This used to be a fairly rare charge, and usually was applied to "pimps" in the traditional sense. This changed recently, and we are seeing persons who utilize the services of a prostitutes, or even give a ride to a prostitute be charged with this offense. See attorney Keith Hall's recent blog on this trend.
We now see people who merely wrote a review on an online website who are charged with this crime. I have also had a client who gave a prostitute a ride to a hotel charged with this crime. There was a recent article in the Seattle Times newspaper, about the King County Prosecutor, Dan Satterberg said King County is the first jurisdiction in the country to charge “an organized group of sex buyers” with promoting the prostitution of women from South Korea, who are brought to the U.S. to work as prostitutes and are shuttled between major cities.
Definition and Penalty
There are several different levels of this crime:
RCW 9A.88.070 - Promoting prostitution in the first degree.
(1) A person is guilty of promoting prostitution in the first degree if he or she knowingly advances prostitution:
(a) By compelling a person by threat or force to engage in prostitution or profits from prostitution which results from such threat or force; or
(b) By compelling a person with a mental incapacity or developmental disability that renders the person incapable of consent to engage in prostitution or profits from prostitution that results from such compulsion.
(2) Promoting prostitution in the first degree is a class B felony.
This crime is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, and by up to a $20,000.00 fine.
RCW 9A.88.080 - Promoting prostitution in the second degree.
(1) A person is guilty of promoting prostitution in the second degree if he or she knowingly:
(a) Profits from prostitution; or
(b) Advances prostitution.
(2) Promoting prostitution in the second degree is a class C felony.
This crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, and by up to a $10,000.00 fine.
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