For Immediate Release - June 17, 2011

Growing List of Supporters Back Anti-Human Trafficking Bill

Bill Passed Unanimously By The House Now Awaits Final Passage

BOSTON - A growing list of supporters now backs legislation by Attorney General Martha Coakley that would for the first time establish human trafficking as a crime in Massachusetts. Those supporters include more than 55 legislators, 20 advocacy groups, every District Attorney, and organized labor. The bill now awaits final passage by the Senate after the House unanimously passed this important legislation two weeks ago.

In January, AG Coakley filed this legislation ( An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People) with lead sponsors Senator Mark Montigny and House Judiciary Chairman Eugene O'Flaherty. Massachusetts is currently one of only 4 states that does not have a human trafficking statute. The bill is designed to address all three aspects of human trafficking: supply, demand, and victim services.

"We want to thank the growing number of supporters of this bill, including victim advocates across the Commonwealth," said AG Coakley. "These supporters recognize that people of all backgrounds are being exploited for sexual servitude and labor right in our own backyard. We remain one of four states without a law against human trafficking, and we hope this bill will finally change that."

is considered the second largest and single fastest growing illegal industry in the world. Experts estimate that 27 million people are trafficked internationally and domestically, bringing in $32 billion annually. The average age of entry into the sex trade is children between the ages of 12-14 years old. They are brought into the life at that young age, and then often forced to stay with their pimps and endure repeated violence, rape, abuse, threats, and other inhumane treatment.

The bill attacks all three aspects of human trafficking by addressing the supply and the demand-side, as well as further supporting victims. The legislation does this by creating two new felonies, increasing penalties for current "John" crimes, and creating an interagency task force.

Specifically, An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People does the following:

  • Creates the crime of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, which has a penalty of no more than 15 years in state prison, or a fine of not more than $25,000, or both;
  • Creates the crime of trafficking of persons for forced labor, which has a penalty of no more than 15 years in state prison, or a fine of not more than $25,000, or both;
  • Imposes a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison for any repeat offense of either crime;
  • Imposes higher penalties for victims who are children under 18 years of age versus adult victims for both crimes (life or any term of years);
  • Allows forfeiture of funds and requires funds to be paid to victims in any restitution order from the court;
  • Incorporates DA Conley's "Safe Harbor" provision that allows children who are arrested for prostitution to be treated as victims as opposed to prostitutes.
  • Creates an inter-agency task force to study human trafficking comprised of a cross-section of victim advocates, academics, and law enforcement;
  • Corporations found guilty of forced labor trafficking face a fine of not more than $500,000;
  • Increases penalties for current "John" crimes to address the demand side of human trafficking by increasing the fines from a $500 maximum to $5,000 maximum, and by increasing the penalties from 1 year in jail to 2 ½ years in jail.

This legislation, first filed on January 20, 2011, is now supported by:


Massachusetts Jobs with Justice

Germaine Lawrence

Community VOICES

Chelsea Collaborative

La Comunidad, Inc. (Everett)

Dominican Development Center (JP)

MA Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

Chinese Progressive Association (Boston)

The Brazilian Immigrant Center (Allston / Brighton)

American Friends Service Committee

NIVASA Foundation

Brazilian Women's Group

Lutheran Social Services of New England

My Life My Choice Project

Polaris Project

Worcester CARD Program

The Emancipation Network/MadeBySurvivors

Agencia ALPHA

Massachusetts Children's Alliance

Mass Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health (MassCOSH)

Woman's Bar Association

Roxbury Youthworks

Jane Doe, Inc.

AIDS Action

Reed Elsevier (LexisNexis)

MA Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

Northeast Region Amnesty International USA

Greater Boston Legal Services

American Massage Therapy Association, MA Chapter


Massachusetts AFL-CIO

New England Carpenters Labor Management Program

New England Regional Council of Carpenters

Painters & Allied Trades District Council #35

Mass Building Trades Council

SEIU 615

SEIU 509


C. Samuel Sutter, Bristol County District Attorney

President, Massachusetts District Attorneys Association

Michael W. Morrissey, Norfolk County District Attorney

Joseph D. Early, Worcester County District Attorney (Middle District)

Gerard T. Leone Jr., Middlesex County District Attorney

Jonathan W. Blodgett, Essex County District Attorney

David F. Capeless, Berkshire County District Attorney

Daniel F. Conley, Suffolk County District Attorney

David E. Sullivan, Northwestern District Attorney

Mark D. Mastroianni, Hampden County District Attorney

Michael O'Keefe, Cape and Islands District Attorney

Timothy J. Cruz, Plymouth County District Attorney

Richard Brown, President, State Police Association of Massachusetts

Chief Mark K. Leahy, Northborough Police

President, Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association

Steven A. Mazzie, President, Massachusetts Major City Chiefs

Commissioner Edward Davis, Boston Police

Chief Terrence M. Cunningham, Wellesley Police

Chief Ronald E. Teachman, New Bedford Police


Senator Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford) (Sponsor)

Representative Eugene L. O'Flaherty (D-Chelsea) (Sponsor)

Senator Steven A. Baddour (D-Methuen)

Senator Bruce E. Tarr (R-Gloucester)

Senator Robert L. Hedlund (R- Hingham)

Senator James E. Timilty (D-Walpole)

Senator Richard T. Moore (D-Uxbridge)

Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton)

Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Milbury)

Senator Katherine Clark (D-Melrose)

Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan (D-Leominster)

Senator John Hart, Jr. (D-Boston)

Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre)

Senator Karen Spilka (D-Ashland)

Senator Barry R. Finegold (D-Andover)

Senator Stanley C. Rosenberg (D-Amherst)

Representative Daniel B. Winslow (R-Norfolk)

Representative John J. Binienda (D-Worcester)

Representative Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester)

Representative James Arciero (D-Westford)

Representative James O'Day (D-West Boylston)

Representative Alice Hanlon Peisch (D-Wellesley)

Representative Thomas P. Conroy (D-Wayland)

Representative Louis L. Kafka (D-Stoughton)

Representative Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer)

Representative John Scibak (D-South Hadley)

Representative Denise Provost (D-Somerville)

Representative Tackey Chan (D-Quincy)

Representative Denise Andrews (D-Orange)

Representative Kay Khan (D-Newton)

Representative Ruth B. Balser (D-Newton)

Representative Robert M. Koczera (D-New Bedford)

Representative Stephen R. Canessa (D-New Bedford)

Representative David Paul Linsky (D-Natick)

Representative Timothy R. Madden (D-Nantucket)

Representative Walter F. Timilty (D-Milton)

Representative Paul Brodeur (D-Melrose)

Representative Lori A. Ehrlich (D-Marblehead)

Representative Jennifer E. Benson (D-Lunenburg)

Representative Carolyn C. Dykema (D-Holliston)

Representative Chris Walsh (D-Framingham)

Representative Carlo Basile (D-East Boston)

Representative Cory Atkins (D-Concord)

Representative Alice Wolf (D-Cambridge)

Representative Timothy J. Toomey, Jr. (D-Cambridge)

Representative Frank I. Smizik (D-Brookline)

Representative Geraldine Creedon (D-Brockton)

Representative Russell Holmes (D-Boston)

Representative Byron Rushing (D-Boston)

Representative Edward Coppinger (D-Boston)

Representative Martha Walz (D-Boston)

Representative William N. Brownsberger (D-Belmont)

Representative Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland)

Representative Sean Garballey (D-Arlington)

Representative Ellen Story (D-Amherst)

Ayanna Pressley, City Councilor At-Large

Boston City Council