Legislation to Combat Human Trafficking
(BOSTON) – State Representative Carlo Basile yesterday joined his
colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives in
unanimously passing legislation aimed at fighting human trafficking
in the Commonwealth. The bill creates crimes for human trafficking
offenses such as trafficking persons for sexual servitude and
trafficking persons for forced services.
“Our primary job as elected officials is to secure the safety of
folks across the Commonwealth,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said.
“No one should have to experience the horrors of being sold into a
life of exploitation. This anti-human trafficking legislation will
help our law enforcement officials crack down on instances of this
unconscionable practice in Massachusetts.”
“This bill will give our law enforcement professionals the tools
needed to address human trafficking offenses in Massachusetts,” said
Representative Eugene L. O’Flaherty, House Chairman of the Joint
Committee on the Judiciary.
“The passing of this bill by the House is an important step towards
eradicating Human Trafficking in our Commonwealth,” said Attorney
General Martha Coakley. “The fact remains that people of all
backgrounds are being exploited for sexual servitude and labor right
in our own backyard. We remain one of four states without a law
against human trafficking, and we hope this bill will finally change
that. We commend the House leadership, especially Speaker DeLeo and
Chairman O’Flaherty, for sending a strong message that this brutal
exploitation will not be tolerated.”
“I am glad we were able to pass this important legislation that will
help prevent exploitation of labor and sex, as well as providing law
enforcement with the proper tools to combat these brutal practices,”
said Representative Basile. “I am proud that my colleagues and I
were able to pass this bill that both protects the victims,
especially the youth, and harshly prosecutes the offenders. This
legislation will make our state a safer place.”
The bill creates the crimes of trafficking persons for sexual
servitude and trafficking persons for forced services, each of which
carries a punishment of imprisonment for up to 15 years or a fine of
up to $25,000, or both.
The legislation also creates the crimes of trafficking for sexual
servitude or forced services on a person under 18 years-old. Each
crime carries a penalty of up to life in prison.
Additionally, the bill increases protection for children by raising
the age required to be considered a minor in the context of
engagement in sexual conduct. Previously, only those under 14 years
of age had qualified as minors in this context. This legislation
increases the age to 18.
The legislation authorizes all money seized as a result of human
trafficking apprehensions to be made available to human trafficking
victims who are awarded restitution by a court.
The bill also addresses the demand side of human trafficking by
increasing the punishment for those who pay another person in
exchange for sexual conduct.
In an effort to provide needed social services for victims of human
trafficking, the bill includes a “Safe Harbor” provision that allows
a court to judge a person under 18 years-old who is apprehended for
prostitution – but found to be a victim of human trafficking – to be
in need of services rather than simply delinquent.
Finally, the bill establishes an inter-agency task force to address
human trafficking. The task force will collect data to continually
study the problem of human trafficking and devise plans to share
information across agencies to facilitate a more efficient pursuit
of human traffickers.
Source: Office of State Representative Carlo Basile via