In 2014, a report from the New England Center for Investigative Reporting released a report that police in Worcester, Massachusetts were disproportionally arresting more women than men for prostitution. The report listed only 14 men arrested compared to the 157 women arrested in 2013, and 144 women arrested versus only 16 men in 2014.
After this statistic was released women like Nicole Bell decided to make a change and take a stand against this injustice. These women formed the Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (WAASE). The organization includes an alliance with the city's division of public health, law enforcement, hospitals, local colleges and dozens of substance abuse and recovery institutions. The organization aims to create a community that views sex trafficking as a crime and considers buyers, facilitators, and traffickers as criminals and treats victims and survivors with dignity and respect.
Local Law Enforcement and WAASE outreach workers ride with the police during sting operations to offer to help the prostitutes rather than arrest them. Founding member of WASASE, Athena Haddon told Mass Live "I've been doing this for 10 years. The Progress we've made in the last two years is more than I've ever seen." Members of the organization feel the success has come from the change in law enforcement's attitude toward the women. Local police have begun setting up sting operations that primarily focus on catching the Johns.
The shift in focus has led to a flip in the previously reported numbers. As of 2015, police made 72 total prostitution arrests, of the 72 arrested 49 were men.
Arrested under Prostitution Charges?
If you've been arrested under prostitution charges in Boston or the surrounding areas, get into contact with the Russell Defense Firm today. The penalties for prostitution are serious, you could face up to 2 years in jail and thousands of dollars in fines.
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