Florida’s 'Pandering and Pimping' Laws
People generally think of the violators of prostitution crimes as being prostitutes and their clients. But Florida has laws against pandering and pimping, as well as laws against prostitution. This means that even if you don’t have sex for money, or offer someone else money to have sex with you, you can still be charged with a prostitution-related crime.
Effectively, the laws against pimping and pandering apply to people who profit off of prostitution, and/or allow it to happen.
More specifically, Florida Statute 796.04 makes it illegal to “force, compel or coerce another to become a prostitute.” And Florida Statute 796.05 makes it illegal for “any person with reasonable belief or knowing another person is engaged in prostitution to live or derive support or maintenance in whole or in part from what is believed to be the earnings or proceeds of such person’s prostitution.” Both crimes are third degree felonies.
Florida Statute 796.06 makes it illegal to let or rent any place, structure, or trailer with the knowledge that it will be used for the purpose of prostitution. A crime of this nature will be regarded as a second-degree misdemeanor if it is a first-time violation, and as a first-degree misdemeanor if it happens again.
In addition, Florida Statute 796.07 contains provisions which make it illegal to:
- Own, establish, maintain or operate any place, structure, building or conveyance for the purpose of prostitution;
- Offer, or agree to secure, someone for the purpose of prostitution;
- Receive a person into any place, structure, building or conveyance for the purpose of prostitution – or to permit any person to remain there for that purpose;
- Direct, take or transport – or agree to direct, take or transport – any person to any place, structure or building, or to any other person for the purpose of prostitution; and
- Reside in, enter, or remain in any place, structure or building for the purpose of prostitution.
Under these statutes, you can be charged with a crime even if you did not engage in prostitution, or hire a prostitute. It is illegal to force someone else to engage in prostitution. It is illegal to rent property to someone who you know is using it for prostitution-related purposes. It is also illegal just to accept money that you know has been earned via prostitution.
Many prostitution rings are disguised as other types of business, such as massage parlors, or agencies that provide non-sexual escorts to customers. This does not mean that the people involved cannot be charged with prostitution, pimping or pandering. If you knew that your renters were selling sex for money, then you can be found guilty of a crime even if the renters were calling it a massage parlor. (If, however, you were unaware that prostitution was part of the business, and you did not have reason to be aware, then you are not guilty of a crime.)
If you have been charged with pimping, pandering, or any other charge related to prostitution, you should seek the services of an experienced Fort Lauderdale criminal defense attorney. Mark S. Lowry has defended clients against these types of charges for years, and you can contact his office today for a free consultation.