A national non-profit has ranked Montana as one of the top three states in the country for its efforts to prevent child sex trafficking.

Shared Hope International recently released its annual state report cards, and upgraded Montana to an “A” over last year’s “D.”  The organization cited Montana’s successful commitment to advancing legislation this spring to ensure that children are not for sale within its borders.

Christine Raino with Share Hope International said her organization grades all 50 states every year.

"That report card lists six different areas of law, including criminalization, protection for victims, and the tools that officers and law enforcement need to prevent and stop sex trafficking," Raino said. "One of the biggest areas Montana scored well on was protection of child victims. They took very progressive steps in eliminating criminal liability for minors' prostitution offenses."

“The Montana Department of Justice is pleased and gratified that Shared Hope International has taken note of our ongoing legislative advocacy and outreach efforts over the last two years to fight modern-day slavery with a dual approach:  To bring perpetrators to justice while taking a victim-centered approach to helping those whose lives have been destroyed by these heinous crimes.  Montana’s laws now have the clear definitions and penalties we need to protect our children and help sex trafficking victims on the road to recovery,” Attorney General Tim Fox said.

Fox thanked Soroptimists International of Helena and Whitefish, Watkins Shepard Trucking, the Montana Motor Carriers Association, and the Town Pump Foundation for their assistance in outreaching to the public on human trafficking awareness.