For Immediate Release - January 11, 2012

January 11th Proclaimed as National Slavery and Human Trafficking Awareness Day

Statement from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley

“Human trafficking is one of the most egregious human rights violations we see. It is a heinous crime of exploitation that involves forcing people to work for others for profit, whether through traditional types of labor or sexual exploitation.  Victims are men, women, and children from our state, our country, and across the globe.

“Experts estimate that, world-wide, 27 million people are trafficked annually bringing in $32 billion dollars. It is the fastest growing, second largest black market.

“This past year we worked with legislators to enact a law that makes human trafficking a felony in our state and creates services for victims. Although the passage of this law has given us some important tools to combat trafficking, more work needs to be done. To that end, we are beginning the work of our state wide task force made up of government and non-profit agencies to examine and address all aspects of trafficking.

“Everyone has something to offer in the fight against human trafficking. Hospital, hotel, and transportation staff are in a unique position to identify victims.  Educators and parents can encourage prevention and internet safety education. Today, I urge everyone to take a moment to learn about the signs and consequences of human trafficking and all that we can do to prevent this exploitation.”

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