Research Spotlight

Protected Innocence Challenge: Combating Child Sex Trafficking

Since 2011, Shared Hope International, an NGO dedicated to eradicating child sex trafficking, has released an annual report card assessing steps taken by each state to combat this issue. In the seven years since this programs inception there have been improvements across the board in terms of legislation to both protect child victims and prosecute perpetrators of sex trafficking of minors. This year Florida has received an A, with perfect scores in four of the six categories. According to Shared Hope International there is still room for improvement in terms of criminal provisions addressing demand and criminal provisions for facilitators. Despite Florida’s success in enacting laws protecting victims, there are still 31 states in which child victims can still be prosecuted for sex crimes.
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Expert Spotlight

Giving Every Child a Monthly Check for an Even Start

Inefficient spending has left the United States with one of the highest
rates of child poverty among advanced, industrial nations. Lagging behind not only Norway and the Netherlands, but even Russia, the United States tolerated more child poverty than 30 of the 35 countries that make up the Organization for Cooperation and Economic Development. The New York Times suggests policy changes, such as forgoing tax credits/exemptions for universal cash assistance, that are on par with policies of other advanced, industrialized nations. These policies have the potential to both lift families out of poverty and considerably increase well being of children in the United States.
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  Top News

3 TVs and No Food: Growing Up Poor in America

New York Time’s journalist Nicholas Kristoff does a great job illustrating our nation’s unsettling inequalities when it comes to income, wealth, education, and ultimately, opportunity. Robert Putnam, who the New York Time’s refers to as a “laureate poet of civil society”, wrote his critically acclaimed book “Our Kids,” about these same inequalities (the book itself poised as an instant-classic and was well regarded by liberals and conservatives alike) . What is most striking, and highlighted by both Kristoff and Putnam, is that as a nation we’re not facing just an income or opportunity gap, but a widening gap. Kristoff laments “what many Americans don’t understand about poverty is that it’s perhaps less about a lack of money than not seeing any path out.” Today, in the United States, the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer. Today, in the United States, the cycle of poverty is being perpetuated and worsening and there’s little to nothing being done to stop it. Read More

Adults, Agencies Failed Alyssa Beck

Growing up in Jacksonville, Alyssa Beck was a victim of human trafficking. Now 21, she courageously speaks about her victimization and how much of what she experienced could have been prevented had the government seen her as a victim, instead of as a criminal. With the Florida’s Safe Harbor Law now in place and VFF’s own Open Doors Network starting next year, the chances of another Alyssa Beck are shrinking as victims are being connected with the services they truly need and are being seen as the victims they really are. Read More

Just 21, Human-Trafficking Survivor Alyssa Beck has Lived a Life Most Cannot Imagine

Before she was 15, Alyssa Beck was a victim of human trafficking, and before she was 21, she had spent nearly three years in jail. In this article, Alyssa’s history with trafficking, the Juvenile Justice system and treatment is examined in-depth, as is her recovery and growth into the strong advocate for victims of human trafficking she is today. Read More

   US Concentrated Poverty in the Wake of the Great Recession

Smiley face In spite of the declining unemployment rate, the amount of people living under the federal poverty line in the United States continues to remain stuck at recession-era record levels even though the recession ended in 2009. Read the Report

   See the Change: Girls’ Juvenile Justice Trends on the First Coast

A new report demonstrates progress for girls in the 4th Judicial Circuit, which used to be considered the harshest district in Florida. Read the Report

   Breaking New Ground on the First Coast: Examining Girls’ Pathways into the Juvenile Justice System

Learn research-based findings of what girls in Florida’s Juvenile Justice system say about their pathways in the system. Read the Report

   Philanthropy + Venture Capital = A Much Needed Investment Model

In his article, “Saving the World, Start-up Style,” Adam Davidson, co-founder of NPR’s “Planet Money,” proposes that a combination of philanthropy and the venture-capital philosophy of embracing risk, could have significant impact on the poor. This new method of investing could be a welcomed relief for the more than 950,000 or 24% of Florida children living in poverty. Read More

   How America is Failing its Youth

A new report by Opportunity Nation, Zeroing In on Place and Race, states that the economic toll of disconnected youth reveals an astonishingly high cost to America’s taxpayers of $26.8 billion in 2013 alone. Approximately one fifth of youth in Florida are neither working nor in school. Read More

   Poll Shows American Women Leaving the Workforce

As recently as 1990, the United States had one of the top employment rates in the world for women, but it has now fallen behind many European countries, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News/Kaiser Family Foundation poll. After climbing for six decades, the percentage of women in the American workforce peaked in 1999, at 74 percent for women between 25 and 54. It has fallen since, to 69 percent today. The percentage of working women in many other countries, however, has continued to climb. Among the countries outranking the United States in prime-age women’s labor force are Switzerland, Australia, Germany France, Britain, Canada, Poland, Portugal, Japan — just to name a few. Read More


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