Prostitution

What is Prostitution?

Considered the world’s oldest profession, prostitution is the exchange of money for sex, and it is illegal. In Minnesota, it’s a crime to provide the sexual services for money, and it’s also a crime to buy sex, so both the service works and the customers could be charged.

For adults engaging in prostitution with other adults, the penalties, while serious, are not as significant as for an adult engaging in child prostitution. That is a felony with significantly longer prison sentences of up to 20 years.

In order to convict someone of engaging in prostitution, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The age of the prostitute or sex worker;
  2. That the defendant hired, offered, or agreed to hire the sex worker to engage in sexual penetration or sexual contact; and
  3. That the defendant’s act took place on or about a specific date in the county in which it was charged.

Engaging in prostitution isn’t the only criminal statute prohibiting sex, specifically with minors, in exchange for money or other things of value. The mere act of trying to arrange for sex with a minor, even if there is no intention or agreement to pay for it or exchange something of value. The effort made to hook up with a minor itself can be charged under Solicitation and Solicitation of a minor.

What is a commercial sex act?

Federal law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given or received by any person.

The entire law is written in broad language and is designed to criminalize the pimps, patrons, and purveyors of child prostitution, with harsh penalties including a 15 year mandatory minimum to a potential life sentence.

There are defenses to sex trafficking, and the Government still has a high burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  1. A conviction for federal sex trafficking requires proof that there was a commercial sex act;
  2. and/or that the person/people trafficked were under age 18,
  3. and that that interstate commerce was used or affected.

This opens up a lot of avenues for making legal challenges and undercutting the prosecution’s case. Every indictment is based on a set of facts specific to the defendants charged, and cookie-cutter defense just won’t work.

An experienced federal sex crimes defense attorney will work with you to establish a solid theory of defense to try to beat the charges at every stage.

Catherine has represented clients facing charges of federal sex trafficking. She’s an experienced female federal criminal sex crimes defense attorney.