BOSTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said many human trafficking victim suffer in silence and feel as if there’s no way out. The state is stepping up efforts to uncover cases of sexual exploitation.
Lieutenant Governor Polito declared January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in an effort to bring this problem to light. In 2015, Massachusetts saw 62 reported cases of human trafficking, but that number is expected to be much greater.
The state is expanding support services and housing for survivors. The Department of Children and Families is also stepping up efforts to help young victims of sexual exploitation.
Worcester resident Nicole Bell is a survivor of sex trafficking. Bell is calling on state lawmakers to pass stronger laws to target sex buyers. “I believe we need to target the demand and not just clean up our neighborhoods. We need to target the high-profile buyers and hold them accountable. We need stiffer penalties for the purchase of human beings.”
Human trafficking is a global problem, impacting millions of people each year.
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