For Immediate Release - August 07, 2012

Massachusetts Named Most Improved State in Polaris Project Ratings on Human Trafficking Laws

Massachusetts Catapults from the Worst Tier to the Best

BOSTON – Polaris Project named Massachusetts the most improved state in their annual ratings on state human trafficking laws, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

In a conference call today, Polaris Project announced its 2012 Annual Ratings Map on state human trafficking laws.  Massachusetts was recognized for passing a comprehensive human trafficking law in November. In just one year, Massachusetts catapulted from the worst tier to the best in the ratings. 

Polaris Project rated all 50 states and the District of Columbia based on ten categories of laws that are critical to a basic legal framework that combats human trafficking, punishes traffickers and supports survivors.

The complete state rankings can be found at this site: http://www.polarisproject.org/2012StateRatings

The following is a statement from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley on the Polaris Project Report:

“Massachusetts has taken major steps to combat the egregious crime of human trafficking, and we are pleased that this report recognizes those efforts.  We are proud to be recognized as the most improved state by Polaris Project.  The recent passage of a human trafficking law in Massachusetts recognizes that these crimes are happening in our own communities, and gives us the tools to combat those crimes and offer critical services to victims.  We continue to work towards a successful implementation of that law through investigations, prosecutions, and policy change as recommended by the Interagency Human Trafficking Task Force. We look forward to working with stakeholders to end the exploitation of people in our Commonwealth.”

Background:

The Massachusetts Human Trafficking Law went into effect on February 19, 2012.  As part of the new human trafficking law, the Legislature created an Interagency Human Trafficking Task Force, chaired by AG Coakley, to address all aspects of human trafficking through policy changes.  In March 2012, AG Coakley’s Office arrested and arraigned four individuals charged in connection with running a sophisticated human trafficking operation in and around the Boston area.  Those were the first individuals charged by AG Coakley’s Office under the new human trafficking law in Massachusetts.  In April 2012, AG Coakley announced that a new Assistant Attorney General was appointed to pursue human trafficking cases as a part of the Human Trafficking Prosecution Strike Force. 

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