WESTFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The crime of human trafficking is increasing in Massachusetts.
Over the last year, police have been seeing more cases of human trafficking.
Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni led a panel at Westfield State University Wednesday, to talk about human trafficking in western Massachusetts.
“I didn’t realize how common it was,” Amanda Fountain of Westfield told 22News. “When people think of human trafficking they think it’s mostly women, but it is men too.”
Massachusetts has seen instances of both sex trafficking and labor trafficking, with arrests being made at several massage parlors in western Massachusetts in the last year.
DA Gulluni is part of the western Massachusetts Human Trafficking Task Force, which brings together local, state and federal law enforcement to fight human trafficking. The task force was formed in 2016.
Gulluni said there are many misconceptions surrounding human trafficking, and educating people is an important step to stop it.
“It doesn’t have to be a large very sophisticated criminal organization, and I think that’s what we’re seeing, where it can even be one on one where there is the person doing the trafficking and the person being victimized,” DA Gulluni told 22News.
The western Massachusetts Human Trafficking Task Force is a joint effort involving the Hampden County D.A., the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and Attorney General Maura Healey.