Prostitution sting operations, or pre-planned interactions with prostitutes and their johns that lead to arrests, are increasing on Florida’s streets. With underage prostitutes on the roads, sex trafficking operations, and big bosses making profits off the exploitation of disturbed women, the underground world of prostitution continues to exist and thrive. Interestingly, Orlando arrest records demonstrate that prostitutes have a greater chance at being arrested than their patrons, and johns are caught and punished even less frequently as they are more “behind the scenes.” Regardless of whether a person is cashing in on the “business” by organizing prostitution, committing the sex act, or soliciting the sex act, each of these offenses have very serious consequences associated.
Florida: 5th Highest Arrest Rate for Prostitutes in United States
Officers recently arrested five women in the Daytona Beach area on prostitution charges, the owner of a prostitution ring was sentenced at the federal level, and over 100 individuals were implicated in a complex prostitution ring throughout the state. These recent arrests demonstrate that 1) it is primarily the prostitutes themselves being arrested and not their bosses or patrons being arrested, and 2) prostitution crimes are taken seriously in Florida. As of 2010, Florida had the fifth highest arrest rate for prostitutes in the country.
Despite the crackdown on those involved in prostitution in Florida, it is increasingly easier to access individuals willing to engage in sexual activity in exchange for pay given developments in technology. Craigslist is still a go-to for meet ups; even though soliciting for sex directly on these sites is forbidden, getting in contact with someone from the site may get you what you eventually want. Many other websites and social media applications have been developed to accommodate those looking for these types of services.
Criminal Entrapment: A Defense to Prostitution Charges
With so many available platforms to accomplish prostitution, it is not surprising that prostitution continues to thrive on the streets despite arrests and punishments being issued so commonly. Not only do these sites make it easier for customers to find individuals willing to perform services, but it also gives law enforcement officers more information about the location of these operations and makes it easier for them to participate in sting operations. One of the most common defenses to prostitution charges for the individual accepting money for the sexual act is a criminal defense called entrapment.
Entrapment, essentially, means that a police officer puts the defendant in a situation where they are likely to, and ultimately do, commit a criminal offense. It is extremely controversial in most jurisdictions, including Florida, because it can be difficult to prove that the prostitute would have engaged in the criminal act without the involvement of the undercover police officer or agent. It is not unlawful to utilize undercover police officers to conduct investigation or involve themselves in criminal conduct to potentially make arrests generally, but entrapment is a different issue. It is a very complicated defense that is difficult to use properly in court without the proper assistance.
What To Do if You’ve Been Charged
Being convicted of a prostitution-related offense can lead to months or years in jail and far more significant penalties if minors or human trafficking are part of the situation. Prostitution charges can be very difficult to defend, especially in the event that an undercover police officer was involved. The state may attempt to demonstrate that the person had a predisposition to committing prostitution and therefore, entrapment cannot be used as a defense in many instances. Successful defense of these charges requires an intelligent, methodical, and creative approach to crafting a defense and ensuring your legal rights are protected.
Our experienced prostitution criminal defense attorneys at Moses & Rooth are former prosecutors who have seen prostitution from both sides of the table; we collectively have the experience necessary to defend your pending criminal prostitution charges. Contact our Orlando-based office and be proactive in defending your criminal prostitution offense.