West Virginia prostitution law

While West Virginia’s laws prohibiting prostitution appear to be lengthy and wordy at first sight, they are very similar to other states’ laws that detail prostitution-related crimes and their penalties. Considered both misdemeanors and felonies, the laws cover the full gamut of offenses related to prostitution.


Anyone who engages in sexual acts in exchange for a fee may be found guilty of prostitution. Further defined as guilty of prostitution is one who solicits, induces, entices or procures another to commit an act of prostitution. Similarly, anyone who resides in or remains in a house of prostitution and anyone who aids or abets any of the previously mentioned acts is considered guilty of the offense of prostitution.

Charges typically result in a sentence of imprisonment for 60 days up to 6 months and a fine from $50 to $100.

Patrons of prostitutes get the previously mentioned sentence for first offenses, but they receive more serious offenses for subsequent offenses. Second offenses may be given time in jail from 6 months to 1 year and fines from $100 to $500. Third offenses (and beyond) are charged more seriously and receive time in prison for 1 to 3 years.

Pandering and pimping

In West Virginia, anyone who procures an inmate for a house of prostitution or an associate for a prostitution enterprise is guilty of pandering. Additionally, anyone who promises, threatens with violence or makes fraudulent claims in order to cause another to become an inmate in a house of prostitution (or to remain an inmate) may be charged with pandering. Sentences for pandering are 6 months to 1 year in prison for the first offense and 1 to 5 years in prison for subsequent offenses.

Pimps who receive money or other valuables as a result of the proceeds of a prostitute’s business or the proceeds of a house of prostitution may receive sentences for jail time from 6 months to 1 year for their first charge and 1 to 3 years in prison for charges beyond their first.

House of ill fame

A house of ill fame (many times known as a house of prostitution) is the cause of many people being charged with various offenses. One who rents, keeps, maintains, operates or owns a place used primarily for prostitution may be guilty of this brothel ownership. Along the same lines, someone who allows anyone to remain in or to enter a house of prostitution with the purpose of committing acts that are illegal may be guilty of promotion. Anyone who directs a person to a house of prostitution or to do business with a prostitution enterprise may be convicted of promotion. These crimes are punishable with sentences of 6 months to 1 year in jail for the first offense. Second and additional offenses receive 1 to 5 years in prison.


It is illegal in West Virginia to keep, hold, restrain, detain or attempt to hold anyone against their will in a house of prostitution or as an employee in a prostitution enterprise with the purpose of having that person pay a debt.

If the prostitute in question is a minor, the person detaining him or her is guilty of a felony charge and may receive 2 to 5 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.

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

Prostitution laws in US cities:

Prostitution laws in Canada