For Immediate Release - June 23, 2011

AG COAKLEY AND COALITION OF ATTORNEYS GENERAL JOIN FORCES TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING

CHICAGO - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley joined Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna and a coalition of other Attorneys General as he announced his 2011-2012 presidential initiative to combat human trafficking nationwide. The announcement was made following AG McKenna's installation as president of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) in Chicago. AG Coakley, appointed to the Leadership Council of the NAAG Presidential Initiative on Human Trafficking, discussed this initiative during a panel discussion titled "Pillars of Hope: Attorneys General Unite Against Human Trafficking."

"I am honored to be a part of this effort to combat human trafficking at a national level and look forward to working with the other Attorneys General to fight what is considered the single fastest growing illegal industry in the world," said AG Coakley. "As our office continues to advocate for legislation to make human trafficking a crime in Massachusetts, we recognize the importance of collaboration between law enforcement and advocates nationwide to fight an egregious crime that crosses state lines and affects communities across the country."

AG Coakley highlighted the importance of passing comprehensive human trafficking legislation in Massachusetts, now one of only three states in the country without human trafficking laws. She discussed the implementation of model statutes that address the supply and demand sides of human trafficking, while creating strong support services for victims.

AG Coakley spoke about a nationwide effort to develop a more uniform way to report human trafficking across states through the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program. She also discussed expanded training through the National Attorneys General Training and Research Institute to help first responders better recognize human trafficking and to assist prosecutors in successfully prosecuting these cases.

The welcoming remarks were given by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper, the 2010-11 NAAG President, and the panel discussion was moderated by Ken Thompson, Senior Vice Present and Global Chief Legal Officer of LexisNexis. Other panelists included Washington Attorney General and incoming NAAG President Rob McKenna, Alice Hill, Senior Counselor to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller, both members of the Leadership Council. Shamere McKenzie, a youth survivor of human trafficking, delivered closing remarks. Video footage from the panel discussion can be viewed at www.naag.org.

In January, AG Coakley and a coalition of legislators, law enforcement, and advocates, including lead sponsors Senator Mark Montigny and House Judiciary Chairman Eugene O'Flaherty, filed An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People. The bill, which has passed in the House of Representatives and is awaiting action in the Senate, would for the first time establish human trafficking for sexual servitude or labor as a crime in Massachusetts. The bill gives law enforcement the necessary tools to investigate and prosecute these crimes and attempts to address all three aspects of human trafficking - supply, demand, and victim services. For more information, please visit the Anti Human Trafficking Initiative section on the AG Coakley's website.

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