Petition Closed

At least 100,000 children are used in prostitution every year in the United States and the average age of entry into prostitution is 13 years old.  

Oregon’s leaders have taken some important steps to address the problem of commercial sexual exploitation of children in our state, but too many children are still falling victim. Oregon's children are at great risk.  

There is more we can do to protect Oregon's children. The recent release of the Protected Innocence Report Card by Shared Hope exposed some critical legislative gaps in Oregon law -- gaps that leave children vulnerable to traffickers and fail to provide the cornerstone of strong law to victim advocates, prosecutors and law enforcement so they can ensure protection for the victims and punishment for the criminals who exploit them.  

The Report Card outlines several legislative gaps, the top four changes needed are:

-- Amend the state human trafficking law to align with the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act by eliminating the requirement of force in cases of child sex trafficking.

-- Amend the sex offender registry law to require convicted traffickers and buyers of children to register as sex offenders.

-- Make buying or attempting to buy sex with a minor a separate crime from solicitation of an adult for prostitution and reference the trafficking in persons statute as the applicable crime and penalty.  Currently, the law on solicitation of prostitution does not differentiate adults from a minor and is a misdemeanor – regardless of age.

-- Amend “rape shield” law to include the victim-witnesses of compelled prostitution or sex trafficking so they are not left unprotected from a re-traumatizing examination when they testify.  As in other sexual offense cases, evidence of a victim's past sexual behavior should not be admissible.

Our state could be a "zero tolerance state" when it comes to child sex trafficking -- but only if our leaders make these critical legislative changes a priority. Write Oregon leaders right now and urge them to do all they can to prevent child sex trafficking and help child victims escape and heal.

Letter to
Mayor of Portland Sam Adams
Oregon Attorney General John Kroger
Oregon State House
and 1 other
Oregon State Senate
I commend you on the efforts you have undertaken to address the problem of commercial sexual exploitation of children in our state. The recent release of Shared Hope’s Protective Innocence Report Card has landed us with a “D” on our state’s legislative framework to protect children. I’m not happy with a “D” and I know you’re not either! There is no greater priority than the protection of our children against this insidious crime – I urge you to use the Report Card as a road map for creating safe environments for children in Oregon state.

Shared Hope's report card on Oregon's efforts exposed legislative gaps that still exist -- and you have the power to strengthen laws to fix those gaps. If left as-is, current law leaves children vulnerable to traffickers and fails to provide the cornerstone of strong law to victim advocates, prosecutors and law enforcement so they can ensure protection for the victims and punishment for the criminals who exploit them.

While Oregon leaders like you have taken some positive steps, the Report Card shows clearly that we can do more to protect children from commercial sexual abuse and exploitation that continues to occur through prostitution, pornography and sexual entertainment, like stripping.

Specifically, I urge you to address these legislative weak points outlined in Shared Hope's Report Card:

-- Amend the state human trafficking law to align with the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act by eliminating the requirement of force, fraud or coercion in cases of child sex trafficking.

-- Amend the sex offender registry law to require convicted traffickers and buyers of children to register as sex offenders.

-- Make buying or attempting to buy sex with a minor a separate crime from solicitation of an adult for prostitution and reference the trafficking in persons statute as the applicable crime and penalty. Currently, the law on solicitation of prostitution does not differentiate adults from a minor and is a misdemeanor – regardless of age.

-- Amend “rape shield” law to include the victim-witnesses of compelled prostitution or sex trafficking so they are not left unprotected from a re-traumatizing examination when they testify. As in other sexual offense cases, evidence of a victim's past sexual behavior should not be admissible.

With your leadership, these changes will help keep children from becoming victims, and help child victims get the support they need to overcome the trauma they've experienced.

Thank you for all that you have done -- and will continue to do -- to keep child sex trafficking out of the state of Oregon. On behalf of the child victims and the thousands more whose stories we will never hear, we urge you to keep doing all that you can to keep our children safe so that they can live, grow, and follow their dreams.