North Of Boston, Two Face Prostitution Charges

Today, the daily Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog checks in on the World’s Oldest Profession and the brave men and women in uniform who combat it every day.

Yes, it is time for a story about law enforcement vs. prostitution.

First, it would appear that a favorite tool of law enforcement is still the Craig’s List web site. This time, the threat to humanity was in Danvers where, earlier this month, two women were investigated and arrested after advertising on Craigs’s List.

Fatima B., 19, of Tewksbury, (hereinafter, “Defendant 1”)was arrested at a Motel 6 in Danvers on Friday, March 6, at 9:52 p.m. Danielle S. 25, of Revere, (hereinafter, “Defendant 2”) was also arrested at the scene, at 8:59 p.m. Danvers police arrested the two women after contacting them through Craig’s List, Danvers Police Chief Neil Ouellette said. Both women were charged with engaging in sexual conduct for a fee.

Craig’s List, the online listing service for just about every kind of commodity or need, “has been a unique way for the prostitution trade to advertise,” said Ouellette. Using Investigative techniques worthy of the year 2009, he observed that ads reflecting the sex trade usually mention “erotic services.” He also observed that he had known that many prostitution crimes committed in the area take place at “lower-cost hotels”.

To stem the tide of this blight on civilization, Danvers and Peabody police detectives joined forces to set up a sting on March 6th on a novel target…a motel instead of a hotel. Danvers police picked the Motel 6 location, where they rented a couple of rooms, Ouellette said.

The detectives then made some phone calls based on information found on Craig’s List. The two women appeared and “negotiated a fee for sexual contact, which is illegal,” the chief said. They were arrested.

Oh yes…there was another tool used. All hotel registers are open for police inspection at any time.

It was because of such bravery and brilliance that police began investigating the possibility of prostitution at the motels. They will continue to investigate if there is a need, the chief said.

Defendants 1 and 2 were arraigned in Salem District Court on March 9, and were given a bail warning, which means they could be held without bail for 60 days if they get into further trouble while the case is pending. They are both due back in court on April 28 for pre-trial conferences, said Tom Donovan of the Essex County District Attorney’s office.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

Make no mistake about it. In Massachusetts, prostitution is a crime. It is not only an arrestable offense for the seller, but the buyer (or, rather, renter) as well. And I am sure we can all sleep alittle better at night knowing that resources which would otherwise be wasted on investigating murders, rapes, robberies and assaults are being well spent on chasing down “hookers” and “johns” in motel as well as hotel rooms.

In the past, customers of prostitutes were merely treated to public embarrassment. For example, their faces and names would be revealed in public forums. Now, they are also arrested for the sex trade.

It should be noted that various, perhaps more serious, crimes have been associated with prostitution. Other locations, such as Las Vegas, have addressed this by making prostitution legal and so regulating it more closely. This seems to have been helpful in combating incidentals like the spread of diseases like HIV-AIDS as well as tax evasion and robbery. Since one of the arguments against prostitution is that it victimizes the prostitute, it is worth observing that the prostitutes in such places are able to be better protected because the trade need not be shrouded in the shadows. As for the effects on the community…it is zoned for particular areas.

Given the profit margin of the sex trade, one wonders if the income were actually realistically taxable what effect it might have on the economy.

In any event, do not assume that if you are being investigated for being at either end of the sex trade (professional or client), be aware that, if prosecuted, you should not assume that the case is simply going to be tossed out and you will walk away unscathed. It is a misdemeanor. As with any criminal investigation or arrest, take it seriously and consult experienced counsel at the first possible moment.

The full articles of this story can be found at:

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