You may have heard prostitution called “the oldest profession.” Today, prostitution can take many forms, including streetwalkers, brothels, call girls or escort services. Although it is not defined in the law in Michigan, the common understanding is that it consists of offering, agreeing to or engaging in a sexual act for monetary compensation.
In other words, prostitution is sex for money. Yes, this crime is still illegal in all states except for certain parts of Nevada, where it is heavily regulated.
Why is this crime among other crimes commonly called “sex crimes?” The reason is that there are related crimes. Specifically solicitation and pandering (or pimping) – that are actually punished by law more harshly than prostitution and which, if they involve minors, can be punished much more harshly.
As in an earlier article about Theresa Flores, Michigan law enforcement has come to realize that many prostitutes – maybe even the majority – are victims of human trafficking and are being helped to get out of prostitution instead of arrested and put in jail. Here are some recent trafficking statistics for the State of Michigan:
- 220: Cases worked by the FBI in Michigan in 2015
- 62: Cases reported to the National Human Trafficking Resource Center in January through March 2016. About eight in 10 reported victims were female, though an FBI official said male trafficking may be under reported.
- 49: Number of prostitution-related arrests by the Lansing Police Department in the last three years.
It’s very important, if you are reading this and you are facing prostitution charges or are afraid you might be, that you understand the difference between prostitution and human trafficking. No person would ever choose to be sold into sexual slavery and you can be forced against your will even if violence was never used on you.
What is Solicitation?
The person who might be charged with “prostitution” if a situation arises in which a man is caught paying a woman for sex would be the woman, but the man paying could be charged with “solicitation.” The agreement between the two would not have to be explicit – as in a written document. His actions are enough to demonstrate the agreement.
Both prostitution and solicitation are misdemeanors, but solicitation of a minor is a felony. In addition, and this is an important distinction, in order to prove prostitution, the sexual act has to have been committed, but solicitation can be proved by a mere agreement to pay for sex even if no sex act takes place. Solicitation is the encouragement of someone to commit a crime (sex for pay). Subsequent solicitation charges could result in a felony charge in Michigan
What is Pandering?
Pandering is more commonly called pimping. It’s the procuring of a female prostitute for another person. There are two distinctions here. To induce someone to become a prostitute, under Michigan law, is a felony. Pandering on behalf of a woman who already works as a prostitute does not count as a felony even though it is also illegal. However, knowingly sharing in the earnings of a prostitute under Michigan law is a felony – those are separate counts.
Other Related Crimes
Transportation – If someone transports a female within, through or into the State of Michigan for the purpose of prostitution, they are committing a felony.
Keeping a brothel – Leasing or maintaining a house for the purpose of prostitution is a felony in Michigan. The person renting a house to someone with knowledge that they will use it for prostitution is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Penalties for Prostitution Charges
For prostitution and solicitation, first and second offenses are misdemeanors, but the penalty goes up for the second offense.
- The first offense could get you up to 93 days in jail, a fine of $500 or both.
- A second offense could get you 1 year in prison and/or a fine of $1,000.
- Third or more offenses may be a felony conviction and could result in 2 years in prison, a $2,000 fine or both.
Pandering and receiving the earnings of a female prostitute are both felonies in Michigan. It could get you up to 20 years in prison, as could transporting a female within, through or into Michigan for sex.
If you are facing prostitution charges or related charges, you need experienced legal counsel – especially if it’s a crime which could get you placed on the sex offender registry. These are not charges to take lightly. Contact The David J. Kramer Law Firm, PLLC today.
Let’s start fighting to protect your freedom