For Immediate Release - October 19, 2010

Attorney General Martha Coakley Holds Hearing on Online Sexual Exploitation

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley convened a hearing to take testimony and evidence to address the public safety concerns surrounding the role of websites in facilitating human trafficking and the illegal sex trade.

"We held these hearings as part of a comprehensive review to address human trafficking and the public safety aspects around the impact of illegal sex trade that originates online," said Attorney General Coakley. "The testimony we heard today from survivors, DA Conley, advocacy groups, technology companies and social scientists is vital in identifying the problem and we look forward to working with all of these groups to identify potential solutions."

Thirteen witnesses presented at the hearing and offered evidence on the complex nature of the crime of online sexual exploitation and how young people are lured and manipulated into a dangerous and illegal business. Survivors of human trafficking, Internet researchers, social scientists, technology company representatives and law enforcement all spoke to the need to work together to combat this public safety issue.

Attorney General Coakley first called for the hearing this summer after demanding that Internet bulletin board Craigslist remove its Adult Services Section, which specifically hosted these ads. Although Craigslist took down their Adult Services section, other websites continue to advertise paid sexual services. Violence, the sexual exploitation of men, women and children, and other public safety concerns surrounding the use of web-based advertising to facilitate the illegal sex trade industry still must be addressed.

Testimony was given by Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, survivors of human trafficking, Internet researchers, technology company representatives and law enforcement. Below is a complete list of speakers that gave testimony today;

Dan Conley
Suffolk County District Attorney

Lisa Goldblatt Grace
Executive Director: My Life My Choice Project, Family Justice Center

Ann Wilkinson
Survivor/Mentor and Group Facilitator: My Life My Choice Project, Family Justice Center

Tanee Hobson
Survivor/Advocate: My Life My Choice Project, Family Justice Center

Danah Boyd, PhD
Senior Researcher at Microsoft Research and a Research Associate at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society

Cherie Jimenez
Survivor/Founder and Director, Kim's Project

Nikki Vilila
Program Director: Act Group Home, Germaine Lawrence

Susan Goldfarb, LICSW
Executive Director: Children's Advocacy Center of Suffolk County Office of District Attorney Dan Conley

Sgt. Det. Donna Gavin
Boston Police Department Human Trafficking Unit, Family Justice Center

Pi Heseltine
Sergeant with the Massachusetts State Police Service Section under the Division of Investigative Services

Thomas Dailey
VP and Deputy General Counsel- Global Internet Strategy: Verizon

Karen McLaughlin
Consultant on Human Trafficking Initiatives, Hunt Alternatives Fund

Carolyn Atwell-Davis
Director of Legislative Affairs: National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Braden Cox
Policy Counsel: NetChoice

In addition to testimony submitted today at the hearing, written comments may be submitted to the Attorney General's Office at agohearings@state.ma.us and will be accepted through Friday, October 22, 2010 at 4:00pm.

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