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.)