Prostitution Laws in Ohio

In Ohio, it is a crime to buy or sell sex. Ohio also has laws against child prostitution, solicitation, and loitering for the purpose of prostitution.

For more information on prostitution laws generally, see Prostitution

In Ohio, a person commits the crime by engaging in any sexual activity for hire. Sexual activity includes anal, oral, and vaginal sex, and sexual touching.

(Ohio Rev. Code § § 2907.1, 2907.25.)

Getting out of prostitution

Many people engage in prostitution because they think they have no other alternatives. If you are involved in prostitution and would like to stop, there are organizations that can help you.

Solicitation

In Ohio, it is also a crime to solicit a person to engage in sexual activity in exchange for money.

(Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.24.)

For example, a person who asks another or offers to pay another to engage in sex for money is guilty of solicitation.

Loitering

Ohio also criminalizes loitering for the purpose of prostitution. A person commits the crime of loitering by doing any of the following things in or near a public place (including a driveway or doorway) for the purpose of soliciting someone to engage in prostitution:

  • gesturing to, stopping, or trying to stop someone
  • engaging or trying to engage someone in conversation
  • stopping, trying to stop, or approaching the driver of a car
  • stopping, gesturing to, or getting a person to approach or enter a car, or
  • blocking a person’s movement.

(Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.241.)

For example, a person who gets another person to enter his or her car for the purpose of prostitution is guilty of loitering.

HIV Infection

People who have tested positive for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), and engage in prostitution, solicitation, or loitering can be punished more severely.

(Ohio Rev. Code § § 2907.24, 2907.241, 2907.25.)

For more information see Transmitting an STD in Ohio.

Pimping and Pandering

Laws against pimping (making money from the prostitution of others) and pandering (facilitating or assisting the prostitution of others) are aimed at third parties who benefit from prostitution.

Under Ohio’s laws, it is a crime to compel or promote the prostitution of another, or to procure or find a prostitute or a customer.

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

Child Prostitution

A person commits the crime of child prostitution if he or she:

  • causes or encourages a minor or a person the defendant believes is a minor to engage in prostitution, or
  • pays or agrees to pay a minor or a person the defendant believes is a minor to engage in prostitution.

In child prostitution cases, if the person prostituted is actually a minor, it does not matter whether or not the defendant knows the victim’s age, nor will a mistaken belief that the victim is an adult constitute a defense.

And, if the defendant believes the person being prostituted is a minor, it does not matter if the person is actually over the age of 18. For example, if the defendant pays a person who is 19 for sexual activity, but believes the person is 17, then the defendant is guilty of child prostitution.

(Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.21.)

Punishment

Prostitution, loitering, and solicitation are punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Prostitution and soliciting after testing positive for HIV are punishable by nine to 36 months’ imprisonment, and a fine of up to $10,000. Loitering after testing positive for HIV is punishable by six to twelve months in jail, and a fine of up to $2,500.

If a person uses a vehicle to commit (or attempt the commit) solicitation, the defendant’s driver’s license can also be suspended for six months.

Child prostitution is punishable by nine to 36 months’ imprisonment, and a fine of up to $10,000.

(Ohio Rev. Code § § 2907.21, 2907.24, 2907.241, 2907.25, 2929.14, 2929.18, 2929.24, 2929.28.)

Sex offender registration

People who are convicted of child prostitution are required to register as sex offenders in Ohio.

(Ohio Rev. Code § § 2950.01, 2950.04.)

Testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases

People convicted of prostitution, solicitation, and loitering may be required to submit to mandatory testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, at their own expense.

(Ohio Rev. Code § § 2907.27, 2907.28.)

Other penalties

Under Ohio’s laws, people convicted of child prostitution and prostitution are ineligible for employment with public and charter schools, or for any job at a preschool or head start agency in which they care for children.

(Ohio Rev. Code § § 3301.32, 3301.541, 3319.39, 3319.391.)

Similar restrictions may apply to other jobs.

Getting Legal Advice and Counsel

Being convicted of prostitution or a related crime can have serious consequences, including time in jail or prison, fines, and restrictions on where you can work. A conviction for child prostitution can even result in mandatory sex offender registration. If you are charged with prostitution or a related crime, you should contact an Ohio criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. With an attorney’s help, you can hopefully obtain the best possible outcome in your case.

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