If you woke up this morning sensing a new era of safety and security in our society, you were right. Thanks to the never-ending struggle of brave champions against evil incarnate, law enforcement, we are free once again to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
In other words, there has been another prostitution sting.
Three people, ranging from 37 to 55 years of age (hereinafter, collectively, the “Defendants”) were arraigned as last week came to a close in various district courts. The Defendants are accused of owning and operating massage parlors in Burlington, Needham, Revere, and Wellesley that were actually fronts for prostitution.
Facing high bail, the Defendants stand charged with one count of keeping a house of prostitution and two counts of sex trafficking. There is also talk that the Commonwealth may even be indicting the Defendants. As a result, the next court date is allegedly for a “Probable Cause Hearing”.
It has already been announced, though, that one of the Defendants cooperated after the arrest. Thus, that individual is likely to appear in the Grand Jury Minutes as a witness, not a defendant.
Announcing that in open court is fairly unusual in this type of case, but I am sure that Assistant Attorney General Deb Bercovitch had her reasons.
It is alleged that there were four massage business between which alleged prostitutes would be transported in some kind of rotation. Some of the ladies had been brought from New York and would stay a short time working at the spa, and then leave so new women could come in, according to law enforcement.
At the various arraignments, details of the operation, the knowledge of which – to some extent- was apparently learned by the last-minute co-operator after the arrest, was explained to the court. These details included who acted as “madam” of each brothel, who took care of advertising and so on…like, basically any other business.
For example, in one of the arraignments, AAG Patrick Hanley explained how the organization had advertised massages in the Boston Phoenix and on Craigslist.org when, “in reality, much of what their business was illegal sex acts.”
Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham said his department was tipped off in March that the parlor known as “Sun Studios” was allegedly a front for prostitution and that his officers quickly realized the spa’s owners were engaged in an extensive scheme.
“It became apparent that it may be more of a human trafficking case,” Cunningham said. He alleged that the Defendants were “transporting Asian females to work at the spas” who engaged in “sexual conduct for a fee.”
According to the Attorney General, the workers at the parlor masked the payments for sex by describing the money as tips. Prosecutors allege that the operation “advertised the two spas on websites known to advertise prostitution.”
Attorney Sam’s Take On Prostitution And Human Trafficking Stings
As you know if you are a regular reader of this daily blog, I tend to think that the eternal battle against prostitution is absurd…for many reasons.
Today’s posting, though, is not about that. It is a warning.
There are many who regard cleverly-named police operations to trap those in the sex industry as I do. However, the revelation of a particularly ugly crime has become law enforcement’s best friend in enabling the war on commercial sex to continue…and intensify.
Here, I refer to human trafficking.
“But, Sam, doesn’t that involve unwilling victims who are transported over to engage in sex and other acts…like slavery?”
One might imagine. However, such victims are often found in the sex industry. Unfortunately, this has enabled our prosecutorial political leaders to semi-merge the two. Therefore, the view has become that they are just about one and the same.
“But isn’t it indisputable that many in the sex industry are providing services by choice?”
Well, that is really an inconvenient little detail which those so inclined would prefer to ignore.
So…what does this mean to you?
The bottom line is that investigations into prostitution, whether said activity is taking place online, in the streets or both are intensifying. The resulting arrests, both of johns and sex workers, will be treated more seriously.
If you accept that human trafficking and prostitution are the same thing, then that makes sense, of course. Few people feel that human slavery, sexual or otherwise, is a good thing. It is to be combated wherever it is and, in today’s world, that includes cyber-space.
This is something you want to keep in mind should you either decide to seek the services the a sex worker or are, in fact, a sex worker offering your services.
“But, Sam…what if what I am seeking/offering has nothing to do with human trafficking victims?”
Like with most crimes, you may well find law enforcement explaining to you that such is your story and you can tell it to the judge.
And you know how that is likely to play out.
Arrests of this kind are serious now and should be treated as such.
“What does that mean?”
Stay tuned for my next blog.
For the original story upon which this blog was based, please go to http://www.boston.com/metrodesk/2012/10/19/three-face-arraignment-massage-parlor-prostitution-charges/n8ZaqymYVSRfVlbuVR2WRL/story.html