New York prostitution laws

New York statutes are quite specific when it comes to addressing the prohibition of prostitution and related crimes. The laws define and organize the severity of the offenses in addition to providing sentencing guidelines. In New York prostitution-related crimes range from being classified as class B misdemeanors to class B felonies.

Prostitution and patronization

New York defines prostitution as when one individual offers to engage in or engages in sexual contact or acts with another person in return for a fee. A class B misdemeanor, defendants facing prostitution charges may serve time in jail for up to 3 months and/or pay a fine up to $500. The courts in New York consider the sex of the parties (whether female or male) to be immaterial when a crime related to prostitution occurs.

Patronization is classified into three different degrees. Patronization on the most basic level is when an individual pays or agrees to pay or offers to pay a fee to another person in exchange for sexual acts or other conduct. Further details may be learned by examining the parameters for each degree of patronization:

  • Patronization in the 3rd degree: patronization of a prostitute who is 14 years old or older; class A misdemeanor. This level of crime is punishable by a sentence to imprisonment of up to 1 year and/or a fine up to $1,000.
  • Patronization in the 2nd degree: patronization of a prostitute younger than 14 years of age; class E felony.
  • Patronization in the 1st degree: patronization of a prostitute younger than 11 years old; class D felony.

The fact that a defendant didn’t have reasonable grounds to know the prostitute was younger than the age specified at the time of the initial agreement is considered a viable defense by the New York court system.

Promotion of prostitution

Four levels of promotion are defined by the New York legislature through its laws. Each degree grows increasingly severe, along with the sentences given as a result of guilty convictions.

Fourth degree promotion is the basic description for promotion of prostitution. It simply says that anyone who knowingly advances or profits from prostitution is guilty of promotion. It’s a class A misdemeanor, with a jail sentence up to 1 year and/or a fine up to $1,000.

Third degree promotion is a bit more serious. Considered a class D felony, the law describes someone who manages, owns, supervises or controls a house of prostitution or a prostitution business is guilty of promotion in the third degree. Additionally, anyone who operates a business that sells travel-related services that include or facilitate the patronization of prostitutes is guilty of third degree promotion. One other aspect of promotion makes an offense a third degree violation. If someone promotes or advances the prostitution of an individual who is younger than 19 years old, a conviction for third degree promotion may be made. This conviction can result in prison sentences for up to 7 years and/or a fine up to $5,000.

Second degree promotion is when someone compels or forces a person to engage in prostitution as a result of threats or intimidation. Additionally, anyone who promotes the prostitution of someone who is younger than 16 years old is guilty of second degree promotion. This is considered a class C felony.

First degree promotion is the most serious category of promotion. It involves the advancement of prostitution acts by someone who is 11 years of age or younger. Anyone who profits from the prostitution of someone who is 11 years old or younger is also guilty of first degree promotion. This is considered a class B felony.

Sex trafficking

The state of New York defines sex trafficking in five different ways, but each defined crime is considered a class B felony, with corresponding punishments. Sex trafficking in New York isn’t limited to transporting someone for the purpose of prostitution like in many states. These are the offenses defined as sex trafficking:

  1. Causing someone to act in an unnatural way and engage in prostitution with the use of Rohypnol, concentrated cannabis, narcotic drugs or methadone to alter attitudes and acceptance.
  2. Making false statements or omissions in order to induce or encourage someone to engage in acts of prostitution.
  3. Withholding, destroying or confiscating passports, immigration documents, government identification or other important papers in order to restrict one’s ability to leave or travel.
  4. Requesting or requiring that acts of prostitution be performed in order to repay or fulfill a purported debt.
  5. Using force, schemes, violent compulsion or threats causing fear to cause someone to engage in prostitution.

Prostitution laws of New York City are covered in a separate article.

The following Nevada counties have their own laws and regulations on prostitution:

Prostitution laws in US cities:

Prostitution laws in Canada