Prostitution, Pimping, and Pandering Laws in South Carolina

South Carolina has laws against buying, selling, or profiting from the sale of sex. For more information on prostitution laws generally, see Prostitution.

Prostitution, pimping, and pandering is punished more severely if the crime occurs within 100 yards of a child care facility. Penalties are discussed below. (S.C. Code of Laws § 63-13-200.)

Prostitution

Prostitution --exchanging sex for money (or other items of value)-- is illegal in South Carolina. You may not:

  • indecently expose oneself for the purpose of prostitution or other indecency, or
  • reside in, enter or remain in any place, structure, building, vehicle, trailer or conveyance for the purpose of lewdness, assignation or prostitution.

(S.C. Code of Laws § 16-15-90.)

Pimping and Pandering

It is also illegal to pimp (make money from a prostitutes earnings) or pander (facilitate prostitution) in South Carolina. Specifically, it's against the law to:

  • keep or set up a house of ill fame, brothel or bawdyhouse
  • aid or abet prostitution knowingly
  • procure or solicit for the purpose of prostitution
  • direct, take or transport, offer or agree to take or transport or aid or assist in transporting any person to any vehicle, conveyance, trailer, place, structure or building or to any other person with knowledge or having reasonable cause to believe that the purpose of such directing, taking or transporting is prostitution, lewdness or assignation, or
  • lease or rent or contract to lease or rent any vehicle, conveyance, trailer, place, structure or building or part thereof believing or having reasonable cause to believe that it is intended to be used for any of the purposes herein prohibited.

(S.C. Code of Laws § 16-15-90.)

Patronizing

It is illegal to patronize (buy) a prostitute’s services in South Carolina (those who do so are commonly called "johns"). You commit the crime of patronizing a prostitute if you:

  • receive any person for purposes of lewdness, assignation or prostitution into any vehicle, conveyance, trailer, place, structure or building, or
  • permit any person to remain for the purpose of lewdness, assignation or prostitution in any vehicle, conveyance, trailer, place, structure or building.

(S.C. Code of Laws § 16-15-90.)

Punishment

The penalties for the crimes described above vary according to whether this is a first or subsequent offense; and include fines, jail (or prison) time, or both. Other penalties apply to crimes relating to prostitution by minors.

Prostitution, pimping, pandering

For a first offense, penalties include a fine of up to $200, up to 30 days in jail, or both. This increases to a fine of up to $1,000, six months in jail, or both; for second offenses. And for third and subsequent offenses, penalties include a fine of up to $3,000, a year (or more) in prison, or both.

If the offense was committed within 100 yards from a child care facility, you will be fined up to $10,000, imprisoned for up to ten years (or both), in addition to the penalties described above.

Encouraging or soliciting minors

It is a felony to permit, encourage, or solicit a minor to engage in prostitution. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, up to ten years in prison, or both. (S.C. Code of Laws § 16-15-335 & 16-15-342.)

Sex offender registration

In South Carolina, people convicted of promoting the prostitution of a child under the age of 18 are required to register as sex offenders on the Central Registry of Child Abuse and Neglect.

(S.C. Code of Laws § 17-25-135.)

Getting Legal Advice and Counsel

If you are charged with prostitution or a related crime, you should contact a South Carolina criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you navigate the criminal justice system and obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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