AG Coakley and Coalition of 45 Attorneys General Urge Passage of Act to Combat Human Trafficking
BOSTON – Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley joined Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and a coalition of other Attorneys General representing 46 states and territories in urging Congress to adequately fund programs to combat human trafficking. A letter sent today by the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG), encourages Congress to pass the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act by the end of the year.
“Human trafficking is considered the single fastest growing illegal industry in the world, bringing in $32 billion annually,” said AG Coakley. “Human trafficking does not only happen at an international level, it is happening within our own communities. We urge Congress to pass this act so that the victims of this exploitation can receive the support and assistance they need.”
Congress authorized the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in December 2008 and it has been renewed three times since then. However, Congress needs to reauthorize the act by the end of this year or it will expire. In the NAAG letter sent today, the 46 state and territorial attorneys general offer specific funding recommendations for programs within the U.S. Dept. of Justice, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security to curtail the human trafficking industry and provide the resources necessary to assist survivors.
In August, Massachusetts was named by the Polaris Project as the most improved state in its annual ratings on state human trafficking laws. The Massachusetts Human Trafficking Law went into effect on February 19, 2012. As part of the human trafficking law, the Legislature created an Interagency Human Trafficking Task Force, chaired by AG Coakley, to address all aspects of human trafficking including changes in public policy; addressing the needs of victims; raising public awareness about prevalence and impact of human trafficking; collecting accurate data about trafficking and its victims; educating law enforcement, school personnel, and social service providers; and addressing the issue of demand. In October, AG Coakley’s Office arrested and arraigned three individuals charged in connection with human trafficking. Those arrests and arraignments were part of the AG’s second human trafficking case under the human trafficking law in Massachusetts.