Changes to Prostitution Laws

A prostitution sting took place last weekend in Salt Lake City on the heels of amendments to some prostitution laws. What has changed and how does it affect those arrested?

Salt Lake City prostitution sting

Photo by: Nils Hamerlinck

Salt Lake City police were out on the street last week in an attempt to disrupt the prostitution problem plaguing many parts of the city. Within four days, undercover officers posing as prostitutes or Johns were able to apprehend over 40 individuals. Will any of those arrested find stricter penalties due to recent changes to Utah law? In order to understand what laws regarding prostitution have changed it is important to know the legal terms of and who they apply to.

Prostitution

Prostitution is according to Utah Code 76-10-1302 when an individual:
• “engages, offers, or agrees to engage in any sexual activity with another individual for a fee, or the functional equivalent of a fee;
• takes steps in arranging a meeting through any form of advertising agreeing to meet, and meeting at an arranged place for the purpose of sexual activity in exchange for a fee . . . ;
• Loiters in or within view of any public place for the purpose of being hired to engage sexual activity.”
Prostitution was and remains a class B misdemeanor yet as was evident in the sting this weekend, help is often offered to prostitutes in case they are sex trafficking victims or stuck in their employment out of fear from their employers.

Patronizing a prostitute

When someone is charged for prostitution, those charges are usually only for those acting as prostitutes, not the Johns paying for the illegal services. When a John or another individual:
• “pays or offers or agrees to pay a prostitute, or an individual the actor believes to be a prostitute, a fee, or the functional equivalent of a fee, for the purpose of engaging in an act of sexual activity or
• Enters or remains in a place of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity”
that person would be guilty of patronizing a prostitute, a class A misdemeanor. The charges for patronizing a prostitute haven’t changed since they were increased last year, however the wording for patronizing, exploiting, or aiding a prostitute have been adjusted. Now the guilty party only has to believe the other party is a prostitute in order to face those specific charges.

Sexual solicitation

While still covered under Part 13 of Utah Criminal Code defining aspects of prostitution, sexual solicitation differs slightly from prostitution or patronizing a prostitute. Sexual solicitation occurs when an individual:
• “offers or agrees to commit any sexual activity with another individual for a fee, or the equivalent of a fee;
• Pays of offers or agrees to pay a fee or the functional equivalent of a fee to another individual to commit any sexual activity; or
• With intent to engage in sexual activity for a fee or to pay another individual to commit any sexual activity for a fee . . . or to pay another individual to commit any sexual activity for a fee . . . engages in, offers or agrees to engage in, or requests or directs another to engage in any of the following acts:
o exposure of an individual’s genitals, the buttocks, the anus, the pubic area, or the female breast below the top of the areola;
o masturbation;
o touching of an individual’s genitals, the buttocks, the anus, the pubic area, or the female breast; or
o any act of lewdness.”
Sexual solicitation is different from patronizing a prostitute as those who patronize a prostitute know or believe they are making a deal with a prostitute, not just some random person. Sexual solicitation may also consist of lewd acts leading up to paid sexual favors. Until last month, sexual solicitation was a class B misdemeanor yet penalties were recently increased to a class A misdemeanor, matching the penalties for patronizing a prostitute. Additionally, those facing three or more charges of sexual solicitation will now face a third degree felony.

Legal help on tougher charges

As prostitution laws continue to toughen, those arrested may be surprised by the increased severity of their charges. For more information on prostitution laws or for legal help regarding charges, consult with a criminal defense attorney.

Utah Man Arrested for Exploiting Prostitution

A Utah man was arrested for exploiting prostitution during a human trafficking sting over the weekend in Salt Lake County.

The Pimp

Photo by: Ken

According to a bookings report from the Salt Lake County Jail, 28 year old Roger Dewayne Jessop was arrested on Friday for exploiting prostitution, a third degree felony. Police reports state Jessop was arrested at a hotel after an undercover agent arrived to an arranged meeting with a prostitute and observed that Jessop was the one running the show, causing the female prostitute to offer sex in exchange for money.

Exploiting prostitution

Utah Code 76-10-1305 states: “A person is guilty of exploiting prostitution is the person;

a) Procures a person for a place of prostitution;
b) Encourages, induces, or otherwise purposely causes another to become or remain a prostitute;
c) Transports a person into or within this state with a purpose to promote that person’s engaging in prostitution or procuring or paying for transportation with that purpose;
d) Not being a child or legal dependent of a prostitute, shares the proceeds of prostitution with a prostitute pursuant to their understanding that he is to share therein; or
e) Owns, controls, manages, supervises, or otherwise keeps, alone or in association with another, a place or prostitution or a business where prostitution occurs or is arranged, encouraged, supported, or promoted.”

Sexual solicitation or sex trafficking

Photo by: DualD FlipFlop

Those who “offer or agree to commit any sexual activity with another person for a fee ( . . . )“ are guilty of sexual solicitation, a class B misdemeanor. These charges do not apply if the person offering sex is a victim and doing said acts against their will. It wasn’t noted the age of the prostitute being pimped out by Jessop or whether or not she was a willing participant, however multiple female victims of human trafficking were noted as being rescued during the operation in Salt Lake County. To report information on a possible situation of human trafficking, call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888. For legal aid regarding prostitution charges contact a criminal defense attorney.

 

Vacationers Urged to Use Caution When House Swapping

House swapping is increasing in popularity among vacationers throughout Utah and the world yet homeowners are being urged to use caution before listing their home on a home exchange website.

Pros and cons of a hotel stay

Photo by: Hamzu Butt

Part of a good vacation is staying someplace in an upscale part of town that is clean and preferably inexpensive. When it comes to hotels, the clean and centrally located ones are usually priced accordingly and the cheaper rooms can often be filthy or in a questionable neighborhood. Those who are wanting a vacation away from home have another option to look forward to known as house swapping.

House swapping

Photo by: Mary Greathead

House swapping takes place when a person or family temporarily trades homes with another through one of the various online companies such as Airbnb, HomeExchange, and LoveHomeSwap. House swapping can occur with primary homes and apartments as well as second homes or cabins. The individual lists their home with pictures, location, price, and availability while also browsing homes in their chosen vacation destination. Once they have found temporary “renters” as well as a place to stay on their vacation, the swap is complete and the escape from ordinary life begins.

Not as glamorous as it seems

While movies in Hollywood have portrayed house swapping as a magical experience that may even end in unexpected romance, real-life house swapping doesn’t always have a happy ending. Some horror stories from house swapping including problems with the vacation home, such as:

Photo by: Abril Rubio

• Booking a dump. A picture says a thousand words but can also leave out a lot of detail if things are staged just right. Many house swappers arrive to find their temporary abode not up to par. Incidents have occurred that include leaking roofs, missing furniture, bug infestations, and even utilities being shut off. Most of the complaints however include dissatisfaction on the cleanliness of the swapped house. This is common as most families do not have a personal maid to ensure the home is hotel clean.

• Pets. House swapping really means life swapping. This includes beds, toys, food, vehicles, and even the family dog.

Photo by: Tristan Ferne

It is encouraged to research a vacation home fully and be informed on whether or not there are pets in the home and what type of care they need. Otherwise, don’t be surprised if Fido needs to be walked daily and loves snuggling any human in existence.

• Change of plans. Unfortunately, sometimes plans change suddenly which can include not having the vacation home available during the scheduled dates. While this doesn’t occur on a regular basis, it is something that should be planned for just in case.

Trouble at home

Other problems that can arise with house swapping take place on the home front. Issues that have been reported include:

Photo by: Antti T. Nissinen

• Vandalism. Not all house swappers take care of their vacation home. Some swappers may leave things messy while others may leave items broken and needing repair. There is always a risk of a bad renter, which is why it is important to get to know the other house swapper in advance and read their prior reviews carefully.

• Insurance coverage. Before making the swap, ensure that you and your guests are covered. This includes vehicle coverage as well as home owners or rental insurance. House swapping may not be covered so it is vital to find out for sure before making the trade.

Photo by: Quinn Dombrowski

Prostitution. What does a pimp love more than a cheap hotel to work his girls out of? A cheaper home that isn’t monitored by hotel employees or authorities. This may seem like a rarity but in fact it has been reported several times nationwide. Someone in the sexual solicitation business poses as a prospective house swapper and with a little bit of acting, sells a family on letting the “nice couple” rent the house for a week or more. For the entirety of the swap, the family home has a revolving door to the coming and goings of random “Johns”, and the family is left feeling violated and uncomfortable returning to their own home.

Not for everyone

House swapping is not for everyone but for those who wish to give it a try, there are always risks involved. Home exchange companies encourage clients to get to know the other families and do plenty of research prior to a swap. If criminal activity such as prostitution or drugs takes place in a home while the owners are vacationing elsewhere, it is wise for them to inquire with an attorney upon their return about any possible legal backlash of the house swapping gone wrong.