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Prostitution and Sex Trafficking – One Market, Three Unique Crimes

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Prostitution and sex trafficking are a set of crimes that largely go under the radar in our society and occur much more frequently than most would expect. 60,000-85,000 prostitution related arrests occur each year in the United States. Law enforcement agencies are often more likely to go after the consumers in this industry than focus on the suppliers as they believe without a demand the supply will disappear. This is one of the unique nuances of prostitution and sex trafficking as many those providing the illegal service are treated just as much as victims as offenders. This is significantly different than how other illegal industries are handled and prosecuted. Prostitution crimes and punishments are specified under Minnesota Statute 609.321 and differ significantly depending on what side of the industry the person is accused of participating in.

Patron Crimes

The crimes that the consumer may face include engaging in prostitution, hiring, agreeing to hire, or offering to hire a prostitute. If the individual whose services are being purchased is a minor then the potential punishments become significantly greater. This goes even further as a person who hires, agrees to hire, or offers to hire an individual for sex that they believe to be under age faces the same penalties as someone who actually committed crimes with a person who is a minor. The younger the individual being purchased, the greater the penalties. These are specified below:

Committing one of the acts specified with an individual under 13 years old may face up to 20 years in prison or face a $40,000 fine, or both.

If the individual is between 13 and 16 the possible punishment may be 10 years imprisonment or a $20,000 fine, or both.

If the hired or potentially hired individual is between 16 and 18 years of age, the potential punishment may be five years of prison or a $10,000 fine, or both.

Those are the most harshly punished of the prostitution related crimes. The punishment for a engaging in sexual contact with a prostitute that is 18 or older is a minimum of $500 fine for a first time offender and $1,500 minimum for a second offense within a two year period.

Distribution/Solicitation Crimes

Many of the potential punishments for those soliciting prostitution are harsher than those for costumers. Soliciting, promoting, or receiving profit for the prostitution of an individual under 18 years of age could land the offender in prison for up to 20 years or a $50,000 fine, or both. For a second offense, sex trafficking a victim who was physically harmed, sex trafficking a victim for more than 180 days, or trafficking multiple victims, the penalties grow to up to 25 years in jail or a $60,000 fine, or both.

Solicitation or promotion of prostitution of an individual over 18 is still treated harshly by Minnesota. The crimes include soliciting, promoting, receiving profit, or sex trafficking of an individual. These actions may lead to 15 years imprisonment or a fine of $40,000, or both.

Prostitution Crimes

The crime for the prostitute themselves is significantly less harsh. Engaging in sexual contact, being hired, agreeing to be hired, or offering services with a person 18 years or older is a misdemeanor offense. For the second offense within a two year span, the crime becomes a gross misdemeanor.

Crimes of this nature are difficult to draw a line as a person who is guilty of prostituting themselves may be just as much a victim as they are a perpetrator. This leads to a significant grey area that might be impossible to navigate for the prosecution as going after a single prostitute is inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.

North Star Criminal Defense – Aggressive, Respectful, and Professional

At North Star Criminal Defense, we respect who you are as a person and understand that these allegations may be completely false. We are respectful of you and always aggressive, fighting for your right to due process of law and the presumption of innocence.  Due to the nature of a sex crime charge, many times the accused is presumed to be guilty before any investigation or evidence is presented in court.  We will fight on your behalf to force the prosecution to meet their burden of proving the crime occurred, and will present a vigorous defense on your behalf.

Because even the accusation of a sex crime can carry consequences, it is important to get us involved immediately, even during pre-charge stages if you are the subject of an investigation.  Your liberty, reputation, and future are all at stake. Contact North Star Criminal Defense now so that we can be your legal ally in facing this very challenging time.



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