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Prostitution in Minnesota is Not a Victimless Crime

Hollywood glamorizes prostitution in a number of ways. When checking out the streets of St. Paul and Minneapolis where prostitution stings tend to net arrests, it is anything but a scene on a movie screen. It is a rather nasty thing in a number of ways.

First of all, it is in no way a victimless crime. There is always a victim and, many times, it is the prostitute. They were somehow entered into a life that they most likely didn’t want or desperation drove them into it. It is anything but glamorous. While law enforcement cracks down on prostitution for the sake of public safety and the fact that prostitution and solicitation in Minnesota is against the law, sometimes what they find is rather heart wrenching.

Prostitution is defined as the act of an adult doing sexual acts, taking pornographic images, and performing erotic dance in exchange for money or anything of value. They can receive food, shelter, money, drugs, or protection in exchange for sex. If an adult or child is compelled through fraud, force, or coercion to do sexual acts, then the term that is used is “sex trafficking.” In this case, there is a third party that benefits from the pornographic images, erotic dance or sexual acts that the prostitute is paid for. There are some prostitutes that look like business people working to make money by selling sex. Those who are trafficked are victims of coercion.

Consider this: The average age for a woman to enter into prostitution is 12 to 14 years old. The law says that a 12 to 14 year old is not old enough to consent to the sexual acts that they are performing, thus indicating that the minor doesn’t have any choice. Some studies state that up to 75 percent of women who are exploited in this way are victims of childhood sexual abuse. It is also estimated that up to 75 percent of girls and women who are prostituted are being controlled by a pimp. Surveys have shown that 89 percent of the women in the trade want out, but they don’t know how to do it. This shows that there is something happening within the realm of prostitution that warrants prostitutes receiving help rather than strict criminal penalties.

Some have probably noted that when prostitution stings occur, the women and men who are caught, especially the prostitutes, do not always receive strict sentences. The “johns” tend to receive a harder slap on the wrist. However, the more times a prostitute is caught, the stricter the criminal penalties each time. It is important to fight the criminal penalties and try to find assistance because the criminal record can make traditional employment difficult, driving these women and men back into the sex trade.

In order to curb prostitution, there are many community conversations occurring regarding the prevention of sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. There are groups throughout the Twin Cities and the state of Minnesota that are dedicated to stopping sexual violence and reducing the impact of sex trafficking on the area.

Please contact our attorney for the most up to date information regarding the current laws. This article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship.

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