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Mass. High Court Upholds Law Criminalizing Profiting From Prostitution

John Adams Courthouse, home of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)
John Adams Courthouse, home of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. (Joe Difazio for WBUR)

Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court has upheld a law that makes it a crime to profit from prostitution, ruling a man caught during a human trafficking sting was a pimp and should be prosecuted as one.

The Boston Globe reports the high court upheld Jonathan Brown's 2017 conviction of deriving support for prostitution. He argued the law was too vague.

The court disagreed, concluding the law is clearly aimed at those who knowingly and intentionally engage in human trafficking by sexually exploiting the vulnerable.

The court noted in its 7-0 ruling that the word "pimp" has never appeared in the language of laws targeting them, despite being a historically understood term for human traffickers.

Attorney General Maura Healey's office says law enforcement relies on the law in question to target human traffickers.

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