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Prostitution Stings and How They Work in Massachusetts

If you are wondering just how prevalent prostitution cases are in Massachusetts just open you local newspaper.  At least once a week you can read about a local prostitution sting.  If you want more detail just perform some basic Internet searches such as “prostitution arrest” in “your town”.  You will quickly learn that the world’s oldest profession is conducted everywhere.  No longer is prostitution simply associated with street hookers parading down the red light districts of major cities.  Now, sex is advertised and sold in every town.  Just go to Craigslist or Backpage and search for dates or massage services.  Manicures and nail services are often code for sexual services as well.  Recently, law enforcement has been focusing on flushing out the demand for sex rather than the supply.  They do this through “stings”, the subject of this post.  

What is a Prostitution Sting?

Undercover task forces attempting to eradicate prostitution place ads in local newspapers or, more commonly on the Internet.  They advertise sexual services for a fee.  Most of this is done through backpage.com.  The solicitations can be obvious or subtle.  Take for instance two such listings on today’s Boston backpage listings.  One reads “If youve been looking to relieve some stress, & experience a ride of pure pleasure that will be having you wanting more then look no farther. I’m available 24/7 ready to show u why im the best for you. so dont miss…”.  Another says, “Would love to make arrangements meet this evening. This can be a one time deal or an ongoing arrangement depending on what you’re looking for. I am looking to meet as your discreet lover. I would like to be the person that…”.  So lets say you respond.  You will likely get an email or call back and negotiations will follow.  Eventually you meet, usually at a home or motel and continue with your arrangement.  However, if these ads were posted by the police and you are going to be in trouble.  Now you have been caught up in the sting and you will be charged with a crime just for responding. 

A classic example of a recent prostitution sting occurred in Woburn.  In one instance, after responding to a backpage.com listing a man entered a motel room, put his money down and discussed having sex acts with an undercover officer.  He was arrested.  In another case, part of the same operation, another man put his money down asked the undercover to put on a particular outfit.  Both were arrested and charged with sex for a fee.

What if There Was No Sexual Act?

The fact that you never had sex and merely discussed having it or negotiated the terms of the act is meaningless in Massachusetts.  In this state, soliciting sex for a fee is a misdemeanor.  If you are caught up in one of these stings you will get charged.  In the cases discussed in the previous section, both men were charged even though no sex occurred.

What if I Wasn’t Arrested?  Does That Mean That the Case is Not That Serious?

Sometimes with undercover prostitution stings no arrests are made.  After the solicitor makes contact with the undercover officer and the deal is discussed the officer will identify herself.  You will then be interrogated.  The police will obtain your personal information and you will receive a summons.  Sometimes an arrest is made where you are formally booked and released and given a date to appear in court.  Regardless of whether you were arrested or not you will be charged.

What Will Happen to Me In Court?  Will I Have a Record or go to Jail?

The answer to this question depends on who you are.  If you have no criminal record and you hire a good lawyer you will likely get out of this without a criminal record.  The best results are dismissal upon court costs or pretrial probation.  In either instance you will not have a criminal record for this offense.  Pretrial probation is the typical resolution for first time offenders.

Massachusetts Sex For a Fee Defense

The Law Offices of Stephen Neyman has defended this crime for nearly three decades.  We get results for our clients.  Get the right lawyer and avoid having a criminal record.