Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Successful Investigation and Prosecution of Human Trafficking

This week, Attorney General Peter Kilmartin was joined by the United States Attorney’s Office, Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Department of Labor to provide local and state law enforcement training in the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking. 

Held at Amica, more than 40 local, state and federal law enforcement officials attended the training where prosecutors from the Office of Attorney General and the United States Attorney’s Office reviewed the current state and federal human trafficking statutes, and ICE and the US Department of Labor shared investigative tactics to identify and successfully investigate potential cases of human trafficking. In addition, a senior Massachusetts prosecutor detailed the complexities of prosecuting human trafficking cases.

Human trafficking is the world's fastest growing criminal enterprise and is an estimated $32 billion-a-year global industry. After drug trafficking, human trafficking is the world's second most profitable criminal enterprise, a status it shares with illegal arms trafficking. Like drug and arms trafficking, the United States is one of the top destination countries for trafficking in persons.

“Human trafficking occurs in the shadows of our society, and no community is free from the problem.  To combat this growing epidemic, it will require communication and cooperation among local, state, national and international agencies,” said Attorney General Kilmartin.  “Law enforcement training is a key tool we can use to fight human trafficking. Trafficking perpetrators and victims are often involved in traditional crimes or illegal activities.  Traditional law enforcement training recognizes them as prostitutes, pimps, kidnappers, or employers hiring illegal immigrants.  Training law enforcement to look beneath the surface is critical to uncover the darker side of these criminal activities - human trafficking.  Local police are often the first responders to potential trafficking victims and perpetrators, and this training will help law enforcement to communicate effectively with victims and detect potential perpetrators.”

The effort to end human trafficking in the United States is a major initiative of the National Attorneys General Association (NAAG), of which AG Kilmartin is a member.  In 2011, NAAG announced the “Pillars of Hope: Attorneys General Unite against Human Trafficking” campaign.   

The campaign is built upon four pillars: making the case, prosecuting the traffickers, rescuing the victims, and increasing public awareness of the issue. To learn more about the Pillars of Hope campaign, please visit www.

Attorney General Kilmartin also partnered with the Rhode Island Coalition Against Human Trafficking to support an advertising campaign aimed at ending the demand for human trafficking in Rhode Island, which recognized that the horrific human rights violation of sex trafficking will only end when the demand has been abolished. “Together we can make a difference, bring hope to the victims of this heinous crime and hold traffickers and their buyers accountable for their actions,” said Kilmartin.

In 2011, The Office of Attorney General prosecuted the first human trafficking case since the law passed in 2008; a law co-sponsored by then state representative Kilmartin.  The human trafficking ring originated in Yonkers, NY, where the defendant manipulated and intimidated young suburban women using psychological and physical abuse to force them into prostitution.  The women were pimped out on websites known for adult content and prostitution.

The defendant was sentenced to 20 years, with 10 to serve and 10 years suspended with probation.  The young women he enslaved we reunited with their families.