For Immediate Release - November 15, 2011

AG Coakley Commends Passage of Human Trafficking Legislation

BOSTON - Today, the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Massachusetts Senate passed a bill that creates the crime of human trafficking in the Commonwealth.  On January 20, 2011, AG Coakley, lead sponsors Senator Mark Montigny and House Judiciary Chairman Eugene O’Flaherty, and a coalition of law enforcement and victim advocates, filed comprehensive human trafficking legislation.

Human trafficking is one of the most egregious human rights violations that we see in our world today.  It is a heinous crime of exploitation that involves forcing people to work for others for profit, whether through labor or sexual exploitation.  Experts estimate that, worldwide, 27 million people are trafficked annually, bringing in $32 billion and making it the second-largest and fastest-growing black market in the world.

The average age of girls forced into the sex trade is between 11 and 13 years old.  They are lured into “the life” then forced to stay there by their pimps, many of whom employ extreme violence and threats.

The growth of the Internet has only made this kind of exploitation more extensive by putting it out of sight.  Pimps can easily recruit child victims online, and then use websites to sell them to johns.

Massachusetts is one of three remaining states in the country that does not have a human trafficking law.  The bill now goes to the desk of Governor Deval Patrick.

The following is a statement of Attorney General Martha Coakley:

“Today the Legislature has taken a major step toward ending the exploitation of children and other victims in our Commonwealth.  The passage of this bill recognizes that these crimes aren’t only occurring in other countries and other states, but right in our own communities.  I look forward to Governor Patrick signing this bill into law to give us the tools to combat these egregious crimes and offer critical services to victims. 

“I want to particularly thank the leadership of Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo, as well as Senator Mark Montigny and House Judiciary Chairman Eugene O’Flaherty for sponsoring this important legislation.  I also want to commend Suffolk District Attorney Dan Conley for his efforts in passing the ‘safe harbor’ component of this legislation.  I want to recognize and thank the many victim advocates who work every day to support victims of these crimes and for their unwavering commitment to passing this legislation.  Finally, I want to thank the many survivors of human trafficking who shared their personal stories to help other victims—their voices helped make the passage of this bill a reality.”