May 30, 2018

Businesses target sex-buying, human trafficking

Photo | State House News Service
Attorney General Maura Healey

Twenty-three Massachusetts businesses and groups, including Dunkin Brands, Google and IBM, announced Tuesday they would adopt policies explicitly prohibiting their workers from engaging in sex-buying, part of a new initiative to fight human trafficking.

Attorney General Maura Healey and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh instituted their own zero-tolerance workplace sex-buying policies in April 2016 and encouraged other employers to take similar steps. Representatives of the 23 companies joined Healey and Walsh at Healey's office to announce the new Employers Against Sex Trafficking (EAST) initiative.

According to Healey's office, the peak time in the Boston area for online searching to purchase sex falls in the middle of the work day, at 2 p.m.

"The data makes clear that there is an increased demand for the purchase of sex in the middle of the work day, meaning that company time - and potentially company resources - are indirectly supporting sex trafficking," said Jesse Mermell of The Alliance for Business Leadership, one of the groups to make the commitment. "No organization should tolerate this."

Other EAST participants include AECOM, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Boston Children's Hospital, CTP Boston, Deloitte, Delta Dental, Denterlein, Eastern Bank, Fishing Partnership, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, Grossman Marketing Group, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Hillcrest Educational Foundation, InkHouse, Korn Ferry, Massachusetts Business Roundtable, MassChallenge, MITRE and Tufts Health Plan.

"We cannot end sex trafficking until we reduce the demand for it, and the leadership of the business community is a fundamental part of that process," Walsh said in a statement

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