Laws Regarding Prostitution in Minnesota

Minnesota Criminal Defense Attorney

Prostitution is illegal in Minnesota as it is in all but eight counties of Nevada in the United States. In Minnesota, penalties can be harsh including jail time and registration as a sex offender (which can be a life-long punishment).

Prostitution is illegal both for the buyer of sex (under the law against solicitation), the selling of sexual services (selling the prostitute’s own services ) and pimping (selling the services of someone else).

Sex trafficking (forcing someone into prostitution, often as part of sex trafficking) is punished as a most egregious kind of prostitution and is prosecuted under “sex trafficking laws.”

The Question of Illegality of Prostitution.

The question of why prostitution is illegal has, in fact, come into serious consideration. Many philosophical-minded legal minds, like Martha Nussbaum, want to make distinctions between the high-priced call-girl who picks her own clients and the street worker controlled by a pimp.

However, the law makes no such distinction. Prostitution and all it’s support structure is illegal because it is base and demeaning to sex workers and their customers. Legalizing prostitution would fail to protect women, benefit their pimps, and increase the market for sex trafficking and the modern slave trade. Prostitution is also linked to organized crime and other anti-social forces.

There have been international experiments in legalizing prostitution to relieve the criminal sanction against many of the women(and men) who are driven to prostitution out of economic necessity.

Sweden has made it legal to sell sex (to be a prostitute), but illegal to buy sex (illegal solicitation) so that only the buyers of sexual services and the pimps would be punished under the law.

The Swedish law recognizes that women who become prostitutes are the victims of sexual exploitation. It’s the men who use prostitutes and exploit them who are the “sexual predators.”

The Reality of Minnesota Law.

There is no such thinking in Minnesota law, although engaging in prostitution does have significantly lesser punishments than buying the services of a prostitute.

  • Adults (18-years-old or higher) engaging in prostitution are committing a gross misdemeanor with penalties of a year in jail and a $3,000 fine.
  • Being a customer of an adult prostitute subjects a person to fines ranging upwards of $500 depending on where the prostitution was purchased (in a private place, $500, in a public place, $1,500, in a school zone jail time is added). The penalty for buying sex from a minor (under 18-years-old) are very severe (if the child is under 13-years-old means jail up to 20 years in prison and up to $40,000 in fines, hiring a prostitute who is 16 or 17 years old means up to 5 years in prison and a $10,000 fine).
  • More than one offense increases penalties significantly.
  • Sex Trafficking means up to 20 years in prison and $50,000 fine (per count). If the trafficking is aggravated by physical injury to the victim, it could mean 25 years in prison and a $60,000 fine.
  • Anyone convicted of hiring a prostitute under 13 years old will be required to register as a sex offender in Minnesota. Being a registered sex offender is a significant penalty because the registry can severely restrict the ability to find employment or rent housing for the rest of an offender’s life.

Legal Defenses Against Prostitution Charges.

Victims of sex trafficking who can prove they are afraid of beatings or other punishments for not carrying out the practice of prostitution can use their situation as a legal defense. However, people in these circumstances have to be careful because using this defense always requires a confession of guilt. Children or older adults (older than 55) who are supported by a prostitute’s earnings are exempt from criminal prosecution for pimping (benefiting from the sex trafficking prohibition).

It’s possible for the parent or guardian of a child whom he or she believes is being pressured into prostitution to seek a protection order for the child. The court can also order the return of a minor who has been recruited into prostitution. If a pimp violates these protection orders, criminal penalties can follow.

If you have been accused of prostitution-related charges, you should immediately contact legal counsel expert in these matters to try to mitigate criminal penalties.

Judith Samson Attorney At Law has been working closely with clients to educate them on their rights and produce the best possible results for over 20 years. Please contact me to learn more.

Disclaimer: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

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