While Orlando police have arrested people for prostitution-related crimes for decades, the enforcement methods have had to change with the times. In today’s world, law enforcement relies heavily upon the Internet in deciding who and how to arrest. Craigslist was the primary Internet source of prostitution information for police, but Backpage has now replaced it.
Internet Prostitution and Solicitation
In early September, Craigslist made a decision to remove the “Adult Services” section from its website. Craigslist made its decision after politicians, attorney generals and law enforcement called for it to be banished; claiming it fueled and enhanced the prostitution industry.
However, even some of the biggest anti-prostitution advocates correctly predicted that Craigslist’s removal from the market would open the door for other Internet sites to offer almost the exact same forum. Backpage.com is now the leading online tool for advertising erotic or prostitution-related services.
Backpage’s “adult” section includes subcategories for: escorts, body rubs, strippers & strip clubs and adult jobs. While the advertisements may be adult-oriented, they aren’t necessarily providing illegal services.
Prostitution under Florida Law
In Florida, prostitution means the giving or the receiving of the body for sexual activity for hire, excluding sexual activity between spouses.
Each defense case is unique, as different facts, circumstances and evidence are involved. Just because someone is arrested and charged with soliciting a prostitute does not mean they have committed a crime. However, all people accused of sexual crimes face serious injury to their reputation.
Florida law provides for severe punishment for people convicted of prostitution-related offenses. Repeat offenders may face especially harsh punishment through felony charges of prostitution or solicitation.
Some of the tools that courts use to punish prostitution offenders include:
- Jail Time
- Expensive Fines
- Mandatory STD Testing
- Mandatory Attendance in a HIV Awareness Class