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Buyers Beware: California's Crackdown on Soliciting Prostitutes

Prostitution has long been known as the "world's oldest profession". Yet, today's business of prostitution has morphed into a multi-billion international sex trade industry that treats women and even children as disposable commodities. Some have even likened it to slavery, as women and young children are sold, bought, and used for sex.

Pimps, gangs, and criminals, who long ago realized that prostitution was more lucrative than the drug business, now largely run the industry. After all, you can re-sell the same woman several times a night and the demand-driven industry has a seemingly inexhaustible supply of johns. As more women are pushed into the sex industry, children are also being groomed on the side for the lifestyle of being a sex worker. It is estimated that the average age a prostitute enters the field is just 12-years-old.

California has begun cracking down on the johns that drive the industry and the pimps that supply the women. Numerous sting operations this year alone have already arrested dozens of johns throughout California, including in Oakland, Auburn, Fairfield, and South Los Angeles.

In addition to going after the johns and pimps, Compton, Long Beach, and Lynwood have also begun recognizing child prostitutes as victims and they are no longer arrested for "prostitution".

In April, a delegation from Los Angeles County was in Washington for the Senate's passing of the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 (Senate Bill 178). If this bill passes through Congress and is signed by the President, it will change the way johns are prosecuted. Through this law, buyers who solicit and patronize commercial sex with a child will be guilty of committing the crime of sex trafficking. It will also increase the amount of undercover tools that state and local law enforcement officers have at their disposal so they can continue to run sting operations to catch johns. In addition, the bill will increase funding for victim support services.

Until then, being arrested for soliciting a prostitute is still just a misdemeanor. Yet, the penalties and consequences are severe – especially since many of the consequences last far beyond the courtroom. Being arrested for soliciting a prostitute can result in the loss of your job, the destruction of important relationships, and irreparable damage to your reputation in the community.

These consequences are often greater than the ones the law imposes. California law enforcement is aware of this aspect – and so in 2014, several cities in California began posting mug shots of johns on their website and on Facebook. Unfortunately, these mug shots are posted just 48 hours after the arrest – and well before the suspected john is actually convicted in a courtroom.

In addition to the social stigma attached to being arrested for solicitation, if you are convicted of soliciting a prostitute, you could also face criminal charges. Fines for soliciting a prostitute can range from $100 to $1000 and you could face up to 12-months probation and a jail sentence up to 1 year.

Unfortunately, many men who have been arrested for soliciting a prostitute simply plead guilty to avoid further shaming. They also mistakenly believe that there is little an attorney can do to defend against these charges. This is far from the truth. An experienced Oakland prostitution lawyer can defend you against solicitation charges and protect your rights to a fair trial. After all, we are all supposed to be innocent until proven guilty.

Facing Charges? Contact Our Oakland Sex Crime Lawyer Today.

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