Shared Hope International, a nonprofit organization that fights to end sex trafficking, gave Oregon a "B" rating this year, up from a "D" rating in 2012.
The report card cites Senate Bill 673, which the Legislature passed in the 2013 regular session, as a major improvement in Oregon law. Child advocates hope making it a felony to pay for sex with a minor on the first conviction will hold people accountable and deter demand.
"I'm pleased to see that we are being recognized for our work here in Oregon. Both legislators and the public are becoming aware of the horrors of sex trafficking in our state, and we can't just stand by and let this happen," said Rep. Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukie).
Tomei is continuing her efforts on this issue by working with community partners to create a shelter to provide treatment for underage victims of sex trafficking.
During the special session, House Bill 5101 allocated $2.3 million to the Addictions and Mental Health Division for a youth sex-trafficking program. Tomei hopes additional matching federal dollars could be available to help fund the program.
This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.