Compelling Prostitution of a Minor Lawyer, defending Fort Worth and surrounding areas in north Texas
Compelling child prostitution in Texas consists of anyone causing someone under age 18 to commit prostitution, including through force, threats, coercion, or any other means. This is also referred to as compelling prostitution of a minor, the offense is a first-degree felony.
A conviction carries a minimum five-year prison sentence and up to 99 years.
If you or a family member is being investigated for child prostitution in Fort Worth or Tarrant County, you need to promptly consult with a top Fort Worth child prostitution lawyer. Varghese Summersett has a team of Board Certified defense attorneys and former prosecutors who have a reputation for successfully defending serious sex cases.
In this post, we’ll describe what Texas considers compelling prostitution, the punishment for a child prostitution conviction, and look at some recent cases in the news.
How does Texas define compelling prostitution?
Texas law defines compelling prostitution as an act of forcing or convincing a person to engage in prostitution. Texas Penal Code Section 43.02 says the crime of prostitution occurs “if the person knowingly offers or agrees to receive a fee from another to engage in sexual conduct.”
It also includes:
“A person commits an offense if the person knowingly offers or agrees to pay a fee to another person for the purpose of engaging in sexual conduct with that person or another.”
Texas Penal Code Sec. 43.05 says a person commits the offense of compelling prostitution if the person knowingly:
- Causes another by force, threat, coercion, or fraud to commit prostitution; or
- Causes by any means a child younger than 18 years to commit prostitution, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the child at the time of the offense.”
Clearly put, a person commits the offense of compelling prostitution of a minor if they knowingly prompt a child to commit prostitution. How or why it occurred is irrelevant.
The broad scope of “by any means” makes it vital to have the best Fort Worth child prostitution lawyer available.
What does ‘by any means’ in Texas law mean?
The phrase “by any means” is especially important in legal proceedings. It allows the state to prosecute such crimes without having to prove any threats of serious bodily injury or death or that any acts of violence occurred to compel a child into prostitution.
Any means used in compelling prostitution of a minor make it a first-degree felony offense. A defendant could be accused of lying to the minor or enticing them with money or gifts.
Of course, as in other sex crimes involving children, claiming you didn’t know how young the minor was at the time of the offense is not a legal defense in Texas.
How does Texas define promotion of prostitution?
Promotion of prostitution can be charged in Texas when someone besides a prostitute receives money or property as the proceeds of prostitution or influences another to engage in sexual acts in return for payment.
If the person engaging in prostitution is under 18, the alleged offender of promotion of prostitution is likely to be charged with a first-degree felony.
Anyone who owns or operates an Internet website or interactive service that promotes the prostitution of a minor could be charged with a second-degree felony.
Are pimping and compelling prostitution the same in Texas?
No, pimping and compelling prostitution are separate offenses. Pimping, or pandering, involves taking part of the payment received by prostitutes in return for arranging meetings with clients.
Pandering involves convincing or persuading a person to engage in prostitution but doesn’t necessarily include receiving payment.
While promoting prostitution is often referred to as pimping or pandering, they are not the same.
A pimp or madam could be charged for a string of related crimes at the same time, including pimping, compelling, and promoting.
What are the penalties for child prostitution in Texas?
Compelling prostitution of a minor in Texas is a first-degree felony.
A conviction for compelling child prostitution carries a sentence of five to 99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
Compelling prostitution of an adult is a second-degree felony charge, and a conviction carries 2 to 20 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
What are the collateral consequences with a child prostitution charge in Texas?
Even if you’re ultimately proven innocent, a charge such as compelling child prostitution can have severe consequences on your life.
The stain of being charged with a child sex crime can devastate your reputation and affect friends and family members.
Recent cases of child prostitution in Texas
- In October 2022, a 30-year-old Sherman woman received a 12-year prison sentence after pleading guilty for compelling prostitution and other related crimes after law enforcement found a 15-year-old being advertised on an escort site.
- In August 2022, a 38-year-old Big Spring man was sentenced to 35 years in prison for continuous sexual abuse of a young child and compelling prostitution under 18.
- In May 2022, an 81-year-old Rio Grande City ISD employee was arrested for compelling prostitution of a minor.
- In October 2022, a McAllen woman was arrested for compelling the prostitution of a 12-year-old girl.
Are you facing child prostitution charges in Fort Worth?
If you or a family member is facing charges of compelling prostitution of a minor in North Texas, it’s imperative to contact an experienced Fort Worth child prostitution lawyer as soon as possible.
The Varghese Summersett defense team is filled with Board Certified defense attorneys and former prosecutors with decades of experience defending clients in similar cases. We will do whatever is necessary to ensure your case is resolved with the best possible result.
For a free consultation, call us at 817-203-2220.