One of the Dirty Dozen Now Committed to Combatting Trafficking
The state of Massachussetts was included on the "Dirty Dozen" list created by Polaris Project, an anti-trafficking NGO in the U.S., because it was one of the few states remaining in the U.S. without an anti-trafficking law. However, on June 1, 2011, the Massachussetts state house passed anti-trafficking legislation, joining 46 other states in the fight to end modern-day slavery. The Massachussetts Senate is anticipated to also pass the bill which would make the legislation state law. The legislation was advocated for by local NGOs, police enforcement, university students and faculty, and key legislators.
Focusing largely on the phenomenon of child-trafficking, the law shifts the treatment of minors arrested for prostitution away from being convicted as criminals towards a model of protecting them as victims. The bill also increases fines and jail time for both pimps and johns in an effort towards demand-side suppression of the crime by increasing the financial risk for traffickers and consumers of prostitution. Furthermore, the bill will provide law enforcement agencies the tools necessary for improving tracking and recording of human trafficking cases which will help inform future efforts in diminishing the occurances. The bill was sponsored by Representative Eugene L. O'Flaherty, who stated that "Here we have in the 21st century in Massachusetts practices that any one of us would say should be outlawed.''