Prostitutes – Victim or Law Violator?
Posted on Oct 3, 2013 2:20pm UTC
Every day, women become involved in the sex industry. Their reasons vary—the basic need to pay for food and shelter; the overwhelming encouragement of their boyfriend turned pimp; their history of sexual abuse or neglect; or the pure profitability of the profession itself. In every case, these women have a need, and prostituting fulfills it.
In Texas, people accused of prostitution face misdemeanor charges and even felony charges with a possible sentence of up to two years in prison. Even juveniles have been charged for prostituting, despite the Texas Supreme Court ruling that children under the age of 14 cannot “knowingly” engage in sex and therefore cannot be charged with prostitution. Though some programs are available to help these women financially and emotionally, the programs are not the focus of the Texas court system. Instead, punishment is.
Other states around the country, such as New York, are implementing programs to provide services to those who become involved in prostitution instead of sentencing them to jail time. New York has opened new courthouses across the state to exclusively handle prostitution cases. Specially trained prosecutors, judges, and defense lawyers come together at these courthouses to assess services to aid the defendants in starting a new life and to avoid jail sentences for defendants in prostitution cases. For more details about the system New York is setting up, check out this New York Times article.
How is a criminal history going to help these people who began prostituting because they could not financially support themselves in the first place? Why does Texas think that going to jail will change anything about the lifestyle these defendants reenter once they serve their sentences? Let me know if you find anyone who says that going to jail enhanced their marketability in a more “mainstream” profession, but no use in holding my breath on that one.
If you or someone you know has faces criminal allegations related to prostitution, contact a Houston criminal defense attorney from Billy Skinner & Associates to learn how our legal team can help.