Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Hawaii

Prostitution and a variety of acts related to it are crimes under Hawaii law. In addition to criminal penalties, under certain circumstances some prostitution-related crimes require the defendant to register as a sex offender.

Prostitution-Related Crimes

Prostitution consists of either

  • engaging in, or offering or agreeing to engage in sexual conduct for a fee, or
  • paying, or offering or agreeing to pay to engage in sexual conduct.

Sexual conduct need not actually take place, nor must money actually change hands. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1200.)

Prostitution itself is a petty misdemeanor in Hawaii. The penalty for a first conviction is either probation or thirty days or less in jail, in addition to a $500 fine. If the crime occurs within certain designated areas, 30 days in jail become mandatory unless the court elects for probation. In these cases, if the court chooses probation the defendant must be prohibited from entering or remaining in the designated areas at night. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § § 712-1200, 712-1207.)

Promoting prostitution is separated into degrees, both of which are felonies. In the first degree, it consists of using or profiting from the use of force, threats, fraud, or intimidation to cause someone to engage in prostitution. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1202.)

Promoting prostitution in the second degree occurs when the defendant knowingly does any of the following

  • causes or helps someone to engage in prostitution
  • obtains prostitution customers or attempts to persuade others to become customers
  • supplies prostitutes or customers
  • allows premises to be regularly used for prostitution
  • participates in the operation of a brothel or prostitution ring
  • takes part in any other conduct intended to assist an act of prostitution, or
  • accepts or receives anything of value as the result of an agreement to receive prostitution earnings.(Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1201 – 712-1203.)

Second degree prostitution promotion becomes a first degree crime if the prostitute is under the age of 18. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1202.)

Property used in the course of promoting prostitution may be subject to forfeiture. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712A-4.) This means, for example, that someone who repeatedly uses a car to transport prostitutes to their customers may have to forfeit the vehicle to the government if convicted. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § § 712A-5, 712A-5.5.)

Loitering for purposes of prostitution occurs when, in order to commit prostitution, someone stays or wanders around in a public place and repeatedly

  • beckons to
  • stops
  • attempts to engage in conversation with, or
  • interferes with passers-by.

The crime also occurs where someone stops or attempts to stop motor vehicles for that purpose. It is a separate crime to take part in any of the same conduct with the goal of advancing prostitution—that is, facilitating it in virtually any way without actually engaging in it. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1206.)

Promoting travel for prostitution involves offering to sell or actually selling travel services that are intended to allow someone to commit prostitution. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1208.)

Soliciting prostitution near a school or public park occurs when someone offers or agrees to pay for sexual conduct while within 750 feet of either location. It is a misdemeanor. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1209.)

Habitual solicitation of prostitution occurs when someone who has had two or more prostitution convictions within ten years offers or agrees to pay, or actually pays someone to engage in sexual conduct. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § 712-1209.5.)

Sex Offender Registration

Prostitution-related crimes may also trigger a duty to register with the government for as long as the offender’s lifetime. For example, someone who attempts to persuade a minor to commit prostitution will be classified as a “sex offender” and subjected to registration duties. Sex offenders must register with the attorney general and the local chief of police, providing a host of personal information. Among their duties, registrants must also report to the local chief of police within 30 days of each birthday to be photographed and to confirm or update their personal information. (Haw. Rev. Stat. § § 846E-1, 846E-2.)