Massachusetts G.L. c. 265, § 50: Trafficking of persons for sexual servitude; trafficking of persons under 18 years for sexual servitude; trafficking by business entities; penalties

Under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, section 50, it is a crime for any person or business to participate in the trafficking of any person for commercial sexual purposes or for sexual servitude. A person or business can be convicted under this statute only if the Commonwealth proves one of the following to be true, beyond a reasonable doubt:

(1) The defendant knowingly engaged in one of the following acts:

(a) Subjected, recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided or obtained (or attempted to do any of those acts), or otherwise caused, another person to engage in:

  • Commercial sexual activity;
  • A sexually explicit performance; or
  • The production of unlawful pornography; or

(b) Benefitted, either financially or by receiving anything of value, from any of the acts described above;

(2) The defendant knowingly engaged in one of the acts described in paragraph (1) above, and the victim of that act was a person under 18 years old; or

(3) The defendant knowingly engaged in one of the acts described in paragraph (1) above, and the defendant is a business entity.

The statute also permits a victim of this crime to bring a civil lawsuit against the defendant, and expressly makes any business entity that knowingly aided or was a joint venturer in trafficking of persons for sexual servitude civilly liable to the victim for that participation in the crime.

Related Offenses
  • G.L. c. 265, § 26D (enticement of child under age 18 to engage in prostitution, human trafficking, or commercial sexual activity)
  • G.L. c. 272, § 2 (enticing away person for prostitution or sexual intercourse)
  • G.L. c. 272, § 7 (support from, or sharing, earnings of prostitute)
  • G.L. c. 272, § 29A (posing or exhibiting child in state of nudity or sexual conduct)
  • G.L. c. 272, § 53A (engaging in sexual conduct for a fee; engaging in sexual conduct with a child under age 18 for a fee)
Defenses to Trafficking of Persons for Sexual Servitude

Oftentimes, the evidence that supposedly supports the criminal charge of trafficking of persons for sexual servitude has been obtained illegally, or in violation of the defendant’s constitutional rights. A skilled defense attorney will seek to suppress all such evidence, as well as any evidence that was obtained from that illegally seized evidence. If successful, the Commonwealth will be prohibited from using that evidence against the defendant at trial. In some cases, the suppression is so broad that it leaves the prosecution with an extremely weak case, forcing them to either dismiss charges, or offer the defendant a more lenient deal.

Penalties

If convicted under G.L. c. 265, § 50, the defendant faces a minimum sentence of 5 years, and up to 20 years, in prison, along with a fine up to $25,000. The statute prohibits any reduction of the prison sentence to anything less than 5 years, and makes the defendant ineligible for parole, probation, or furlough, or to receive a sentence reduction for good behavior, until the defendant has served the minimum 5-year term. Conviction will also result in mandatory registration with the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board.

If convicted under the statute, and the victim was under 18 years old, then the defendant faces a minimum sentence of 5 years, and up to life in state prison. Otherwise, the terms of the sentence are as stated above.

If a business entity is convicted under this statute, the business may be fined up to $1 million.

Human Trafficking Defense Attorney Stephen Neyman

Human trafficking is a felony in Massachusetts. The broad scope of the statute reaches any person who facilitate or have any involvement, no matter how remote, in sex trafficking. If you have been charged with human trafficking or any other sex crime, it is essential that you obtain representation from a criminal defense lawyer who is experienced in defending clients accused of these types of crimes. Attorney Stephen Neyman has represented clients against these serious crimes for over 25 years. Please contact Attorney Neyman today at 617-263-6800 for a free consultation.

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