Jan. 21, 2011
BOSTON — Attorney General Martha Coakley is calling for passage of legislation that would outlaw human trafficking for sex and other forced labor in Massachusetts, targeting both domestic pimps and international traffickers operating in the commonwealth.
The legislation would make trafficking of humans for sexual servitude a crime, carrying a penalty of no more than 20 years in prison. Both traffickers who profit from forced labor and pimps who prey on the young are targeted by the bill.
The legislation, which has broad support from law enforcement and anti-trafficking advocates across the state, would also provide education, shelter and other resources to victims.
"This statute gives us enforcement tools to look at providing the appropriate programs for young people particularly pulled into the life, and will help us educate the public on what we need to do to make sure that we stop human trafficking," Coakley said.
The bill represents an expansion of human trafficking legislation that has been lingering for five years in the Massachusetts House. The Senate version passed unanimously last year.
Anti-trafficking advocates have long complained about the state’s failure to create effective statutory tools against trafficking. Massachusetts is only one of five states that does not have a comprehensive human trafficking law.
A human trafficking task member told WGBH that Thursday’s announcement represents a major step in the right direction .
WGBH SPECIAL REPORT: HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN BOSTON