When it comes to preventing and prosecuting the sex trafficking of minors, South Dakota is one of the worst states in America, according to a new report.

USA TODAY has published the most recent report cards on the issue from Shared Hope International, a non-profit sex trafficking prevention group, and South Dakota is one of only two states (Maine is the other) to receive a 'D' grade, the lowest marks in the country.

The Mount Rushmore State scored 68.5 out of a possible 100 on the report, which ranks each state in six different areas.

The state was the most deficient in two categories - Criminal Provisions for Demand (17.5 points out of 25) and Protective Provisions for the Child Victims (10.5 points out of 27.5).

Shared Hope says it scored the state so low in each because South Dakota has no laws that apply specifically to buyers and that sexually exploited youth in the state still face a juvenile justice response as status offenders for engaging in commercial sex.

Overall, the national average grade was a 'B'. 15 states received an 'A' grade.

Tennessee scored the highest, followed by Montana and Nevada, which has improved the most from when the grades began. Tennessee went from an F to an A between 2011 to 2019, jumping 11.5 points just in the last year.


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