On June 30th, 2011, the Massachusetts States Senate unanimously passed a new trafficking bill that demonstrated the state's dedication towards fighting human rights violations in the United States. After years of debate, the human trafficking bill has been approved by the Senate, but still awaits approval from the Massachusetts House of Representatives. If passed by both branches, the new bill will increase the state prison sentence for trafficking from 15 to 20 years, add new criminal penalties for organ trafficking, and fine corporations and companies found guilty of labor or sex trafficking up to $1 million.
The Senate's ratification follows a recent MA House bill passed earlier in June, which sought to give prosecutors the tools necessary to target sex and labor trafficking networks in a more effective manner. Recent activity in both legislatives branches against human trafficking gives many representatives hope that a cohesive bill will be created and passed by both bodies in the coming months. Senator Mark C. Montigny, the lead sponsor of the bill, is confident that it will finally be ratified after what he calls, "years of pessimism."
For the full Boston Globe article, please click here.
State legislation like this is just one the many tools that we need to utilize in order to fight trafficking in the United States. Many Americans aren't aware that tens of thousands of people are forced into slavery every year in this country, and that little is being done to confront this issue on a national scale. One way to combat trafficking in the U.S. is with innovative impact legislation, and to legally advocate for those affected by trafficking. Human Rights USA accepts cases involving human rights violations, and has worked with clients affected by human trafficking, forced marriage, and torture.
For more information about how Human Rights USA advocates for victims of trafficking or how you can help, please click here.