Even though prostitution is generally considered a victimless crime, it is still prohibited in Illinois. The state takes the moral and social implications of prostitution into consideration as the justification to keep it banned.
In practice, prostitution is generally taken as a moderate offense by the law-enforcement agencies. Unless it involves a massive ring of prostitution, human trafficking or forced prostitution, the State authorities take lukewarm approach to trying individual offenders.
In some cases, people involved in prostitution are forced to take up the profession or unaware of other opportunities and the rights granted to them by the state to get help. Being charged with prostitution while you are already struggling with life can further complicate things.
This is where a good legal defense team can help. An experienced team can negotiate with the prosecution, prepare a strong defense and argue in court much better to get the case dismissed.State Legislation
Prostitution is covered under 720 ILCS 5/11-14. The law states that a person commits the offense of prostitution when he or she knowingly does one of the following.
- Offers, performs or agrees to perform any act of sexual penetration as defined by the law in exchange for anything of value.
- Engages in touching or fondling the sex organs of another person in exchange for anything of value.
The act must have been performed for the purpose of sexual arousal.
A minor under 18 years old is not subject to prosecution but he or she can be put under temporary protective custody. The authorities are required to investigate if the person is a victim of child abuse or neglect.Solicitation of Sex
Solicitation of a sexual act is an offense related to prostitution. In this case, a person offers anything of value in exchange for sexual conduct. The one exception to this is when a person solicits a sexual act from his or her spouse.Punishments
Prostitution is Class A misdemeanor and can be punished with up to one year in prison. The offense can be elevated to a Class 4 felony if the act or offer of prostitution tales place within 1,000 feet of a school. A Class 4 felony is punishable by 1 – 3 years in prison.
A person can also be tried with a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent prostitution charge.
A judge has the discretion to sentence a defendant with up to 24 months of probation for a first prostitution felony.
Solicitation of sex is a Class A misdemeanor. It may be elevated to a Class 4 felony if the defendant solicits sex from a minor or someone with severe case of intellectual disability.Patronizing Prostitution
Patronizing the services of a prostitute is also an offense. A person commits the offense when he or she
- Engages in a sexual act with a prostitute.
- Enters of remains at a place where prostitution occurs while intending to engage in a sexual act.
Patronizing a prostitute is a Class 4 felony. If the act occurs within 1,000 feet of a school or if it is a subsequent charge it can be tried as a Class 3 felony which is punishable by 2 – 5 years in prison.
Patronizing a juvenile prostitute within 1,000 feet of a school or a subsequent prostitution conviction with a minor is a Class 2 felony and punishable by 3 – 7 years in prison.Profiting from Prostitution
A person who receives payment for or profits from the act of prostitution by someone else can also be charged with a felony. The severity of the charge depends on the level of contribution provided and whether the person forced another into prostitution.
If the act of prostitution takes place within 1,000 feet of a school or the person forced into prostitution is a minor, the charge can be leveled up to a more severe Class of felony.Examples and Court Cases
While prostitution itself is often frowned upon and punished by the courts, people who facilitate or force others into prostitution are seen as a somewhat bigger menace to society. Some of the most severe punishments on prostitution related charges have been handed out to people who profited from running prostitution rings.
In a recent case, Fabrieal Delaney, 32, was sentenced to 45 years in prison for forcing two underage girls and a young woman into prostitution.
Officials state that Delaney used verbal abuse, physical violence and drugged his victims to maintain control over them as he forced them into prostitution. The man had started grooming the girls when they were all less than 16-years-old.
Delaney was arrested in a sting operation after federal officers pretended to hold a bachelors party and asked for his service. Delany brought the two girls and the young woman from Michigan to engage in sexual activity with as many as 12 men at the party.
In another case a woman working at a massage parlor in Joliet was arrested and charged with prostitution after allegedly propositioning a man.
BaoXia Li, 52, had allegedly propositioned one of the customers for a sexual act who reported the incident to Crest Hill police. An undercover officer later went to the same parlor for a massage and reported that Li patted his groin and propositioned him as well. She was arrested shortly after the incident.
Sexual stimulation of any kind, with or without penetration, can be considered an act of prostitution if it is performed in exchange for monetary compensation. Something that may be considered prostitution in one culture may not be seen as a sexual act in another. This is what appears to have happened in the case of BaoXia Li.Possible Legal Defenses
Prostitution charges can be interesting or complicated depending on the case circumstances. While sexual act between consenting adults is considered perfectly legal, sexual act in exchange for anything of value can be charged as prostitution.
This opens up the possibility to deny that any exchange of value was involved. A good defense team can get the evidence surrounding exchange of value removed or create enough doubt to get the charges dismissed.
Charges can also be brought up against someone accused of patronizing prostitution or soliciting sex in exchange for money. A common defense in such cases is to argue from ignorance. The defendant may claim that he or she was not aware that the person they engaged with sexually was a prostitute.
The best defense for a person charged with profiting from or facilitating prostitution is to deny involvement or intention to facilitate the activity. A capable defense team can create enough doubt or get evidence removed from consideration. This may get the sentencing reduced or the charges dropped altogether.