Massachusetts authorities arrested 29 would-be johns from big cities and tony suburbs in a series of human trafficking stings aimed at curbing demand for an underground sex trade that’s sweeping the state, the Boston Herald reports. “To effectively combat human trafficking, we must reduce demand and hold sex buyers accountable. Pimps and traffickers rely on the basic principles of economics — supply and demand. If there are no buyers, there is no demand,” said state Attorney General Maura Healey. “These operations again show that human trafficking knows no geographic, demographic, or economic barriers. It is happening in the communities we call home.” Boston police Lt. Donna Gavin said, ““It’s not just a crime that occurs in urban areas, but in small towns. The money that those sex buyers use … in our experience, goes to violent pimps and traffickers and allows them to continue other crimes.”
Participants in a Herald roundtable on Monday moderated by Healey agreed that the sex trade appears to be worse than ever, and has seeped into all corners of society, largely out of public view because the transactions take place online. Nearly all of the men arrested in the new strings were from surrounding towns and suburbs of the places where they were charged. Suffolk University professor emeritus Kate Nace Day, a sex trafficking expert, said studies by the Massachusetts-based anti-sex-trafficking group Demand Abolition show johns are often suburban men with high incomes. The group estimated that more than 20,000 ads selling people for sex are posted online in Boston every month, with each ad receiving an average of 52 responses.