Wareham Man Arraigned on Human Trafficking Charges

For Immediate Release February 17, 2017
Contact: Press Office

WOBURN – Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Woburn Chief of Police Robert Ferullo have announced that Antoine Harris, 43, of Wareham, was arraigned on February 14, 2017 in Middlesex Superior Court and charged with human trafficking, procuring a person to enter prostitution and being a habitual criminal.

Clerk Magistrate Michael Sullivan set bail at $1,000 cash. The next scheduled hearing in this case is Tuesday, March 7.

“This is an example of a disturbing and growing trend of websites that use classified advertisements to solicit sexual services,” said District Attorney Ryan. “This case highlights the importance of online vigilance by law enforcement officials as human trafficking cases are not always easy to identify and they may often present as incidents of prostitution or sexual assault.”

Woburn Chief of Police Ferullo added, “The Woburn Police Department is deeply committed to preventing the proliferation of any type of human trafficking. The extremely hard work of the Woburn Police Department brought about this week’s arraignment and ensures that our community is safer.”

On August 25, 2016, members of the Woburn Vice and Narcotics Unit were conducting an investigation into online advertisements for sexual services for a fee. An undercover officer reached out to a female on the website, and following an exchange of texts and phone calls, the officer and the female agreed to meet at a hotel on Commerce Way in Woburn. While conducting surveillance, Woburn Police allegedly observed a female matching the description she had given the undercover officer being accompanied by the defendant outside the hotel. Police also observed the defendant allegedly doing counter surveillance outside of the room that the undercover officer and the female were scheduled to meet in. When the defendant spotted the officers he allegedly ran down the stairs and attempted to flee in his motor vehicle before being stopped by Woburn Police in the hotel parking lot. In the course of their investigation, Woburn officers learned that the room was registered to Antoine Harris.

These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The prosecutor assigned to this case is Assistant District Attorney Jessica Noble. The Victim Witness Advocate is Danielle DeMeo.

According to the International Labour Organization more than 20 million men, women and children worldwide, including the United States, are victims of forced labor and sex trafficking . On February 19, 2012, “An Act Relative to the Commercial Exploitation of People” went in to effect in the Commonwealth.  The law targets all aspects of the human trafficking chain and also created new crimes, and increased penalties for existing crimes, especially where they involve juveniles.  It also provides a broad range of services for victims and facilitates coordinated information sharing among agencies. 

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