For Immediate Release - January 20, 2011

D.A. Blodgett And Attorney General Martha Coakley Announce Comprehensive Human Trafficking Bill

Bill Aimed At Eliminating Exploitation Of Victims For Sexual Servitude Or Labor; Massachusetts Is Currently One Of Only 5 States Without Human Trafficking Laws

BOSTON - Today, Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett joined with Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and a coalition of Legislators, District Attorneys, law enforcement, and victim advocates to announce the filing of An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People, comprehensive legislation that would for the first time, establish human trafficking for sexual servitude or labor as a crime in Massachusetts. Massachusetts is currently one of only five states in the country without human trafficking laws. The bill gives law enforcement the necessary tools to investigate and prosecute the crimes and attempts to address all three aspects of human trafficking - supply, demand, and victim services.

Human trafficking is considered the second largest and single fastest growing illegal industry in the world. Experts estimate that 27 million people are trafficked internationally and domestically, bringing in $32 billion annually.

"This legislation, if enacted, will protect our most vulnerable children from horrific abuse," said District Attorney Blodgett.

"This bill is one step toward combating the egregious crime of human trafficking, which is a fundamental issue of public safety and human rights in our Commonwealth," Attorney General Coakley said. "Let there be no doubt - people of every background are victims of human trafficking across the world, in this country, and right in our own backyard. This bill sends a clear message that human trafficking is unacceptable in Massachusetts and will give law enforcement the tools to address it. I want to thank Senator Montigny, Chairman O'Flaherty, and the other legislators who support this proposal, my partners in law enforcement, the labor community, and those who advocate on behalf of victims, for their efforts and support on this important issue."

The bill does three main things: creates two new crimes; creates an inter-agency task force; and amends penalties regarding existing statutes to address the demand side of human trafficking.

Specifically, An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People does the following:

  • Creates the crime of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude, which has a penalty of no more than 20 years in state prison;

  • Creates the crime of trafficking of persons for forced labor, which has a penalty of no more than 15 years in state prison;

  • Imposes higher penalties for those who exploit child victims under 18 years of age versus adult victims for both crimes (life or any term of years)

  • Imposes a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison for any second or subsequent offense of either crime;

  • Allows forfeiture of funds and enables funds to be paid to victims in any restitution order from the court;

  • Creates an inter-agency task force to study human trafficking that is led by the Attorney General; and

  • Increases penalties for current "John" crimes to address the demand side of human trafficking.

This legislation will be filed today, and is supported by:

Senator Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford)
Judiciary Committee House Chairman Eugene L. O'Flaherty (D-Chelsea)
Senator Seven A. Baddour (D-Methuen)
Senator Stephen M. Brewer (D-Barre)
Senator Katherine Clark (D-Melrose)
Senator Barry R. Finegold (D-Andover)
Senator Jennifer L. Flanagan (D-Leominster)
Senator Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton)
Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Milbury)
Senator Robert Hedlund (R- Hingham)
Representative Ruth B. Balser (D-Newton)
Representative William N. Brownsberger (D-
Representative Thomas P. Conroy (D-Wayland)
Representative Sean Garballey (D-Arlington)
Representative Anne M. Gobi (D-Spencer)
Representative Louis L. Kafka (D-Stoughton)
Representative Kay Khan (D-Newton)
Representative Lori A. Ehrlich (D-Marblehead)
Representative David Paul Linsky (D-Natick)
Representative Denise Provost (D-Somerville)
Representative Byron Rushing (D-Boston)
Representative Tom Sannicandro (D-Ashland)
Representative Robert M. Koczera (D-New Bedford)
Representative Daniel B. Winslow (R-Norfolk)
Bristol District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, President of the
Massachusetts District Attorneys Association
Boston City Councilor At-Large Ayanna Pressley
Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley
Essex District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett
Middlesex District Attorney Gerard T. Leone
Berkshire District Attorney David F. Capeless
Plymouth District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz
Northwestern District Attorney David E. Sullivan
Hampden District Attorney Mark G. Mastroianni
Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey
Steven A. Mazzie, President of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs
Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis
Northborough Police Chief Mark K. Leahy
Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunnigham
New Bedford Police Chief Ronald E. Teachman
State Police Association of Massachusetts
Community VOICES
My Life My Choice Project
Germaine Lawrence
Massachusetts AFL-CIO
New England Regional Council of Carpenters
Massachusetts Jobs With Justice
Painters & Allied Trades District Council #35