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Mass. Senate Votes To Ease Penalty For First Time Prostitution Offenses

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BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts Senators have passed a budget amendment that addresses prostitution.

The Senate voted in favor of adopting the measure during their Wednesday morning debate on the budget.

The amendment would create a “pretrial diversion program” to educate and deter first-time offenders caught soliciting or engaging in prostitution.

Individuals charged with human trafficking or participating with an underage victim would not be eligible for the program, which would educate first-time offenders on the effect commercial sex and trafficking has on victims, as well as the associated health risks.

Charges would be dropped against individuals who successfully complete the program.

Supporters say the program will weaken demand and kill supply for prostitution and sex trafficking in Massachusetts.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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