Massachusetts Interagency Task Force: Recommendations to End Sex Trafficking

The Massachusetts’ Interagency Human Trafficking Policy Task Force, created by the state’s legislature as part of a trafficking law signed in 2011, released its Findings and Recommendations report on August 19th. The 19-member Task Force, chaired by Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, includes representatives from victims’ services programs, human trafficking survivors, academia, law enforcement and state government. Members organized 5 subcommittees:  victim services, data collection and information sharing, demand reduction, education and training, and public awareness. The committee developed a set of recommendations to help identify trafficking victims, strengthen the state’s ability to assist survivors, and stop trafficking in Massachusetts. Highlights of the recommendations include:

  • Creating a pilot human trafficking–survivor safe house to provide short and long term housing to victims seeking to escape sexual exploitation
  • Increasing the capacity of existing victim services program
  • Developing a data collection system to exchange information among law enforcement and victim services agencies
  • Providing education and training which includes a screening tool to help identify victims early in education and healthcare settings
  • Offering language training for first responders
  • Launching a public awareness campaign similar to successful models
  • Forming a policy group to further investigate issues specific to labor trafficking

The report noted several trends that impact strategies to prevent and end trafficking in the state. For example, many victims of trafficking networks in Massachusetts are being transported here from other states after their arrival. Traffickers are using the Internet to “advertise” and schedule services and this can make apprehension and prosecution challenging. This month Massachusetts was rated as a top-tier state in the Polaris Project’s annual rating on state human trafficking laws. More information on the findings and activities of the The Massachusetts’ Interagency Human Trafficking Policy Task Force  can be found at: