When the average person is asked to define prostitution, the first image that comes to mind is an individual standing on a street corner and offering to engage in sexual activity in exchange for cash. While that is certainly one of the more common ways that prostitution takes place, it pays to understand this type of illegal behavior can take on more than one form. Here are some points to keep in mind about prostitution, the laws that govern the conviction and penalties that apply in the state of New York, and how a conviction can impact the individual for the rest of his or her life.
How an Act of Prostitution Occurs
While there are many different settings and ways to go about soliciting customers, the basic scenario is the same. The client and the prostitute make contact with one another, discuss what type of activity is desired, and settle on a price. At the appointed time and place, the parties meet and engage in the activity. Either before the activity or immediately after, the client provides the agreed-upon fee in cash. The parties then go their separate ways and may or may not ever see one another again.
Who Can Be a Prostitute?
In 49 out of the 50 states, prostitution is a crime. What may surprise some is that the laws in some states have to do with women only. Other states have drafted laws that would apply to all genders. New York’s laws apply to anyone who seeks to obtain money in exchange for providing sexual favors.
This means that a male who chooses to solicit funds in exchange for sexual favors can also be legally designated as a prostitute. In such a scenario, the individual is subject to arrest, time spent in jail, and a possible fine. As with women who engage in this type of activity, men would face penalties based on their prior records and the strength of the evidence confirming their solicitations.
Prostitution and Escort Services
Escort services typically provide companionship for specific types of events. These can include someone to have dinner with or go to a show or movie. Escorts also serve as companions for events like attending college reunions or as a date for a formal dinner or other business-related activity. In spite of what some may think, most escort services discourage their employees from accepting cash offers for sexual favors. When an escort is found to have engaged in prostitution, loss of employment along with a fine or jail time imposed by the courts is a real possibility.
While most escort services are legitimate businesses that offer no more than what they publicly advertise, others are another means of connecting with individuals for the intent of engaging in intimate activity. Those are often identified by the authorities and monitored closely for evidence of prostitution. When enough evidence is collected, raids are likely to result.
Prostitution in the Age of the Internet
The days when solicitation was confined to word of mouth or veiled references in print advertising were the only means of offering favors are over. The Internet provided a new way to reach out to potential clients, and for those clients to find prostitutes who could provide them with what they sought. In recent years, authorities have taken steps to curb online solicitation and arrest those who are found in violation of current laws.
The Results of a Conviction
Once a conviction for prostitution is on the record, it will have an impact on the person from then on. The damage goes beyond the fine imposed by the court or the short time spent in jail. Whenever the individual seeks employment and a criminal background check is conducted, the conviction will show up. Repeated offenses will mean the prior record increases the fine or leads to more jail time. The bottom line is that opportunities that the individual could have enjoyed otherwise will no longer be available.
A conviction can also mean the loss of a spouse, friends, and others who choose to sever ties. New acquaintances, upon learning of the conviction, may choose to turn away. Life can get lonely and become much harder than many people realize.
Whatever ethical or moral beliefs people may hold about prostitution, the act remains illegal in New York. Any person accused of the crime should seek legal counsel as soon as possible. Doing so could mean the difference from time spent in jail and being cleared of those charges