washington. (Cronkite News Service photo by Pei Li)
Advocates tried to raise awareness of sex trafficking of minors by putting a teen girl inside a life-sized doll box labeled “for sale” on a street in downtown Washington. (Cronkite News Service photo by Pei Li)
Phoenix Police Lt. Jim Gallagher was in Washington for the release of the report card that gave Arizona a grade of C for its laws to prevent sex-trafficking of minors. Gallagher said demand for the sex trade in the Valley is far greater than expected and that tougher laws are needed. (Cronkite News Service photo by Pei Li)
Phoenix Police Lt. Jim Gallagher was in Washington for the release of the report card that gave Arizona a grade of C for its laws to prevent sex-trafficking of minors. Gallagher said demand for the sex trade in the Valley is far greater than expected and that tougher laws are needed. (Cronkite News Service photo by Pei Li)
How Arizona ranked
The Protected Innocence Challenge ranks states in six categories for laws and policies aimed at preventing sex-trafficking of minors, then gives each state a grade. Arizona got a C on the 2013 report card, on the following scores:

- Overall Score: 77.5 points out of a possible total of 102.5

- Criminalization of domestic minor sex trafficking: 7.5/10

- Criminal provisions addressing demand: 20.5/25

- Criminal provisions for traffickers: 14.5/15

- Criminal provisions for facilitators: 7.5/10

- Protected provisions for child victims: 15/27.5

- Criminal justice investigation and prosecution tools: 12.5/15


BY PEI LI
Cronkite News Service

WASHINGTON - Arizona got a C on a national report card that examines states' protections against sex trafficking of minors, the third straight year the state has received a middling grade on the report.

While Arizona is standing still, however, other states have been making "incredible strides forward," said a spokeswoman for Shared Hope International, which released the report card Thursday.

"Arizona now is becoming one of the lower-ranking states, because other states are advancing while it is not," said Taryn Offenbacher, the spokeswoman.

Where 26 states got an F two years ago, today only six states got the lowest grade. Arizona was one of 17 states with a C this year, the first year the report has awarded an A - which went to Tennessee, Washington and Louisiana.

The Protected Innocence Challenge grades states on 41 key legislative components that it says should be addressed in a state's laws to deal with domestic sex trafficking of minors.

Arizona's worst grade in those categories - an F - came for its laws aimed at protecting child victims of sex trafficking.

But officials said the biggest problem with Arizona law is the so-called "age loophole" that sets harsher penalties for those who have sex with younger prostitutes.

Under state law, a client - or "john" - who solicits sex with someone who is 14 or younger could get up to 27 years behind bars. The penalty drops to a maximum of 21 years in prison if the victim was 15, 16 or 17 years old - but that only applies if prosecutors can prove the john knew the child's age.

Without proof of that knowledge, the minimum sentence can fall to as little as 180 days for soliciting a prostitute who is 15 or older, prosecutors have said.

"There are some gaps in our law that we would like to improve in terms of holding johns a little bit more accountable, particularly with regard to underage victims," said Phoenix Police Lt. James Gallagher, who was in Washington for the release of the report Thursday.

Bills to fix the age loophole have failed in the last three legislative sessions in the state, Offenbacher said.

"It's an ongoing process," Gallagher said of efforts to change the law. He said backers of a change will continue to work toward enhancing the laws "to provide better service to victims in Arizona."

Gallagher said the age loophole hurts police efforts to hold johns more accountable.

"It's our position that we can't quantify somebody's victimization based upon chronological age," Gallagher said. "If you are a minor, you are a minor."

Advocates said cracking down on johns would lower demand, and that "demand drives victimization."

Gallagher said a research project by police and Arizona State University's Office of Sex Trafficking Intervention Research found demand for the sex trade "far greater than we ever expected" in the Phoenix area.

After police posted ads offering sex services, he said, they receive more than 1,000 graphic phone calls and text messages over two-week period seeking sex. Their research estimated that as many as 78,000 men may be looking to solicit sex in the region.

Getting a C again means "there has been a minimum legislative progress this year on the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking" in Arizona, Offenbacher said. Fixing the age loophole would so a lot to improve the grade, and the situation, in Arizona, she said.

"We would say, tighten that law, because that's really the root of the issue," she said.

ICT - Lamb Auto 0501 Nissan 180x150

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Police soon will have one more reason to pull you over (4332 views)

•   'A Great Celebration' -- Mingus seniors prepare for graduation, commemorate scholarships and awards (3523 views)

•   Dowling steps down; Cottonwood election promises new interest (2911 views)

•   New trial sought for Jack Rider (2695 views)

•   What's hot in Verde Valley job market? (2684 views)



Reader Comments

Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Article comment by: Redd Lite

The 'oldest profession' is legislated into a serious crime and health issue. Would it not be better to license, regulate, tax, and monitor it?

Human traffickers, pimps of children, and other scumbags would be easier to find and prosecute.


Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2013
Article comment by: Does this surprise Anyone?

Woman and children are not valued in AZ but guns are....



Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
HSE - Father Son Look a Like Contest
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Yavapai College 0523 Industrial Machine 728x90

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, verdenews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved