Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Florida

In Florida, it is a crime for people who are not married to each other to buy, sell, offer, solicit, or agree to engage in sexual favors in exchange for money. Florida’s law against prostitution applies to both prostitutes and “johns.”

(Fla. Stat. § 796.07.)

For more information on prostitution laws generally, see Prostitution.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases

It is a crime in Florida for prostitutes and “johns” who know that they are infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), or any other sexually transmitted disease (STD) to engage in prostitution. If a person is infected with HIV, it is also a crime to offer to engage in prostitution.

(Fla. Stat. § 796.08.)

Pimping and Pandering

Laws against the crimes of pimping (making money from another’s prostitution) and pandering (facilitating or promoting prostitution) take aim at third parties who earn money from, or otherwise benefit from, the sex trade. Generally, the defendant must be aware that prostitution is occurring to be convicted of these crimes.

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

In Florida, it is a crime to:

  • force, coerce, or compel another to engage in prostitution
  • live off of or be supported by money earned from prostitution, or
  • entice or procure another to engage in prostitution.

It is also a crime to do any of the following, if the act is done for the purpose of prostitution:

  • rent property
  • own or operate any building or place
  • offer to find a person
  • receive or direct anyone to a place, or
  • enter or remain in any place or vehicle.

(Fla. Stat. § § 796.04, 796.05, 796.06, 796.07)

For example, if a landlord rented a trailer to a person and knew that the person would engage in prostitution in the trailer, the landlord could be convicted of a crime.

Child Prostitution

Under Florida’s laws, it is a crime to cause or procure a child under the age of 18 to be prostituted. It is also felony for a parent or guardian of a child to sell or give the child into prostitution (or offer to do so).

Other crimes, such as pimping and offering to find a prostitute for someone, are punished more severely if child prostitution is involved.

(Fla. Stat. § § 796.03, 796.035, 796.036.)

Civil Suit for Coercion

Under Florida’s laws, a person who is coerced into prostitution or whose earnings are taken by coercion can file a civil lawsuit against the pimp for damages (money). Coercion is broadly defined to include not only physical harm and threats, but also promises of marriage or exploiting a substance abuse problem or prior sexual abuse. A person who files a civil suit cannot be criminally prosecuted for any crimes that he or she testifies about in the case.

(Fla. Stat. § 796.09.)

Punishment

Forcing another into prostitution and living off of prostitution are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.

Causing a child to be prostituted, living off of child prostitution, and forcing a child into prostitution are punishable by up to 15 years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $10,000. Selling a child into prostitution is punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

Renting property for prostitution is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500. If the defendant has previously been convicted of the same offense or if the prostitute is a child, renting is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

Prostitution and other related crimes are punished by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $500 for a first offense. Subsequent offenses are punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. A person convicted of soliciting, inducing, or procuring another for prostitution must also pay a special $5,000 fine.

Engaging or offering to engage in prostitution, while knowing that you are infected with HIV, is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $5,000. Engaging in prostitution when you know that you are infected with another STD is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.

If the person prostituted is a child, prostitution and other related crimes are punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense, and up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 for subsequent offenses.

(Fla. Stat. § § 775.082, 775.083, 796.03, 796.036, 796.04, 796.05, 796.06, 796.07, 796.08.)

Sex offender registration

A person convicted of selling a minor into prostitution or causing or procuring a minor to be prostituted is required to register as a sex offender in Florida. Sex offender registration can impose lasting limitations on where a person can live and work.

(Fla. Stat. § 943.0435.)

STD testing and treatment

A prostitute or “john” convicted of prostitution must submit to STD testing, including HIV testing. If the person is HIV positive, he or she must submit to treatment before being released into the community.

(Fla. Stat. § 796.07.)

Job loss

A person convicted of prostitution or a related crime cannot be certified as a teacher or employed in education in Florida.

(Fla. Stat. § 1012.315.)

Similar laws may also apply to other professions.

Getting Legal Advice and Counsel

If you are charged with a crime related to prostitution, you should contact a Florida criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. With an attorney’s help, you may be able to get the charges reduced or dismissed, obtain an acquittal, or get the lightest possible sentence under the circumstances.

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