MA: City enforces prostitution law

By Jessica Van Sack  |   Sunday, April 20, 2008  |  |  Local Coverage


Photo by Mark Garfinkel/file

The city has begun using a long-ignored law to slap sex-seeking johns with a $300 fine and seize their cars, one week after the Herald reported that the Hub was failing to enforce the prostitution ordinance.

“I commend the commissioner and the Boston Police Department for their swift action,” said Councilor at large Michael F. Flaherty. “Enforcing this law should make these creeps think twice before preying on our neighborhoods.”

On Friday, a Boston police sweep dubbed Operation Squeeze targeted the notorious streetwalker corners of Dudley Square and Grove Hall, nabbing seven men who allegedly were seeking back-seat trysts.

But they won’t have a back seat for at least 48 hours, now that the BPD has gotten private towing companies to hold the cars as the city ordinance allows. In a slight modification to the original bylaw – which requires suspects pay a $300 fine to retrieve their cars – cops also issued a separate $300 citation to the alleged johns. Under the law, the money will provide funds to rehabilitate ex-hookers.

“We’re doing the best to enforce as many parts of the ordinance as we can,” police spokeswoman Elaine Driscoll said yesterday.

Flaherty discovered at a recent hearing on sexual exploitation that the city had shelved the bylaw, passed by the 13-member council and signed by Mayor Thomas M. Menino in November 2004.

The law was the brainchild of Hyde Park Councilor Robert Consalvo, who yesterday said he was “pleased” at the effort to put the law to use. “We thought it would be a very effective tool in ridding the city of prostitution,” Consalvo said.

The Menino administration had failed to inform the council that the bylaw wasn’t being enforced and last week gave a litany of reasons why the law was unenforcable.

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