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Prostitution and Solicitation Charges in Maryland

How is prostitution defined in Maryland?

Kush Arora: Generally, prostitution is defined in a lot of different ways. Probably the most generic way in which it is defined is that it is exchanging money or goods to engage in a sexual act. That does not necessarily mean sexual intercourse; it can mean any other kind of sexual act. Usually it is in exchange for some kind of money or goods. It could be in exchange for straight cash, which is the most typical way that these kinds of cases come to light, but occasionally prostitution cases can come about because somebody has to pay off a debt of some kind in exchange for sex or some kind of sexual act. Those kinds of cases have been coming up more and more lately, particularly in Prince George’s County.

How is solicitation defined in Maryland?

Kush Arora: Solicitation is a little bit different, but it actually falls under the prostitution statute. It is under the same statute and carries the same kind of penalties that a prostitution case might, but it’s one of the theories of prosecution that the state might use to prove prostitution. A prostitution case or a charge of prostitution can come about against either party, meaning either the person who is actually offering the service or the person who is actually requesting the service by offering money or some other goods. The main difference between prostitution and solicitation is that they are each just a different type of solicitation. If something falls under the prostitution statute, it is applied to the person who is offering the service. In a case where somebody is being accused of prostitution, usually the charging language against them will read “did solicit prostitution in exchange for money.” That means that they were offering some kind of sex act in exchange for money or some other kind of services. That is distinguished from assignation. Assignation is something else that can fall under the prostitution statute. Assignation generally is not a violation of the prostitution statute by way of offering sex or some kind of sexual act, but rather asking for sex or some kind of sexual act in exchange for money.

Are prostitution and solicitation combined under one law in Maryland or are they separate?

Kush Arora: That is a good question. It is actually one illegal criminal act to be involved in prostitution. The question about solicitation versus assignation is under the prostitution statute, so a person would usually be charged with something that says “prostitution-general.” That particular statute encompasses solicitation as well as assignation. It covers all acts under prostitution, not just the act of selling sex or sexual services, but also the act of responding to or requesting sexual services.

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