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Why is Prostitution a Crime?

Prostitution is a crime primarily because it is viewed as a form of exploitation and a violation of human rights. Crimes involving prostitution in Tennessee can carry significant punishment so having a prostitution defense lawyer will be critical. Such convictions carry a lifelong stigma and affect your future personal relationships. In this blog, David Clarke, a leading criminal defense attorney in Murfreesboro, Tennessee talks about the crime of prostitution and the importance of having a defense lawyer if you are charged with this crime or the crime of solicitation.

prostitution as a crime. prostitute negotiating with potential client

Consent and How it Impacts Prostitution

One of the key concerns surrounding prostitution is the issue of consent. Proponents argue that individuals should have the freedom to engage in sexual activities of their choice. However, in the context of prostitution, consent can be compromised or nonexistent due to factors such as economic coercion, drug addiction, or human trafficking. When this happens, then consent is not really given.

  • Economic Coercion Men and women who seemingly willingly consent to offer themselves for sex may only be doing so because of poverty, lack of other marketable skills, underage work, homelessness, and other economic limitations of their situation. In this case, they turn to prostitution to get money to survive. Their “consent” is compromised because they are desperate.
  • Drug Addiction Sadly many Americans are addicted to drugs from opioids, cocaine/crack, methamphetamines (Crystal Meth), to any number of illegal street drugs. For example, opioid addiction remains at epidemic levels in the U.S. and worldwide. Three million US citizens and 16 million individuals worldwide have had or currently suffer from opioid use disorder (OUD). Addiction is so powerful that addicts may turn to prostitution as they are unfit for any type of steady legal employment. They sell themselves to obtain money for drugs or for drugs themselves. This is not considered their consensual choice.
  • Human Trafficking Many individuals, particularly women, may be forced into prostitution against their will. When this occurs, consent is no longer theirs to give as they are forced to be a prostitute – a sex slave if you will – for the benefit of their owner or coercer.

Attempting to Buy Sex is Also a Crime

Make no mistake, in Tennessee, it is illegal to patronize prostitution, known as a solicitation. A person hiring a prostitute or offering money or something of value in exchange for sexual services could be charged with solicitation. A low level charge can be a Class A misdemeanor with penalties that may include jail time, a monetary fine, and/or probation. If you are convicted of solicitation near a school, you would receive a mandatory minimum sentence of 7 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

If you are accused of soliciting prostitution from a minor or someone with an intellectual disability, the offense may be elevated to sex trafficking, and you cannot use it as a defense that the minor or person with diminished mental capacity consented. Sex trafficking is a Felony offense (Class A or B) with mandatory minimums and can result in substantial prison time, fines, and a lifelong sexual offender registry.

Call on Top Murfreesboro Criminal Defense Lawyer David Clarke

Since prostitution perpetuates a cycle of violence and harm, our laws are put in place to protect citizens against violence and harm. Also, the risk of sexually transmitted infections and other health issues is a concern of our society and Tennessee law.

Furthermore, in Tennessee, sexual exploitation of a minor can range from solicitation of a sexual act to sexual battery and rape.  We also have aggravated prostitution as a Class C felony crime.

Attorney Clarke is a knowledgeable defense lawyer who understands the sensitivity of these charges and will work aggressively to obtain the best resolution in your case with the utmost confidentiality. Whether you are arrested as a prostitute or as a buyer, we understand you will want to avoid conviction and protect your reputation and future.  

If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex crime such as prostitution, promoting prostitution, soliciting prostitution, or aggravated prostitution, contact the Clarke Law Firm at (615) 796-6299 for your defense.