By Steve LeBlanc, Associated Press

BOSTON (AP) – Attorney General Martha Coakley is joining with lawmakers and police to push for legislation toughening penalties for people who profit from human trafficking.

The bill creates the crime of trafficking of individuals for sexual servitude with a maximum penalty of 20 years in state prison. It also creates a separate crime of trafficking for forced labor, punishable by 15 years behind bars.

The measure would impose higher penalties for those who exploit children under the age of 18 and allows for the forfeiture of a trafficker’s funds.

Massachusetts is one of just five states without a human trafficking law.

Coakley said the bill, which would also increase penalties for “johns” who hire prostitutes, is a human rights push designed to protect those forced into the sex trade.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (2)
  1. DStein says:

    Martha, oh dumb Martha. Why don’t you use existing laws to prosecute these people? Existing kidnapping and holding a person against their will laws should be enough. Or how about prostitution laws? Or child endangerment laws? Or sexual abuse laws?

    Stop using the faux argument that the reason you can’t do your job is because we don’t have enough laws. We have PLENTY of applicable laws on the books. Why don’t you try doing your job for once and start enforcing them?

  2. Bos says:

    While I don’t completely agree with a law like Melanie’s Law, I do understand and sympathize with the thoughts behind it. Melanie’s Law was passed in 2005. I can’t fathom why we’re one of four states that don’t have a law to protect children from this type of person and crime. Where are our priorities and what’s controlling them?

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