Humanity of the victims is a story yet to be told
The article “Legal approach with brothels may reflect shift on sex trade” (Page A1, Nov. 11) reported on the recent arrest of three individuals who allegedly operated a sophisticated criminal enterprise trafficking women to hundreds of wealthy, well-connected men, including elected officials, CEOs, doctors, lawyers, and professors, in Cambridge, Watertown, and the Washington, D.C., suburbs. While we have yet to learn the scope of the enterprise and the extent of the sexual exploitation, the buyers, since at least 2020, number in the hundreds in this case alone. However, between July 2018 and June of this year, only 13 people were charged with buying sex in all of Middlesex County, including Cambridge and Watertown.
Unfortunately, the extensive coverage of this case has not provided enough information about the victims for people to understand their circumstances or see their humanity. The public has not heard enough about the dynamics of prostitution and how devastating its impact can be.
Our organization has worked with dozens of women who have been sexually exploited commercially in Massachusetts during this same time period. Most were sexually abused as children, all were first trafficked as teens, and every single one was promised a better life. Not one found it.
It would be outrageous if alleged clients were not named
Re “Why aren’t the clients of brothel ring being named?” by Joan Vennochi (Opinion, Nov. 16): Obviously, if the so-called gentlemen who are alleged to have frequented the brothels in Watertown, Cambridge, and sites outside Washington, D.C., were to be named, morality would matter, the trafficking of women would probably be reduced, and the whole racket might cease. But the fix is in. I suspect that money, and lots of it, has been paid and silence has been bought. Is it likely anyone involved has the guts to fess up? Hardly.
Any protection of alleged clients’ identities perpetuates the crime. We name people who are arrested for robbery, assault, and crimes and abuses of all sorts, but people who buy sex and subjugate women get a pass? Disgusting. Full disclosure must be required.