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Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
On Jan. 11, National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, Attorney General Maura Healey’s office launched a new training video and digital toolkit to help people identify signs of labor trafficking and generate referrals to her office for potential investigation and prosecution.
The Attorney General’s Office is partnering with local officials, including the city of Boston, and community organizations to distribute the video and other training materials. The digital toolkit is designed to help organizations promote the video on various digital platforms.
The AG’s Office has also produced a webinar geared toward municipal employee audiences. The webinar provides an overview of labor trafficking and ways that building and health inspectors, code enforcement officers, assessors, licensing staff, human services staff, school department personnel, police, fire, and emergency management departments can help to identify and combat it.
The AG’s Office created the five-minute animated training video – available in English and Spanish – to help local officials, inspectors, first responders, and law enforcement in formal training, while also raising general public awareness about labor trafficking. The video helps people understand and uncover signs of labor trafficking and refer suspicious information to the AG’s Office.
Forced labor scenarios are often embedded within legitimate commercial enterprises and within private homes, Healey said, so labor trafficking and its victims can be difficult to identify, and these crimes often go undetected.
“Labor trafficking is significantly underreported because it can be difficult to detect – it’s a crime that often leaves victims hidden in plain sight,” Healey said. “My hope is that by working together, we can eradicate labor trafficking in Massachusetts.”
The AG’s Office has partnered with Boston to implement training for the Office of Workforce Development and Inspectional Services Department field staff. The city will also be sending the video to tens of thousands of city permit holders, including active construction permit holders, food service permit holders, and permit holders within the long-term rental housing and short-term rental registration database.
In 2019, the AG’s Office worked with faculty from the Boston University School of Law and representatives from the BU Spark! Initiative at BU’s Hariri Institute for Computing to create the RESULT (Recognize & Evaluate Signs to Uncover Labor Trafficking), a web-based app used to help identify potential labor trafficking cases and connect victims to resources. The office has also conducted training about labor trafficking for municipal employees, including a webinar designed for health and building inspectors, first responders, social services providers and others.
In early 2020, Healey hosted her office’s first Human Trafficking Summit, a two-day conference to provide tools and information.