Understanding Prostitution and Solicitation
Published 05/06/16 by Admin
In the state of Ohio, prostitution and solicitation are illegal. Still though, prostitution and solicitation can be an issue, especially in today’s society. Sometimes, a person can find themselves in a situation where they are facing prostitution or solicitation charges and must seek out an attorney or legal counsel in dealing with this issue. It can be a complicated matter, but a little understanding of this topic can go a long way towards understanding what a person should do if they find themselves involved in such a situation.
What is Prostitution?
You will quickly realize that there are two different definitions of “prostitution that a person should be aware of. The first is a textbook definition, and the second is a legal definition of the word.
Merriam-Webster defines prostitution as: “the act or practice of engaging in promiscuous sexual relations especially for money.”
While this definition helps a person understand the basic idea of what prostitution is, the much more important and appropriate definition that a person should know if they find themselves facing prostitution charges is the legal definition.
The legal definition of what prostitution is may vary from state to state, but in the state of Ohio, prostitution is defined as: “sexual activity for hire”.
Prostitution and everything that it entails is covered by the Ohio Revised Code, specifically it is detailed in § 2907.25.
What are the elements of prostitution?
There are three different categories where a person may find themselves looking at prostitution charges. Each of the three categories has its own collection of elements that must be proven in order to show that an individual is guilty.
Prostitution – Ohio Revised Code § 2907.25
- No person shall engage in sexual activity for hire.
This is the only true element of regular prostitution. It must be shown that the individual engaged in sexual activity and that that sexual activity was paid for.
Compelling prostitution – Ohio Revised Code § 2907.21
- No person shall knowingly do any of the following:
- Compel another to engage in sexual activity for hire;
- For a prosecution under division (A)(1) of this section, the element “compel” does not require that the compulsion be openly displayed or physically exerted. The element “compel” has been established if the state proves that the victim’s will was overcome by force, fear, duress, or intimidation.
The definition of “compel” is an essential element in understanding § 2907.21 because it does not necessarily take on the traditional definition of compulsion. Instead, the definition has a broadened meaning in the state of Ohio that encompasses many other ways in which an individual can compel another to engage in sexual activity for hire.
Promoting prostitution – Ohio Revised Code § 2907.22
- No person shall knowingly:
- Establish, maintain, operate, manage, supervise, control, or have an interest in a brothel or any other enterprise a purpose of which is to facilitate engagement in sexual activity for hire;
- Supervise, manage, or control the activities of a prostitute in engaging in sexual activity for hire;
- Transport another, or cause another to be transported, in order to facilitate the other person’s engaging in sexual activity for hire;
- For the purpose of violating or facilitating a violation of this section, to induce or procure another to engage in sexual activity for hire.
The promotion of prostitution, similar to the act of prostitution itself, is illegal in the state of Ohio. There are several different ways that an individual can be charged with promoting prostitution and understanding the elements can help prevent such a situation.
What are the penalties for a prostitution charge?
Similar to the different elements of prostitution for the different categories, there are also different penalties for the different categories of prostitution. In all of these situations however, a person found guilty is subject to a fine and/or time in prison. If an individual is convicted of child prostitution, that individual is mandatorily required to be put on the Sexual Offender Registry.
A person found guilty of prostitution is guilty of a third degree misdemeanor.
A person found guilty of compelling prostitution is guilty of a third degree felony.
If the prostitute who is compelled to engage in sexual activity for hire is sixteen years of age or older but less than eighteen years of age, the individual found guilty of compelling prostitution is guilty of a second degree felony.
If the prostitute who is compelled to engage in sexual activity for hire is less than sixteen years of age, the individual found guilty of compelling prostitution is guilty of a first degree felony.
A person found guilty of promoting prostitution is guilty of a fourth degree felony.
If the prostitute involved in the situation is a minor, then the person found guilty of promoting prostitution is guilty of a third degree felony.
What is solicitation?
Some people believe that prostitution and solicitation are basically the same thing, but that is actually not the case. Solicitation is defined differently by Ohio’s legal system and carries different elements and penalties in the court of law.
Merriam-Webster defines solicit as: “to offer to have sex with (someone) in return for money.”
Prostitution is the physical act of engaging in sexual activity for hire. Solicitation occurs when an individual seeks out another individual and offers to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money. The act of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for payment is not required for an individual to be found guilty of solicitation.
The legal definition of solicitation in the state of Ohio is: “a person shall solicit another who is eighteen years of age or older to engage with such other person in sexual activity for hire.”
“Sexual activity for hire” is defined as: “an implicit or explicit agreement to provide sexual activity in exchange for anything of value paid to the person engaging in such sexual activity, to any person trafficking that person, or to any person associated with either such person.”
In other words, sexual activity for hire occurs when an agreement is made to provide sexual activity for payment with anything of value. This payment can be to either the person trafficking the individual who will be engaging in sexual activity or to the individual them self. This agreement can be either implicit or explicit.
What are the elements of solicitation?
In the state of Ohio, the elements of Solicitation are provided in the Ohio Revised Code § 2907.24
Those elements are:
- No person shall solicit another who is eighteen years of age or older to engage with such other person in sexual activity for hire.
- No person shall solicit another to engage with such other person in sexual activity for hire if the other person is sixteen or seventeen years of age and the offender knows that the other person is sixteen or seventeen years of age or is reckless in that regard.
- No person shall solicit another to engage with such other person in sexual activity for hire if either of the following applies:
- The other person is less than sixteen years of age, whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person.
- The other person is a developmentally disabled person and the offender knows or has reasonable cause to believe the other person is a developmentally disabled person.
What are the penalties for a solicitation charge?
The penalties for solicitation vary depending on the specifics of the solicitation charges. However, all situations involve the possibility of a fine and/or time in prison as well as possible other penalties including suspension of driver’s license and/or community service. An individual who is found guilty of solicitation of a minor may be mandatorily required to be put on the Sexual Offenders Registry.
If an individual is found guilty of solicitation, that individual is guilty of a third degree misdemeanor.
If an individual is found guilty of solicitation involving a person between the ages of sixteen to seventeen, that individual is guilty fifth degree felony.
If an individual is found guilty of solicitation involving a person who is under the age of sixteen, that individual is guilty of a third degree felony.
How a prostitution attorney can help.
An individual never wants to find themselves in a situation where they are facing charges for prostitution or solicitation. However, if they do, it is important that individual has legal representation to assist them in fighting these charges or representing that individual in a court of law.
A prostitution attorney can be essential in (1) proving an individual’s innocence, (2) fighting the charges, or (3) working to reduce a sentence in a worst-case scenario where an individual is found guilty. The law can be a tricky area and there are many nuances and areas that require a more in-depth interpretation of the law. A prostitution attorney is an individual with a legal mind and specialized knowledge and skills in that particular area that would better understand the ins and outs of the law related to prostitution and solicitation.
It is possible that some individuals may find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time, and are actually innocent of the crimes they are being accused of committing. By hiring a prostitution attorney, a person is giving themselves the best possible opportunity they can have of fighting false charges.
A highly skilled prostitution attorney will work for that individual to ensure that everything that can possibly be done, is done to ensure that the best possible outcome for each case. A person does not have to face these charges alone and they are entitled to representation to prevent themselves from potentially being taken advantage of by the legal system. Depending on the details of a particular case regarding prostitution or solicitation, the charges can carry a heavy maximum penalty if an individual is charged.
To help prevent this problem, a person should hire a prostitution attorney when faced with a legal dilemma involving prostitution or solicitation. There are many attorneys or law firms in the state that specialize in or have an advanced understanding of Ohio’s prostitution or solicitation laws that can provide their clients with the strongest possible case.