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Mass. lawmakers approve human trafficking bill

November 15, 2011

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BOSTON—Massachusetts lawmakers have given final approval to a bill that would impose life sentences for pimps and others found guilty of trafficking children for sex or forced labor.

The bill would treat children and others forced into prostitution as victims instead of offenders and establish a panel to study ways to prevent trafficking.

The measure was approved by the House Tuesday on a 151-1 vote and later by the Senate 37-0.

Human rights advocates have pushed for the measure, calling it an important law enforcement tool.

Attorney General Martha Coakley has called human trafficking the fastest growing type of criminal enterprise in Massachusetts. She said the Internet has made the trafficking of young women and girls for sex easier with less threat of prosecution.

Massachusetts is one of three states without anti-human trafficking laws.