Prostitution is often referred to as the world’s oldest profession, and there are several arguments that state-sanctioned prostitution should be legalized across the country. Currently, Nevada is the only state that allows legal prostitution, meaning that it is a punishable offense in California. This is delineated in the state penal code, which states that any person who succeeds or intends in engaging in sexual conduct for money (or any other measurable transaction or consideration) can be charged with prostitution.
The only caveat to this is if the person does so as part of any stage performance, play, or other entertainment that is open to the public. This is where the line can be muddied, as there is no shortage of reports of exotic dancers or masseuse artists who claim that they have experienced entrapment by an officer who solicits a greater sexual act from them and subsequently charges them with prostitution.
Regardless of the risks, the American sex trade is going strong. Between 2005 and 2011, a “pimp,” a person who shops out a prostitute and reaps financial benefits for finding clients, in San Diego brought home, on average, more than $11,000 every week. Surprisingly enough, out of eight major American cities, this was on the low-end of the weekly pay spectrum. Pimps in Atlanta, by comparison, were bringing home an average of nearly $33,000 every week in the same time period.
This money could be one reason that prostitution remains a statistically popular crime. Nevada, despite being the only state with jurisdictions in which prostitution is technically legal, had the highest rate of arrests by percent of the population, at 0.14 percent in 2010. California, however, was the second-highest, with 0.04 percent of the population having been charged with prostitution in the same time period. That was more than 11,000 people in that year alone. This is despite harsh punishments for prostitution in California, which range from fines to probation and jail time.
If you or someone you know has been accused of prostitution or a related offense, do not go through it alone. The most important step is to seek legal counsel. Contact an experienced Santa Clara County criminal defense attorney today.