AG Coakley Cites Progress Made on One Year Anniversary of Human Trafficking Law
BOSTON – Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley issued the following statement on the one year anniversary of the Massachusetts human trafficking law going into effect:
"Considered the single fastest growing illegal industry in the world, human trafficking is one of the most egregious human rights violations that victimize men, women, and children from across the globe. One year ago today, the Massachusetts human trafficking law went into effect, recognizing that these crimes are happening in our own communities, and gave us the tools to combat those crimes and offer critical services to victims.
"This past year, we have made considerable progress in combating human trafficking throughout the Commonwealth. Our office has charged eight individuals in connection with human trafficking, shutting down exploitative operations and assisting victims. Other law enforcement agencies have made arrests as well, taking these individuals off our streets and protecting countless others from becoming victims. Our office is proud to chair a dedicated Interagency Task Force committed to addressing all aspects of this crime and we have also held initial trainings to educate law enforcement about the new law. In the year ahead, we are committed to continuing these efforts in order to end the exploitation of people in our Commonwealth."
Signed by Governor Deval Patrick in November 2011, the comprehensive bill established the state crimes of human trafficking for sexual servitude and human trafficking for forced labor, as well as mandated an interagency task force made up of 19 organizations, including human trafficking survivors, law enforcement, victim services advocates, academia, and state agencies to make additional recommendations about ways the Commonwealth should continue to address the issue. The task force is chaired by AG Coakley. The law went into effect on February 19, 2012.
The new law to combat human trafficking in Massachusetts has been a significant tool in the AG's effort to end the exploitation of people by holding perpetrators accountable, supporting survivors, and raising awareness of this critical issue.