The state of Massachusetts is preparing to implement legislation to help curb prostitution and online hookers are hopping mad.
The new human trafficking law that goes into effect on February 17th, 2012 is targeted towards reducing the prostitution of juveniles by hitting those who patronize hookers (Johns) with fines up to $5000 and up to 21/2 years in prison.
The new law specifically designed to put the heat on the Johns and the pimps have made online hookers angry, many of whom are self-employed and do not consider themselves victims of human trafficking and believe that the new law will significantly reduce their income.
Attorney General Martha Coakley, a proponent for the law, tells the Boston Herald “The penalties we’ve had have been far too low” and “All we’ve done by the increases make them appropriate for the kinds of offenses we are talking about.”
The law signed in November provides a much stiffer penalty for those who are convicted of trafficking juveniles. Instead of the $5,000 fine that can be assessed to the Johns, those who are convicted of trafficking juveniles can receive 2 ½ years in jail and fines up to $25,000.
The theory behind the new law is that by penalizing those who traffic women or those who patronize prostitutes, reduces the clientele for the prostitutes thereby reducing prostitution as a whole in the state of Massachusetts.
One prostitute that was interviewed by the Boston Herald says that the new law will have a greater impact on those who work at the street level and will not hurt her business as much as it may others because she has a steady clientele. She further goes on to say that many of the men who patronize “high end” prostitutes do not usually do business with those who they don’t know and are often referred to prostitutes by other prostitutes in the industry.
Senator Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford), the law’s chief sponsor says that prostitution is not a victimless crime and that once one is trapped into human trafficking or enslavement are not free to leave the industry and are working against their will. Furthermore, minors under the age of 18 who are arrested on a first offense will be protected under a safe-harbor clause, allowing them to avoid penalties.
I think that tougher laws regarding the prostitution of minors are necessary as the human trafficking industry is rapidly growing. I do, however, think that women who choose to voluntarily prostitute themselves as a way to make a living should be allowed to do so under government legislation. I think that if the prostitution industry is regulated, those who participate should be subject to mandatory STD testing and their income subject to the same rate of taxation that is mandated for other contractors that are considered 1099 contractors.
Until that happens, I think that it takes a lot of nerve for prostitutes to complain about the loss of revenue in an industry where their actions are considered illegal in every state but Nevada. I will be outdone the first time a prostitute sues the state for loss of revenue due to the new legislation.
By Del Quentin Wilber, Published: October 23
For weeks, police came up empty in their search for a gang member charged with distributing the drug ecstasy — until they turned to Facebook.
It took a few keystrokes for Prince George’s County officers to find their man’s user profile, where they had expected to see his usual rantings about police and coded tidbits about his chosen trade. But what they discovered was even more helpful: That very morning, the fugitive had posted a photograph of himself wearing what one officer described as a “very distinctive” purple and teal shirt.
A few hours later, a photo of the suspect in hand, officers spotted the alleged dealer on the street. “We picked him out right away,” said Sgt. John O’Donnell of the Prince George’s gang unit. “You couldn’t have missed him. He knew we were looking for him. But he couldn’t help himself from updating Facebook.”
The arrest of the alleged dealer highlights the increasing use of Facebook and other social networking sites by street and drug gangs to broadcast messages, boast of successes and recruit new members, according to local and federal authorities. The sites offer a never-ending panoply of gang members’ comments about drug dealing, weapons and violence, as well as photographs of gang tattoos and of members flashing gang signs and standing under gang-related graffiti — an intelligence boon for law enforcement.
Police and federal agents say they often turn first to Facebook and Myspace, two popular social media outlets, to gather information about gangs, their members and their “friends.”
In Prince George’s, for example, undercover police have “friended” many gang members to help keep tabs on them and to better understand associations within the groups. Social media pages are not always available for public viewing, but users who do not properly set their security settings can leave their pages open for all to see, including the police.
Officers in the District comb sites to produce a weekly “Social Media” report for detectives on the latest information and trends related to D.C. street gangs, an ever-evolving universe of idiosyncratic neighborhood crews with assorted alliances and beefs.
“It’s like a spider web of connections,” said D.C. Police Lt. Michael Pavlik, head of the department’s intelligence unit. “You find one and track that down, and find a friend and then follow that. It’s a wealth of information, and it helps you keep up with them in a way we never imagined just a few years ago.”
Federal authorities have also tapped into Facebook and Myspace for help in major gang investigations.
In one case, members of an alleged drug gang in Southeast Washington openly discussed the narcotics trade on a member’s Facebook profile page, according to court papers filed by the FBI in March.
“SNITCHES WANT ME LOCKED UP,” one alleged dealer wrote, the papers say. About 20 minutes later, he added that he had been frisked by police. “The streets don’t love me,” he wrote, according to agents. “Jumpers came out like I had a bomb strapped to me yesterday.”