- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
- The Attorney General's Fair Labor Division
Media Contact for AG Healey, Boston University Announce New Tool to Identify Potential Cases of Labor Trafficking and Assist Victims
Boston — In a joint effort to combat labor trafficking in Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey, faculty from Boston University School of Law, and representatives from the BU Spark! Initiative at BU’s Hariri Institute for Computing today announced a new tool they developed to help identify potential labor trafficking cases and connect victims to resources.
The RESULT (Recognize & Evaluate Signs to Uncover Labor Trafficking) web-based app, which can be found at www.traffickingresult.com, assists investigators in understanding and uncovering signs of potential labor trafficking and allows them to refer victims to resources and to law enforcement officials who handle labor trafficking investigations and prosecutions.
“Labor trafficking is happening in communities and across industries in our state, but it’s often hard to identify and significantly underreported,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “This new tool will help identify labor trafficking, bring it to the attention of law enforcement, and provide quick access to victim resources. With more eyes and ears, we can shed light on this exploitation, bring traffickers to justice, and protect and assist survivors.”
“One of the primary challenges in labor trafficking cases is victim identification, but this app puts an easy-to-use resource in the hands of investigators,” said Julie Dahlstrom, Director of the BU Law Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program. “It makes identification easy and helps connect survivors to resources. This will level the playing field and make it easier for survivors to step forward and access justice.”
“We were thrilled to partner with the Attorney General’s Office and to bring the power of technology to extend their impact on this important issue,” said Ziba Cranmer, Director of BU Spark!
“As a survivor of labor trafficking, I know firsthand that law enforcement can make such a big difference,” said Catherine Piedad, a survivor of labor trafficking. “This app puts the resources right in the hands of investigators. It will change the lives of survivors in Massachusetts. It will make them visible and ensure that they can access the important protections they deserve.”
The RESULT app is designed to be a resource to Massachusetts inspectors, compliance officers, first responders, investigators, and law enforcement. The online tool provides users with tips about interviewing victims, an assessment tool tailored to state law, and detailed information about victim resources and protections available in Massachusetts.
The goal of the app is to increase the number of referrals for suspected instances of labor trafficking, a crime that often goes undetected and unreported. Since forced labor scenarios are often imbedded within legitimate commercial enterprises and within private homes, labor trafficking and the victims impacted can be difficult to identify.
The RESULT app asks a series of questions relating to likely indicators of labor trafficking—including serious harm, physical restraint, abuse of the law, withholding identity documents, extortion, and financial harm—to help determine if the user is dealing with a potential case of labor trafficking. Under Massachusetts law, an employer who engages in any one of these behaviors to obtain or maintain someone’s services may be participating in labor trafficking. The app provides information to refer observations to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.
The app also provides law enforcement officials guidance for interviewing victims, such as how to develop trust, how to gain an understanding of the victim’s background, and how to interact with them safely. It allows users to connect victims with food, safety, shelter, and legal resources and provide information about important protections for victims under state and federal law.
The AG’s Office will hold a webinar for municipal officials on labor trafficking on November 19 that will include information on how to use the RESULT app. An explainer on the app and a short digital tutorial, which can be found here, on how to use and navigate the RESULT app will be included in all future labor trafficking trainings and events held by the AG’s Office throughout the state, including for municipal building inspectors, law enforcement and service providers.
In 2011, the Massachusetts legislature passed An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People, which created the crimes of trafficking in persons for forced services and for sexual servitude. “Forced services” are services performed or provided by a person that are obtained or maintained by another person who engages in conduct that essentially compels a person to work, either through threats, harm, restraint, confiscation or destruction of one’s passport or other immigration document, extortion, or causing financial harm. Penalties for violations of this law include imprisonment of not less than five years and a fine of not more than $25,000. Businesses found guilty of forced services can be fined up to $1 million.