BOSTON – Attorney General Martha Coakley and members of the Mass. Interagency Human Trafficking Policy Task Force last week submitted policy recommendations to the Legislature.
As part of the human-trafficking law signed in 2011, the Legislature created a 19-member Interagency Human Trafficking Policy Task Force to examine and develop recommendations on all aspects of human trafficking, including policy changes.
According to a news release, the task force has been meeting publicly since February 2012 to develop recommendations. It is chaired by Coakley and includes representatives of victim services, human-trafficking survivors, academia, law enforcement and state government.
Highlights from the report recommendations include:
• Establishing a human-trafficking survivor safe-house pilot program to provide immediate and long-term housing to victims seeking to leave the industry.
• Increasing the capacity of existing victim-services programs, providing additional funding to support trafficking-specific programs, and increasing the availability of resources to identified trafficking victims.
• Developing a first-offender program option for all sex-buying arrestees in order to address demand.
Comprehensive human-trafficking legislation, An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People, was signed into law by Gov. Deval L. Patrick on Nov. 21, 2011. The law went into effect on Feb. 19, 2012. The legislation established the state crimes of human trafficking for sexual servitude and forced labor, organ trafficking and enticement of a child by means of electronic communication. The legislation also increased penalties for existing sex-related crimes. •