For Immediate Release - February 29, 2012

AG Coakley, Interagency Coalition Convene for First Human Trafficking Task Force Meeting

AG Coakley, Law Enforcement Officials, State and Community Representatives, Advocates, and Survivors Meet after Passage of Human Trafficking Legislation

Today, Attorney General Coakley and an interagency coalition of law enforcement officials, state and community representatives, advocates, and survivors appointed to the Human Trafficking Task Force convened for the first meeting of the task force after the new human trafficking law went into effect. 

“Through this task force, we are continuing the important work to combat human trafficking,” said AG Coakley. “This task force consists of a diverse group of members who will offer the insight, resources, and experience to effectively address the many issues involved with human trafficking.  We look forward to working together to end the exploitation of people in our Commonwealth.”

“The Human Trafficking Task Force will help put this critical new law into practice,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Together, our efforts will help protect innocent victims and give public safety professionals the tools they need to hold these criminals accountable.”

As part of the new human trafficking law, the Legislature created an interagency Human Trafficking Task Force to address all aspects of human trafficking through policy changes.  The task force is charged with combating human trafficking through service development, demand reduction, system change, public awareness, and training. 

The comprehensive human trafficking legislation, An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People, was signed into law by Governor Deval Patrick on November 21, 2011.  The law went into effect on February 19, 2012.  The legislation establishes the state crimes of human trafficking for sexual servitude and human trafficking for forced labor.

At today’s meeting, held at 100 Cambridge Street, the members discussed the subcommittees to be formed around the areas of data collection and information sharing, public awareness, victim needs and services, education and training, and demand.

The Human Trafficking Task Force is chaired by AG Coakley and also includes representatives from Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Police Chiefs Association, Massachusetts District Attorney’s Association, Boston Police Department, Division of Professional Licensure, Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance, Department of Labor Standards, Department of Children and Families, Executive Office of Public Safety, and the Office of Probation.  The task force also consists of a representative of a group dedicated to immigrant and refugee issues, a representative of a group dedicated to the prevention of violence against women, a representative of an entity dedicated to prevention of and intervention in the trafficking of children, a survivor of human trafficking, a human trafficking attorney, a human trafficking caseworker, a mental health professional, and a university researcher with a background in human trafficking, all who have been appointed by Governor Patrick.

More information about the task force can be found on the Human Trafficking Initiative section of the AG’s website.  Meeting notices will be posted according to the Open Meeting Law.  The next meeting of the task force will take place on April 14, 2012.

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