BOSTON — A report (PDF) says Massachusetts needs to provide more safe houses and other services for victims of human trafficking as part of a comprehensive plan to address the sex trade.
A 19-member human trafficking task force created under a 2011 law that increased penalties for human trafficking released its findings on Monday. The task force included victim service workers, human trafficking survivors and representatives of law enforcement and academia.
Attorney General Martha Coakley, who chaired the panel, called human trafficking a “brutal and dehumanizing crime,” but one that is lucrative business for its purveyors.
Among the recommendations is the establishment of safe houses that could provide short and long-term housing and other services to young victims trying to escape sexual exploitation.
“Law enforcement and victim services are forced to scramble often on a Friday night or a Sunday morning for expensive, temporary and ultimately inappropriate housing for the victims of this kind of crime,” Coakley said.
The report also seeks to reduce demand for trafficking by creating a so-called “John school” for first-time buyers of sexual services.
In 2011, Gov. Deval Patrick signed into law a human trafficking bill designed to change the focus of police and prosecutors from targeting prostitutes to going after the men who pay for sex with them and the pimps who profit from the transactions.
With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom