What conduct is criminalized through prostitution laws?
In the cinema blockbuster “Pretty Woman,” a young prostitute is hired by a wealthy man to escort him through a variety of commitments. In the end and in true Hollywood form, the man and woman fall in love and she ends her life on the street. While this fairy tale story may provide for good entertainment, it glosses over the very serious side of a somewhat misunderstood criminal charge.
Prostitution is illegal in Louisiana and almost every other part of the country. What makes this broad prohibition so interesting is that prostitution has been present in practically every society since the beginning of time and is often called “the oldest profession.” It can be hard to understand why something that has existed for so long is criminalized when its practice is somewhat ubiquitous.
Generally speaking, prostitution is the contracting of sexual favors for compensation. Anyone involved in the contracting process can be criminally charged, whether the individual is offering sex for money, asking for sex in exchange for money or taking part in a sex act for which money will be exchanged. To this end, both the prostitute and the individual seeking his or her services can be criminally charged for partaking in a transaction involving money and sexual favors.
Regardless of the rationale behind a prostitution law, any individual who has been charged as a prostitute or as a solicitor of sexual favors will quickly learn how serious prostitution charges can be. Convictions on prostitution and solicitation charges can result in jail time, the loss of rights and other serious penalties that can impose long-term consequences on a person’s future.
Few prostitution stories end up with Hollywood endings. Despite the prevalence of the practice in and throughout society, prostitution remains a very serious and damaging criminal matter. Individuals facing prostitution or solicitation charges may choose to work with criminal defense attorneys to sort through their legal troubles.