Letter to the Editor

Close the loopholes

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your highly commendable editorial “Let’s close the loophole in State Law to end Human Trafficking.”

Like all your other editorials, you always provide a solution to a problem.

Your solution of closing the loophole in state law by requiring permits is the first necessary step to ending human and sex trafficking in our state.

To reiterate, requiring every person (including receptionists) who work in these establishments to obtain a permit (not just a license), requiring every person to register in person at the local Board of Health, with a valid ID and proof of residence, and routinely inspecting and checking for violations is a deterrent to sex trafficking. Aside from shutdowns, owners and management should face stiff criminal penalties.

The alarming estimate of 200-300 “massage parlors” in Massachusetts, similar to those in Juniper, Florida, operating openly in plain sight, in our own backyards is disgraceful. Its patronage by so-called exemplary elites like Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft captured the front pages, shifting it from a working-class issue to a more mainstream concern.

Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession.

Unlike high-end prostitution or escort services as romanticized in Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman, these sex workers from China have no choice. They are 21st century slaves or indentured servants, forced to live in squalor, moved around to various locations, and forced to service 1,500 men yearly. Fraudulently recruited on false representation of decent employment, they come to America with a deep-hole debt of $40,000 – $60,000. (Source: National Public Radio). Strangers in a Strange Land, they are mere statistics – voiceless, ignored, and exploited.

A society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable.

Let us help those who cannot help themselves and change things we can change. Please join me in working on legislation to close the loopholes in state laws to help end human and sex trafficking in Massachusetts. Email me at: [email protected] . Thank you.

Betty Lim King,

Executive Director

Help for Asian Americans with Addictions

www.thegoodluckplace.org

More than one aspect should be considered

Dear Editor,

What we saw transpire in the last 24 hours was one of the major development interests offering a significant monetary contribution payable to the BPDA out of mitigation funds.

Mitigation funds should benefit the community and not a government agency. As a result of this contribution directly to the BPDA, the BPDA is publicly supporting a study focused solely on the adjacent “planning efforts focusing on the Rutherford Avenue Corridor, including the publicly-owned parcels.”

Yet another focused study of just one aspect of the prolific development in Charlestown is exactly the concern the residents are trying to address with a Master Plan. The development of any single block within a neighborhood that fits into less than a single square mile has a significant impact on the lives of those who live here, and on the irrevocable future of Boston’s oldest neighborhood.

We are concerned that because this prominent developmental interest has promised to contribute $150,000 toward a planning study, that by granting the study in lieu of the Master Plan, the BPDA will effectively have supported the interests of the developer and not the residents of Charlestown.

On a very important side note, the BPDA has stated that “much of Charlestown falls under a neighborhood design overlay district zoning which has some of the most stringent design requirements in the city of Boston zoning code.” This is wholly inaccurate as we have seen many of our historic structures demolished or greatly modified in recent years. Those modifications were approved by the zoning board despite being opposed by the neighborhood and the direct abutters. The reality is that Charlestown, despite being Boston’s oldest neighborhood, has absolutely no historic protections. We ask the BPDA to study Charlestown in its entirety with input from the entire community.

Please sign our petition requesting a Master Plan Study by the BPDA for Charlestown at: CPS-RIS.org/petition/.

Charlestown Preservation Society

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