California Penal Code §§ 647(b)(1) – (3) – Soliciting Prostitution
Section 647(b) of the California Penal Code makes it illegal to solicit prostitution in exchange for money. The law also makes it a crime to solicit or agree to engage in prostitution with any adult over the age of 18 in exchange for compensation. Additionally, Section 647(b) makes it illegal to solicit or agree to engage in prostitution with a minor under the age of 18 in exchange for compensation.
Penal Code §§647(b)(1)-(3) is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,000. Soliciting a minor can result in a year in county jail and a fine of $10,000.
Why is Prostitution Illegal?
Prostitution laws are in place to protect public health and welfare, protect minors who might otherwise become involved in the sex industry, discourage other forms of crime, and reduce the incentive to victimize women.
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What are the 3 Types of Prostitution?
As with other countries, prostitution in the United States can be divided into 3 broad categories:
- Street prostitution - A form of sex work in which a sex worker solicits customers from a public place, most commonly a street, while waiting at street corners or walking alongside a street, but also other public places such as parks, benches, etc.
- Brothel prostitution - A brothel is a place where people engage in sexual activity with prostitutes. However, for legal reasons, brothels often describe themselves as massage parlors, bars, strip clubs, or body rub parlors.
- Escort prostitution - An escort is a person who is paid to spend time with someone. The escort may accompany a client to dinner, a concert, business functions, an upscale hotel, or simply spend time talking.
An escort is paid for their time, not for sex. Escorting is not illegal if it does not involve sex. However, many prostitutes attempt to avoid criminal charges by claiming they provide escort services.
Does Prostitution Violate Human Rights?
Yes. Prostitution is a form of sexual exploitation and violence against women and is, therefore, it is considered a human rights violation. It is an exploitative system that commodifies, objectifies, and dehumanizes those being sold within the system.
Arguments for the Legalization of Prostitution
Proponents of legalizing prostitution believe eliminating it as a crime would help improve public health, generate tax revenue, help people out of poverty, get prostitutes off the streets, and allow consenting adults to make their own choices. They argue that prostitution is a victimless crime or a legal offense to which all parties consent and no one is injured.
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