Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in Oregon

Under Oregon’s laws, it is a crime to buy or sell sex, make money from or facilitate prostitution, or force another person to engage in prostitution.

For more information on prostitution laws generally, see Prostitution.

In Oregon, a person commits the crime of prostitution by engaging in (or offering or agreeing to engage in) sexual conduct, including fondling, in exchange for a fee.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § § 167.002, 167.007.)

Oregon’s law against prostitution applies only to people who sell sex. People who buy sex can be charged with patronizing (see below).

Patronizing

People who buy sex (sometimes called “johns”) commit the crime of patronizing by paying, offering to pay, or agreeing to pay for sexual conduct.

Patronizing is punished more severely if the prostituted person is a minor (a person under 18 years old).

(Or. Rev. Stat. § 167.008.)

Promoting Prostitution

Laws against promoting prostitution (sometimes called pimping or pandering) are aimed at third parties who benefit from or help others commit prostitution. In order to be convicted of promoting prostitution in Oregon, the defendant must know that prostitution is occurring.

For more information on these crimes, see Pimping and Pandering.

In Oregon, a person promotes prostitution if he or she:

  • owns or manages a place of prostitution or a business of two or more prostitutes
  • causes a person to engage in prostitution
  • receives (or agrees to receive) money earned from the prostitution of another person, or
  • engages in any conduct that aids or facilitates prostitution.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § 167.012.)

For example, a person who finds customers for prostitutes could be convicted of promoting.

Compelling Prostitution and Child Prostitution

Under Oregon’s laws, it is also a crime to do any of the following:

  • force or intimidate another person into engaging in prostitution
  • cause a child, stepchild, or spouse to engage in prostitution
  • cause a minor to engage in prostitution, or
  • aid or facilitate the prostitution of a minor.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § 167.017.)

Defenses

It is no defense to a charge relating to child prostitution, including patronizing a minor, that the defendant did not know that the child was under 18 or reasonably believed the child to be over 18.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § § 167.008, 167.017.)

For example, a “john” who agrees to pay for sex with a 16-year-old prostitute could be punished more severely even if the defendant reasonably believed the prostitute was over 18.

Racketeering

People who engage in prostitution or related crimes can also be charged with racketeering (organized crime) under Oregon’s racketeering law.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § 165.715.)

For more information on racketeering prosecutions, see State RICO Laws.

Punishment

Prostitution is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $6,250. Patronizing is also a class A misdemeanor.

If a person is convicted of patronizing a minor, the court must impose a fine of $10,000 or as much as the defendant can pay. For subsequent offenses the court must impose a fine of $20,000 or as much as the defendant can pay and time in jail.

Promoting prostitution is a class C felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $125,000.

Compelling prostitution and child prostitution are class B felonies, punishable by up to ten years’ imprisonment, and a fine of up to $250,000.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § § 161.605, 161.615, 161.625, 161.635, 167.007, 167.008, 167.012, 167.017.)

Sex Offender Registration

People convicted of promoting or compelling prostitution are required to register as sex offenders in Oregon.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § § 181.594, 181.595.)

Other Consequences

People who are convicted of any crime related to prostitution are ineligible for a teaching or school administrator’s license in Oregon. Teachers or school administrators who are convicted after earning their licenses will have their licenses revoked and must apply for reinstatement.

(Or. Rev. Stat. § § 342.143, 342.175.)

Similar laws may apply to other state licenses.

Seeking Legal Advice and Representation

A criminal conviction related to prostitution can have dire consequences, including time in prison or jail, stiff fines, job loss, and even sex offender registration – which can impose lasting restrictions on your ability to work and live where you choose. If you are charged with such a crime, you should contact an Oregon criminal defense attorney. An experienced defense attorney will be able to tell you what to expect in court and advocate on your behalf so that you can achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

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