What is the Difference Between Prostitution and Escorting?

man and woman at dinner

Most people consider a prostitute and an escort to be very similar. However, under state law, the two are distinct, making one act legal and the other illegal. To understand the difference between prostitution and escorting, an individual must know the behaviors that make the two actions distinct. Our knowledgeable attorneys could further explain these distinctions in a free consultation.

What is a Prostitute?

A prostitute is an individual who performs sexual acts in exchange for money, drugs, or other compensation. Prostitution is considered a sex crime and is illegal under California Penal Code 647b PC.

What many people do not know is that someone can not only commit an act of prostitution for engaging in a sexual act for money but can also be guilty of prostitution for offering to engage in or agreeing to engage in a sexual act for money. This means that both the prostitute and the customer can be guilty of prostitution.

What is an Escort?

In California, escorting is legal. An escort is an individual who is paid to spend time with someone. The escort may accompany a client to dinner, a concert, business functions, an upscale hotel, or simply spend time talking. In other words, a client hires an escort for companionship, not sex.

An escort must have a valid license in the state of California and is not allowed to participate in any sexual act. If an escort agrees to a sexual act or even describes a sexual act they might perform to their client, they could face the crime of soliciting prostitution under 647b PC.

Sexual Conduct with an Escort

A question often asked is, “Is it illegal to engage in sexual acts with an escort on their personal time?” Many argue what an escort does on his or her own time should not be considered illegal. If law enforcement believes there is probable cause that the escort was hired to engage in sexual acts at a later time, both the escort and the client may face prostitution charges.

Prostitution and Escorting in California

There has been a statewide push to crack down on prostitution in recent years. Prostitution stings are common throughout the state, resulting in a considerably high number of convictions. As a result, this has led to some escorts being wrongfully charged. As long as an escort’s conduct does not involve engaging in, soliciting, or agreeing to engage in a sexual act for money or other compensation, he or she cannot be guilty of prostitution.

If you or someone you know has been charged with a sex crime, whether it be escorting without a license, solicitation, or prostitution, an experienced sex crime defense attorney can help. Contact the Law Offices of Scott Henry today for a free consultation.

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