Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Arizona

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In Arizona, it is a crime to buy or sell sex, or to facilitate, or make money from the buying or selling of sex. Arizona also has laws against child prostitution.

For more information on prostitution laws generally, see Prostitution.

Under Arizona’s laws, a person commits the crime of prostitution by engaging in (or offering or agreeing to engage in) sexual conduct in exchange for money or anything else of value. Both people who buy and sell sex can be convicted of prostitution.

Sexual conduct includes vaginal, oral, and anal sex, fondling, and sadomasochistic activities.

Cities and towns may also have their own laws against prostitution.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3211, 13-3214.)

Child Prostitution

In Arizona, a person commits the crime of child prostitution by:

  • engaging in a prostitution with a minor (someone who is under the age of 18)
  • causing any minor to engage in prostitution
  • using any minor for prostitution
  • transporting a minor into or across the state for the purpose of prostitution
  • allowing any minor in his or her custody to engage in prostitution
  • receiving any benefit for procuring a minor for the purpose of prostitution
  • receiving any proceeds from the prostitution of a minor, or
  • financing, managing, or controlling any prostitution activity involving a minor.

It is not a defense to a charge of child prostitution that the “prostitute” is a police officer or other person posing as a minor for law enforcement purposes, unless the charge is engaging in prostitution with a child who is between the ages of 15 and 18 and the defendant did not know that the “child” was under 18 years old.

For example, if a police officer posing as a child prostitute told the defendant that he or she was 16 years old, then the fact that the officer was of age would provide no defense.

Taking a child. It is also a crime in Arizona to take a child from the child’s parent or guardian for purposes of prostitution.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3206, 13-3212.)

Pimping and Pandering

Laws against pimping and pandering are aimed at third parties who benefit from, facilitate, promote, or make money from prostitution. In order to be convicted of pimping or pandering, the defendant must know that prostitution is occurring.

For more information on pimping and pandering, see Pimping and Pandering.

Under Arizona’s laws, it a crime to:

  • transport another person across or into the state for the purpose of prostitution
  • receive any portion of a prostitute’s earnings
  • place another in a house of prostitution or elsewhere for the purpose of prostitution
  • receive money for placing another in a house of prostitution or elsewhere for the purpose of prostitution
  • compel or encourage another to engage in prostitution
  • procure another to engage in prostitution by fraud
  • operate or maintain a house of prostitution or a prostitution enterprise (any organization or group that provides sex for money)
  • be employed by a house of prostitution or a prostitution enterprise
  • detain a person in a house of prostitution due to a debt
  • cause your spouse to engage in prostitution by force, fraud, or threats, or
  • entice another to engage in prostitution.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-3202, 13-3203, 13-3204, 13-3205, 13-3207, 13-3208, 13-3209, 13-3210.)

For example, people who encourage girls to become prostitutes, take their money, or help locate girls to become prostitutes are all guilty of pimping or pandering under Arizona’s laws.

Punishment

Prostitution is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500. A defendant must serve at least 15 days in jail for a first offense and 30 days for a second offense. A defendant convicted of a third offense of prostitution must serve 60 days in jail and complete a court-ordered education or treatment program.

A fourth or subsequent offense of prostitution is a class 5 felony, punishable by a sentence of six months in jail to two-and-a-half years in prison. The defendant must serve at least 180 days in jail. In addition to a jail or prison sentence, a felony is punishable by a fine of up to $150,000.

A court must consider any violation of a municipal ordinance against prostitution as a prior conviction.

Child prostitution. Child prostitution and taking a child for the purpose of prostitution are felonies punishable by 13 to 27 years’ imprisonment if the child is under 15 years old, and up to 37 years’ imprisonment if the defendant has a prior conviction for a sex offense or a violent crime against a child.

Child prostitution where the defendant knows that the child is 15, 16, or 17 years old is punishable by seven to 21 years for the first offense and up to 35 years for subsequent offenses.

Child prostitution where the defendant does not know that the child is 15, 16, or 17 years old is a class 6 felony, and the defendant must serve at least 90 days in jail.

Taking a child over the age of 15 for the purpose of prostitution is a class 4 felony, punishable by one year in jail to three years and nine months in prison.

Pimping and pandering. Pimping and pandering are class 5 felonies, punishable by a sentence of six months in jail to two years and six months in prison. However, enticing another to a house of prostitution is a class 6 felony, punishable by one-third of a year in jail to two years in prison, and being employed by a house of prostitution or a prostitution enterprise is a class 1 misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $2,500.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-702, 13-703, 13-705, 13-707, 13-801, 13-802, 13-3202, 13-3203, 13-3204, 13-3205, 13-3206, 13-3207, 13-3208, 13-3209, 13-3210, 13-3212, 13-3214.)

Sex offender registration

A person convicted of child prostitution (except for engaging in prostitution with a child between 15 and 18 whom the defendant does not know is under 18 years old) and taking a child for the purpose of prostitution is required to register as a sex offender.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 13-3821.)

Other consequences

Any teacher convicted of a dangerous crime against children (including child prostitution) will have his or her teaching certificate permanently revoked.

(Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 15-550.)

Similar laws may apply to other professional licenses or jobs.

Getting Legal Advice and Counsel

Being convicted of prostitution or a related crime can have serious consequences, including time in prison or jail, a fine, and a criminal record. Being convicted of child prostitution can result in a lengthy prison sentence, as well as sex offender registration, which can have lasting consequences on where you can live and work. If you are charged with a crime, you should contact an Arizona criminal defense attorney. An attorney can tell your case is likely to fare in court and help you achieve the best possible outcome.

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