Prostitution is known as one of the oldest professions in the history of the world. Today, even though it’s against the law in many places, including Illinois, that doesn’t mean that the world’s oldest profession isn’t alive and well.
Recently, five people were arrested in Marion for running a prostitution business from their massage parlors across the city. They are facing multiple charges as a result.
So, what is considered prostitution in Illinois, and what types of actions can get you in trouble with the law? Read on to find out all you need to know about prostitution in Illinois.
Illinois Prostitution: What Does the Law Say?
In the state of Illinois, it is illegal to trade sexual acts for something of value. Sexual acts are defined as touching of sex organs or penetration to sexually arouse another person. Specific charges can be brought against defendants, but they are based on the role they played in the situation either as the seller, the buyer, or the promoter of the acts.
Prostitution itself only refers to the person selling the sexual acts knowingly in exchange for anything of value – it doesn’t just have to be money, though it typically is. Crimes such as patronizing a prostitute and solicitations are related to the customers attempting to buy the sexual acts. In Illinois, anyone under the age of 18 is exempt from prosecution under prostitution laws.
The specific crimes related to prostitution in Illinois include:
- Prostitution – Class A misdemeanor
- Solicitation of a Sexual Act – Class A misdemeanor
- Promoting Prostitution – Class 4 felony
- Patronizing a Prostitute – Class 4 felony
- Promoting Juvenile Prostitution – Class 1 felony, but if it occurs within 1,000 feet of a school, it can be a Class X felony.
- Patronizing a Minor Engaged in Prostitution – A Class 3 felony, but if committed within 1,000 feet of a school, it becomes a Class 2 felony
The Penalties for Crimes Involving Prostitution in Illinois
As described above, crimes related to prostitution range from a Class A misdemeanor to a Class X felony. The penalties include:
- Class A misdemeanor – A penalty of up to 12 months in jail and as much as $2,500 in fines.
- Class 4 Felony – You can spend up to three years behind bars and be made to pay fines of up to $25,000 for this level of crime.
- Class 3 felony – This is punishable by up to three years behind bars and fines of as much as $25,000.
- Class 2 felony – You can spend up to seven years in prison for this crime and be expected to pay up to $25,000 in fines.
- Class X felony – The most severe felony in Illinois, you can be sent to prison for up to 60 years for this crime.
Defenses to Prostitution Charges
You have the right to a proper legal defense. And, although every situation is unique, there are some common strategies people use to defend themselves against these types of charges. They include:
- You only committed the crime, because you were under duress
- You only committed the crime, because you were coerced to do so
- You did not intend to commit the crime
- You were persuaded by police to perpetrate the crime, but you otherwise would not have – which is entrapment
- You aren’t old enough to be prosecuted for prostitution
About the Author
Sami Azhari has been working as a lawyer since 2007, after receiving his Juris Doctor from the Michigan State University College of Law. He has handled numerous state and federal cases, and is known throughout the Chicago and Rolling Meadows area for providing his clients with high-quality, skilled representation. He has been recognized by Avvo (2013 and 2018), SuperLawyers (2015-2020), The National Trial Lawyers, and other notable organizations, and has spoken at a number of legal conferences.