Prostitution is an illegal activity in the eyes of the federal government and in all states except Nevada. Exchanging money for sex is considered a criminal offense in Texas; however, customers and prostitutes do not always face the toughest penalties for this crime.
What Is Pimping?
Pimping, pandering and procurement are punished more severely than solicitation. Procuring is the act of facilitating prostitution by encouraging, inducing, forcing or directing a person to engage in sex for money. It is considered a more serious offense to take advantage of another person by actively promoting the sex business rather than simply participating in it.
Legal Penalties for Procurement
Pimping or promoting sex workers is considered to be a form of procurement. Collecting money from prostitutes or operating a business which promotes sex for money may be considered aggravated promotion. According to the Texas Penal Code, some penalties for this crime can include:
- Promoting or pimping is a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4000
- Operating or running an illegal sex business is a third degree felony, punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
- Enticing a person under age 18 into sex work is a first degree felony, punishable by five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000
Houston Defenses for Promoting Sex
In order to convict someone for pimping or promoting the sex trade in Houston, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant knowingly and intentionally worked to entice people into the sex business.
The defense may argue that the defendant had no stake in the sex operation and had nothing to gain by promoting it. It is possible to argue that the defendant was merely a customer and was not attempting to encourage illegal activities.
If the defense is able to introduce convincing evidence that suggests no definitive link between the defendant and profits from the sex business, the prosecution’s case may suffer. The court may decide to drop the charges or reduce the charges for patronizing a prostitute, which is a less serious offense.