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Michigan woman charged with human trafficking in MA

Two people, at least one of whom is from Michigan, have been charged in another state with human trafficking. Prosecutors say that the defendants, a man and a woman, brought two females from Michigan to Massachusetts to have them work as prostitutes. One of the defendants is being held on $100,000 bail, but bail was not granted for the male defendant.

The two were charged under Massachusetts’ human-trafficking law, a relatively new statute that was passed in response to incidents of the sexual and workplace exploitation of people, especially women and minors. The Michigan woman is charged with two counts of trafficking a person under 18 for sexual servitude and two counts of deriving support from a minor prostitute. The male defendant receiving similar charges in court on Oct. 29, as well as five charges of rape.

Details of the alleged scheme are not given in an article about the criminal charges. The district attorney called the claims against the pair “disturbing.” It is also not clear how the new law specifically increases pressure on human trafficking. The district attorney said only that it gives her office greater ability to do so.

Human trafficking is a serious problem, both in the U.S. and around the world. But those arrested and charged with trafficking-related crimes have rights, including the fact that the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they are guilty. In addition, police must follow constitutional procedure when investigating someone for an alleged sex crime, in order to protect our right not to endure unreasonable searches and seizures, our right to an attorney and so on.

Source: The Lowell Sun, “Two plead not guilty to human trafficking,” Oct. 31, 2013

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