Maryland Prostitution Laws
Maryland state laws under the Maryland Criminal Code Title 11 (Indecency and Obscenity), Subtitle 3 cover prostitution and related crimes. For information on an experienced Maryland prostitution lawyer can help. If you have been charged with prostitution, call us today.
Prostitution Sections 11-301; 11-302; 11-303; 11-304; 11-305; 11-306
The term “assignation” is defined in Section 11-301(b) as the scheduling of an appointment or meeting for the the purpose of prostitution. The term “prostitution” is strictly defined in Section 11-301(c) as any sexual act, sexual contact, or vaginal intercourse, the performance of which is for hire. The term “sexual act” is stated as holding the same meaning as the definition in Section 3-301 (section on sex crime). Section 11-301(d). It includes any of the following acts, regardless of whether the act is finished or semen is emitted:
- Anilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse (or any penetration of the anus), cunnilingus
- Any act where an object, whether animate or inanimate, penetrates another person’s genital opening or anus– where the purpose of the act can reasonably be determined to be the sexual gratification, arousal, or abuse of any part
- This does not include vaginal intercourse or any bona fide medical procedure which requires the penetration of a person’s vagina or anus. Section 3-301(e).
Likewise, the term “sexual contact” retains the definition given in Section 3-301(f). Section 11-301(e). That section defines sexual contact as any (1) intentional (2) touching of the victim’s or actor’s genital, anal, or other intimate area (e.g., breasts, buttocks) (3) for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse of either party. Section 3-301(f)(1). This includes any act where a part of one person’s body (excluding the penis, mouth, or tongue) penetrates another person’s genital opening or anus in such a manner that reasonably indicates the purpose as sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse. Section 3-301(f)(2). This does not include common expressions of friendly or familial expression nor any bona fide medical procedure. Section 3-301(f)(3). The term “sexually explicit performance” is defined as (1) any act or show (2) where the performer is at least partially nude (3) with the intent to sexually arouse or appeal to the sexual interest of any person watching the show, (4) regardless of whether the show is public, private, photographed, live, videotaped, or otherwise recorded. Section 11-301(f). The term “solicit” is used in these sections to mean any encouraging, requesting, advising, persuading, inducing, urging, or commanding of another person. Section 11-301(g).
House of Prostitution; Prostitution Generally Section 11-306
There are five ways to violate this section, which applies to prostitution generally and to any house of prostitution.
- It is illegal for any person to (1) knowingly (2) take part in any act of prostitution or assignation. Section 11-306(a)(1).
- It is illegal for any person to (1) knowingly (2) operate, maintain, occupy, keep, or set up (3) any building, structure, or conveyance (e.g., bus, trailer, etc.) that (4) is for the purpose of prostitution or assignation. Section 11-306(a)(2).
- It is illegal for any person to (1) knowingly (2) permit a structure, conveyance, or building (3) the person owns or controls (4) to be used for the purpose of assignation or prostitution. Section 11-306(a)(3).
- It is illegal for any person to (1) knowingly (2) grant permission or otherwise allow a person (3) into a building, conveyance, or structure (4) for prostitution or assignation. Section 11-306(a)(4).
- It is illegal for any person to (1) knowingly (2) solicit, offer to solicit, procure, or offer to procure (3) for prostitution or assignation. Section 11-306(a)(5).
If any individual violates this section, that individual is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $500 or less. Section 11-306(b).
Human Trafficking Section 11-303
Under Section 11-303(a)(1) it is illegal for any person to knowingly:
- Take an individual or cause an individual to be taken to any place for the purpose of prostitution, or
- Place an individual, cause an individual to be placed, or harbor an individual in any place for the purpose of prostitution, or
- Seduce, induce, persuade, entice, advise, or encourage an individual to be placed in or taken to any place for prostitution, or
- Receive consideration (i.e., payment, compensation, etc.) in exchange for procuring an individual for, or placing an individual in a house of prostitution or any other location with the intent of forcing, coercing, or causing that individual to engage in prostitution or assignation.
Furthermore, it is illegal for any person to (1) knowingly (2) be involved in a scheme or continuing course of conduct (3) that is intended to make an individual believe that if that individual does not engage in a sexually explicit performance, that individual or another person will suffer serious physical harm or physical restraint. Section 11-303(a)(1)(v). Under Section 11-303(a)(1)(vi), it is also illegal for any person to (1) knowingly (2) confiscate, remove, destroy, or conceal a passport (whether real or not), immigration document, or government identification document (3) of another individual (4) while engaged in conduct that violates or attempts to violate this section. Additionally, it is illegal for any person (1) who is a parent, guardian, or someone with permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervising an individual (2) to consent to the individual being taken or detained for prostitution. Section 11-303(a)(2).
Human Trafficking Penalties Section 11-303(c)(1)
If a person is guilty of human trafficking then that individual faces conviction of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Section 11-303(c)(1).
Human Trafficking Involving Minors Section 11-303(b)
Human trafficking violations that involve minors are subject to much harsher penalties. It is illegal for any person to violate any of the human trafficking subsections when the victim is a minor. Section 11-303(b)(1). It is also illegal for any person to (1) knowingly (2) detain or take (3) a minor (4) with the intent to use coercion, fraud, threat, or force to compel the victim to (5) marry the person or a third person, or perform a sexual act, sexual contact, or vaginal intercourse. Section 11-303(b)(2).
Penalties for Human Trafficking Involving Minors Section 11-303(c)(2)
If a person violates the subsections above that qualify as human trafficking where the victim is a minor, then that person is guilty of a felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $15,000. Section 11-303(c)(2). Furthermore, any individual who (1) knowingly (2) receives anything of value or financially benefits (3) from participation in a venture that includes a violation of this section is subject to the same penalties as though the individual had violated the section. Section 11-303(e)(1). Lastly, any person who (1) knowingly (2) assists another or conspires with another to violate any part of this section is subject to the same penalties that apply to a violation of that subsection. Section 11-303(e)(2).
Receiving Earnings of a Prostitute Section 11-304
It is illegal for any person to (1) obtain or receive money or other proceeds (2) from an individual who earned the money through prostitution (3) when the person’s intent is to:
- Profit from a prostitution-related crime
- Promote a prostitution-related crime
- Conceal or disguise the source, nature, location, control, or ownership of money or proceeds from a prostitution-related crime. Section 11-304(a).
If a person violates this section, then that person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine not to exceed $10,000. Section 11-304(b).
Abduction of Child Under 16 Section 11-305
It is illegal for any person, (1) for the purposes of prostitution or a prostitution-related crime, (2) to:
- Persuade, seduce, or entice an individual under 16 years old from the individual’s home or from the custody of that individual’s parent or guardian
- Aid in such persuasion or enticement
- Knowingly conceal or harbor an individual under the age of 16 who has been persuaded or enticed as described above
- Aid in such concealment or harboring. Section 11-305(a).
If a person violates this section then that person is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $5,000. Section 11-305(b).
How a Maryland Prostitution Lawyer Can Help
Law enforcement frequently cracks down on prostitution. Apart from the social stigma that may arise from a prostitution conviction, there are serious fines and potential jail time that can accompany a conviction, as well. If you have been charged with prostitution in Maryland, contact a Maryland prostitution attorney today.