Vancouver, Washington (KMOX) Experts say it’s often a hidden crime: children shuttled from city to city, hotel to hotel, forced to perform sex acts for money.

One group says dozens of states are turning a blind eye to sex trafficking.

“People don’t want to believe that this is happening,” Samantha Vardaman, Senior Director for Shared Hope International said.

Vardaman says it’s often hard to convince people stronger laws are needed to fight sex trafficking.

“People do not want to believe that there are men in their town, in their state, on their street, in their home, who might be buying sex with a child.”

Shared Hope has graded states on their laws to crack down on traffickers and buyers, and provide services to victims. More than a dozen states, including California and New Mexico, flunked. How did Missouri and Illinois do? Both scored a “B” and Varadaman credits laws allowing first responders to quickly identify victims and get them help.


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