Document Type


First Page



On November 21, 2011, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick signed into law House Bill 3808, An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People. Before the bill’s passage, Massachusetts was one of only three states that did not have a human trafficking law. The law is the Commonwealth’s first anti-human trafficking statute; it creates a safe harbor provision for minors involved in prostitution, a civil cause of action for victims, increased penalties for traffickers, and discretionary training for law enforcement officials on working with minor trafficking victims. This Note explores the Massachusetts Trafficking Law, focusing primarily on its treatment of sex trafficking victims under the age of eighteen, suggesting that sexually exploited minors should be treated as victims rather than criminals under the law. In order to effect this proposal, training for law enforcement officials on child sex trafficking should be mandated, and the Massachusetts Trafficking Law should be amended so that sexually exploited minors cannot be prosecuted for commercial sex acts un-der any circumstances.