Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley is pressing for huge fines and even jail time for johns under a sweeping new human-trafficking law — but some online hookers tell the Boston Herald they aren’t victims and don’t need the government doing them any favors. The law, effective Sunday, is largely aimed at protecting child prostitutes but also hits adult hookers’ clients with fines of up to $5,000 and up to 21⁄2 years behind bars, as part of a broad crackdown aimed at snuffing out prostitution by turning up the heat on both pimps and end-users of the illicit trade.
Women of the night are treated as victims of human trafficking, still facing the same misdemeanor charges but with new rights to sue those who exploited them. “The penalties we’ve had have been far too low,” Coakley told the Herald. “All we’ve done by the increase is make them appropriate for the kinds of offenses we’re talking about.” One high-priced online hooker said she’s no victim — and she doesn’t know any women who are. “If you are an escort, you go into it of your own free will,” she said. “Absolutely no one is forced into doing this. You don’t have to be affiliated with any agency. I’m not forced to do anything I don’t want.” The new law calls for at least five years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000 for the new state crime of human trafficking for sexual servitude.