Human trafficking: Massachusetts' definition is very broad
Updated: Apr 2
Human trafficking has been called by some experts as the greatest human rights crisis of our generation. Experts has said that the number of people being human trafficked has increased over the years. Combined with high profile cases of rich and powerful individuals being implicated in human trafficking cases, the law has changed to try to combat the issue.
There has been many ways that Massachusetts has tried to fight human trafficking. In recent years, Massachusetts has joined efforts with other states and federal agencies to investigate these cases. Massachusetts has worked with more non-profit associations to help victims that have been human trafficked. And Massachusetts has changed laws to make it easier to prosecute human traffickers. What has happened is that the human trafficking statute now has a very broad definition.
So what is human trafficking?
Let's start with the definition:
MGL Chapter 265Section 51. (a) Whoever knowingly: (i) subjects, or attempts to subject, another person to forced services, or recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides or obtains by any means, or attempts to recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide or obtain by any means, another person, intending or knowing that such person will be subjected to forced services; or (ii) benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value, as a result of a violation of clause
So when you look at the statute it certainly includes victims who are kidnapped and sold as sex slaves, but the statute goes beyond just that. Even if a sex worker is allowed to come and go freely the person operating the business or working there can be prosecuted and convicted of human trafficking. In addition to being charged for human trafficking the person who operates or works at the place can be charged with deriving support from a prostitute.
Human trafficking goes far beyond what you may see in the movies. A person setting up a place, working at a place, asked by a boss to drive a sex worker to and from the train or bus can all be convicted of sex trafficking. The definition includes soliciting, recruiting and enticing. Now enticing can and does include a person operating the place and sex workers coming and going as they please.
Why it is important is because the penalties are very high. Therefore, a person being charged with human trafficking is dealing with a very serious offense. If convicted the a defendant must be sentenced to state prison for not less than 5 years and can serve up to 20 years. Human trafficking may include a lot more than you may think and the penalties are very severe.