Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.


CAMDEN COUNTY PROSECUTOR CELEBRATES GUILTY PLEA OF MASSACHUSETTS HUMAN TRAFFICKING DEFENDANT

One thing about prostitution-related prosecutions. It doesn’t matter what state it is in (except Las Vegas I guess). Law enforcement loves to celebrate its “genius” and “hard work” after success from a “sting” on the matter.

Camden County Prosecutor Mary Eva Colalillo and Cherry Hill Police Chief William Monaghan announced on its website the fact that 30-year-old Javann Hall (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) of Massachusetts pleaded guilty in his Cherry Hill human trafficking case.

We began this discussion on Friday. As you will recall, the Defendant faces a recommended sentence of seven years in state to one count of second-degree human trafficking.

Law Enforcement says it discovered the Defendant’s crimes during an undercover prostitution detail at a hotel last year. 2015. His criminal acts include dropping the unnamed woman at the hotel. She had solicited what turned out to be an undercover officer after she had been advertised online.

Fortunately, the police tell us that she was taken into custody “without incident”…assuming you do not count exchanging the mantel of “suspect” to “victim” as an incident.

The unnamed female, who apparently is also from Boston, explained to the police that she was really being forced into her very active prostitution activities by the Defendant, who had dropped her off at the hotel.

Because of her newfound status, she has been released, charges against her have been dismissed and she has been referred to a licensed social worker who provided counseling and directed her to available social services.

According to the jubilant district attorney, the terms of the plea, aside from potential prison time and fines, include paying restitution to the woman

Attorney Sam’s Take On Human Trafficking And The Benefits Of Being A “Victim”

In the end of my previous posting, we left off with the following question:

“Well, Sam, your views regarding the prosecution of alleged prostitutes is well-documented. Doesn’t this case fall under that category?”

The fact is that we do not know whether this case falls under that category.

Law enforcement, of course, will tell you that it is not. After all, in this case, the woman said that she was a victim of human trafficking and not really a willing sex worker.

I would say that the difference between human trafficking and a regular case of prostitution is the willingness of the person engaging in the sex for money. In many, many cases, the worker has chosen the world’s oldest profession to make money. In doing so, they often have what is known as a “pimp”. The street lingo for the customer is, “John”.

For years, law enforcement has had a tough time in sounding the call to battle the sex industry. In my own opinion (not that you asked) that is because the fact that prostitution is still a crime makes little sense…particularly when one examines the reasons we claim it must be kept illegal. We have discussed this many times in the past.

However, there are still those amongst us who, often for religious reasons, desire to keep prostitution illegal. Our system used to pin the blame right on the prostitute. Then, we thought it would help if we targeted the Johns. Now, with the advent of “human trafficking”, we are focusing on the pimp.

Don’t get me wrong. While I argue that it is absurd to outlaw prostitution, I do not offer the same position with cases of true human trafficking. Human trafficking combines the crimes of rape, kidnapping and lord knows what else. It is akin to slavery. My blogs do not seek to do anything but condemn the practice.

“But how does the police figure out which cases are prostitution and which are human trafficking?”

I would say by investigation. In this case, however, it seems that they just took the suspect-turned-victim’s word for it.

And remember…while law enforcement loves to publically congratulate itself on prostitution stings, a human trafficking case is treated much more seriously.

Other than stepping away from the pointed end of the state’s finger of blame, there are more benefits of becoming cast in the position of “victim”. According to the news sources, this woman has been rewarded those. They vary from social work help to housing to help in finding a job. Not to mention having charges against her dropped.

In this case, though, there was another benefit which startled even me.

In my experience, “restitution” has been frowned on in these cases. After all, what are you paying the “victim” for?

It is similar to a rape case. After all, given that the government’s theory is that the woman was forced to engage in sex for money, what restitution is being paid that could not said to be payment for services rendered?

In other words, the expected proceeds of engaging in prostitution.

There may be no end to benefits of choosing the costume of victim over that of defendant.

I hasten to add that I do not know the details of this particular case. However, the issue undoubtedly exists…the suspiciousness of this case notwithstanding.

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