According to the Protected Innocence Initiative, Oregon has received a "D" grade in our ability to protect children from being the victims of domestic minor sex trafficking. The grade comments primarily on laws that treat victims as criminals, the failure of state laws to adequately define a minor prostitute as someone who has been "trafficked," and the failure of "rape shield" laws to include trafficked minors.
"Oregon's laws show serious omissions in protective provisions for child victims, and the state lacks strong laws to prosecute the men who rent the bodies of other men's children. There is no distinction in Oregon's trafficking act between the trafficking of a minor or an adult," said Linda Smith, Founder and President of Shared Hope International.
Washington State was given a grade of "C" in their efforts to rescue minors and punish johns and pimps, according to the Protected Innocence Initiative.
In Oregon, there have been numerous cases of adults being charged with federal crimes related to the trafficking of minors, which does carry special penalties for underage victims.
The initiative particularly criticized the state's criminalization of minors who prostitute themselves or are prostituted. While certain jurisdictions, such as Multnomah County, do not bring criminal charges on these girls, state law treats prostitutes of all ages, and johns, with the same crime.
The Oregonian released an exhaustive report into the rhetoric surrounding human trafficking in Portland on Friday, Jan. 15. Despite many anti-human trafficking organizations labeling Portland as a "hub" of minor sex trafficking, there is no reliable data to back up that assertion. According to the FBI, Portland is no different from any other city its size.
The Skanner News has been reporting for months about the unreliable data that these organizations use to obtain federal grants and other funds. Many public officials, journalists and organizations have used the dubious assertion that Portland is the "number 2" city in the nation for child sex trafficking – a number that is entirely fictional. Dan Rather's "Pornland" featured that bogus figure and others to paint Portland – wrongly – as a child sex epicenter. The documentary will be showing at this weekend's Northwest Conference Against Trafficking, put on by Soroptimist International.
The bogus status of "number 2" was garnered from a one-night FBI sting in 2009 when four girls were rescued from prostitution. That raid also netted the arrests of 29 adult prostitutes.
This year, a similar raid found no underage girls in Portland. The Portland Police Bureau also do not keep statistics regarding rescued minors. They also do not differentiate in their data between the men and women who are arrested for either selling or buying sex.
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