Articles Tagged with prostitution

Prostitution is illegal in the majority of states in America, including California. Often referred to as the “world’s oldest profession,” at its most simple definition, prostitution is the exchange of sex for money. People are divided as to whether prostitution is a victimless crime, as sex workers often endure serious physical, financial, drug, and sexual abuse. Others, especially in states that permit prostitution, like Nevada, argue that it is a job like any other.

California’s Prostitution Laws

Prostitution is the exchange of sex for money or other form of payment. California laws define prostitution as a lewd act requiring physical contact of a sexual nature, sexual conduct, or sexual intercourse between two people. The sex worker is often the person charged with prostitution crimes.

California’s Solicitation Laws

Solicitation is an offer to pay money for sex. The john or client is often the person charged with solicitation crimes.

California’s Pandering Laws

Pandering is the act of arranging a sex act between a sex worker and client for a fee or cut of the amount charged. The panderer is called a pimp or madame and is often charged with pandering crimes.

Defenses to Prostitution Charges

Law enforcement agencies throughout the country set up sting operations to round up prostitutes and their clients. Every couple of months numerous arrests for prostitution and solicitation charges make the media, with over a dozen people arrested in a sting. Individuals charged with prostitution often rely on the defense of entrapment by an undercover police officer if their arrests were part of a sting operation by law enforcement officials.

Minors can no longer be charged with prostitution crimes with the passage of SB 1322, which decriminalized prostitution for individuals under 18. These individuals are instead referred to child welfare services.

Charged With a Prostitution Crime in California?

Prostitution and solicitation crimes are considered nuisance crimes, that lower the standards of a community. They make a big splash because prominent people often get arrested for solicitation. While jail sentences tend to be short, many times the sex workers themselves are repeat offenders, and their penalties increase with each arrest. Pandering charges tend to be felonies and carry long jail terms. If you face prostitution, solicitation, or pandering charges in California, consult a qualified San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney who can help mitigate the penalties. Continue reading

Prostitution has been illegal in California since 1872.  However, despite the over-a-century-long history, some sex workers claim that engaging in sexual activity for money is part of their right to earn a living. A sex workers’ advocacy group, the Service Providers Legal Education and Research Project, is seeking to decriminalize prostitution and has filed a constitutional challenge to the anti-prostitution law in California, saying it violates constitutional protections on free speech, freedom of association, and due process. The plaintiffs also include three unidentified former prostitutes and a disabled man who says he wants to be a respectful client of erotic services.

Citing the landmark 2003 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down the sodomy law in the state of Texas, the plaintiffs in this case argue that sexual conduct among consenting adults is a “fundamental right.”

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled that the legal challenge may proceed.

A change in the status of sex workers could have a big impact on California beyond escorts and prostitutes. Deterring human trafficking is one reason that state authorities have cited for keeping the law as is. Currently, prostitution is illegal in all 50 states with the exception of a few Nevada counties.

Current California Law on Prostitution:

California Penal Code § 647(b) explicitly prohibits:

  • Engaging in the act of prostitution, and
  • Offering or agreeing to engage in the act of prostitution.

The crime of prostitution or solicitation of it is a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months imprisonment and a $1000 fine. However, California law does not automatically require registration as a sex offender if you have been convicted of prostitution.

California Penal Code § 653.22 further makes it a crime punishable by six months imprisonment to loiter to commit prostitution (i.e. standing in a street corner).

Legal Defenses

Entrapment occurs when police behave in a way that applies pressure or defrauds you to engage in behavior you otherwise would not have. Entrapment defenses are sometimes used, since a number of prostitution/solicitation arrests are made by undercover cops. Many defendants are unfairly lured by saavy cops.

Other Related Crimes

California Penal Code § 266 covers the crimes of “pimping” and pandering, while California Penal Code § 647(a) covers lewd conduct in public. Lewd conduct occurs when  someone engages in a sexual act in public. Continue reading

In a shocking study just released by researchers from the University of San Diego and Point Loma Nazerene University, results estimated there are 8,830 to 11,773 underage and adult sex-trafficking victims in San Diego per year. This number is much higher than originally thought, and victims of sex trafficking come from all races and socioeconomic backgrounds, although 98% are female. It is estimated that $810 million spent on prostitution annually is connected to sex-slavery. However, only 15 to 20% of human trafficking victims in the county come into contact with law enforcement.

Typically, under-aged girls are recruited under the guise of romance by an older male at a public place such as the mall or school. They then get manipulated to work the streets to support their older ‘boyfriends.’ In the internet age, social media such as Facebook is also being used to recruit girls. Children who don’t fit in with their peers, or those who suffer from mental illness are often targeted. Other times, an experienced prostitute posing to be an under-aged girl enrolls in schools to help with recruitment.

In 2012, the District Attorney’s Office prosecuted 48 human trafficking, pimping, and pandering cases of adults and minors. That number has fluctuated the past several years. The same office is also responsible for prosecuting human trafficking-related cases as well as racketeering and gang activity.