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Is Prostitution Illegal in Maryland?

Prostitution is not permitted in Maryland in any form. This includes solicitation, which is the act of buying, known as assignation in the state; selling; and pimping, which is primarily linked to human trafficking in Maryland. The switch in focus from pimping, or pandering as it was commonly known, to human trafficking was an important step to address the aggressive and coercive way women and young girls are forced into prostitution. If you are charged with pimping, it is a far more serious charge than you might assume.

Definition of Prostitution in Maryland

The state defines prostitution under Md. Code Ann. (Criminal Law) Section 11-301 as vaginal intercourse, sexual contact, or any sexual act that involves an exchange of money. It can be a misdemeanor when the person knowingly:

  • Engages in an act of prostitution or assignation, which is setting the appointment or meeting for prostitution;
  • Authorizes a building or any other structure they control or own to be used for acts of prostitution or assignation;
  • Sets up or operates a building or another structure for acts of prostitution or assignation;
  • Authorizes entry into a building or another structure being used for prostitution or assignation; or
  • Solicits or procures or offers to solicit or procure someone for prostitution or assignation.

Human Trafficking in Maryland

Human trafficking is a growing crime, not just in Maryland. It often involves illegal immigration and/or minors, but that is not always the case. Human traffickers go after the most vulnerable, forcing them into unpaid labor jobs or prostitution. If you have been charged with human trafficking in Maryland, it is a felony and you could be facing up to 25 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

Human trafficking can involve:

  • Taking or destroying a passport or other form of government identification of someone else to use in a prostitution related crime;
  • Placing someone into a place that is for prostitution;
  • Receiving something of value in exchange for procuring people for a place of prostitution;
  • A parent or guardian who consents to letting someone take their child for prostitution;
  • Persuading or coercing a person to be taken into a place of prostitution; or
  • Participating in a scheme that leads someone to believe if they do not participate in a sexually elicit performance they will be seriously physically harmed or restrained;

Knowingly conspiring or aiding someone to do human trafficking carries the same penalties as if the conspiring party committed the act him- or herself. Also, knowingly benefitting in a financial manner or receiving anything of value in exchange of human trafficking will result in the same penalties as if the party committed the human trafficking themselves.

Because prosecutors want to convict the highest charge, sometimes they overreach when going after a conviction for human trafficking. This is where you definitely need a skilled Maryland criminal defense attorney who can help you get the charges reduced.

Contact a Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney

If you have been charged with a crime related to prostitution, contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-870-1200 and let one of our skilled criminal defense attorneys help prepare the best defense possible.

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