What You Need to Know about Prostitution Charges in NJ
New Jersey’s prostitution laws might be a bit more expansive than you might imagine. According to NJSA 2C:34-1, the definition of prostitution includes “sexual activity with another person in exchange for something of economic value or the offer or acceptance of an offer to engage in sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value.”
So, what does this mean exactly? First, the legislature used the words economic value in place of money for a reason. Drugs serve as a commodity in some transactions involving sex for hire. Other items of value may have a similar effect.
However, consider something else. Under the law, it essentially takes two when it comes to prostitution. Patrons or “johns” also face charges under NJ’s prostitution laws.
Generally speaking, first-time offenders over the age of 18 walk away with a disorderly persons convictions, which comes with its share of penalties. Meanwhile, they live with the stigma.
Other associated crimes involving prostitution represent more serious charges. For starters, you should know that the law also identifies particular places as “houses of prostitution.” They represent locations “where prostitution or promotion of prostitution is regularly carried on by one person under the control, management or supervision of another.”
You can find yourself charged with promoting prostitution in a few circumstances. First, consider what constitutes a house of prostitution. For example, more than one legitimate massage parlor owner has been accused of running a brothel. In fact, a 61-year-old woman faces charges that she ran a house of prostitution out of a swanky spa at the Jersey shore.
Promoting prostitution means that a third party somehow became involved in the business of trading sex for economic value. In the case of houses of prostitution, it not only includes running the business. Securing clients and procuring sex workers also fall into this category.
In the meantime, you might be surprised. You might own or have control property that is used for prostitution. If you’ve decided to turn a blind eye, you could find yourself fighting charges of promoting prostitution. However, the prosecution needs to prove that you knew of the activities and made no attempts to stop them.
What if you work in a local hotel and send prostitutes upon request? This too constitutes promoting prostitution. Of course, it’s also illegal to arrange or “pimp” prostitutes and take any cut of their earnings.
There are other concerns when it comes to promoting prostitution in New Jersey. For example, you can’t take someone over state lines for the purpose of prostitution.
Prostitution Charges and Minors
Patrons who engage in sexual activities with minors face issues with consent. The argument that the accused did not realize the prostitute was underage may not matter.
Additionally, promoting prostitution of a minor elevates the level of crime in the eyes of the law. Again, the fact that the minor lied about his or her age may be of little consequence.
A guilty conviction of either of these charges would most likely require registering as a sex offender.