Promoting Prostitution in Tennessee can lead to a felony conviction and place you on the Sexual Offender Registry
Promoting prostitution (a.k.a. “pimping”) is the act of creating a business based upon prostitution. The new term commonly used by law enforcement agencies is ‘human trafficking.’
This charge is often alleged to have occurred through on-line classified sites such as Backpage or Craigslist. This charge can also result from a person-to-person transaction in which an unidentified officer pretends to be a person interested in hiring a prostitute, or a ‘john.’ Then, when the prostitute is arrested, he or she says that a third person forced them to prostitute in exchange for leniency.
There is a common misconception that when an undercover officer pretends to be a prostitute, there will be a defense of entrapment. Entrapment only results when an officer persuades an otherwise unwilling individual to commit the act – merely providing the opportunity will not result in an entrapment defense. Other unacceptable defenses are listed below.
This offense will result in the individual being placed on the Sex Offender Registry. If you have been charged with promoting prostitution, please contact me immediately to discuss how we can defend your reputation and your freedom.
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-13-512(4) defines “Promoting prostitution” as:
(A) Owning, controlling, managing, supervising, or in any way keeping, alone or in association with others, a business for the purpose of engaging in prostitution, or a house of prostitution;
(B) Procuring an inmate for a house of prostitution;
(C) Encouraging, inducing, or otherwise purposely causing another to become a prostitute;
(D) Soliciting a person to patronize a prostitute;
(E) Procuring a prostitute for a patron; or
(F) Soliciting, receiving, or agreeing to receive any benefit for engaging in any of the activities defined in subdivisions (4)(A)-(E);
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-13-512(5) “Promoting prostitution of a minor” means engaging in any of the activities described in subdivision (4) when one (1) or more of the persons engaged in prostitution is less than eighteen (18) years of age or has an intellectual disability;
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-13-515. Promoting prostitution – Unacceptable defenses
(a) A person commits an offense under this section who promotes prostitution.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c), promoting prostitution is a Class E felony.
(c) Promoting prostitution of a minor is punishable as trafficking for a commercial sex act under § 39-13-309.
(d) It is not a defense to a violation of this section that:
(1) The subject of the offense is a law enforcement officer; or
(2) The victim of the offense is a minor and consented to the offense.
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-13-533. Offense of promoting travel for prostitution.
(a) A person commits the offense of promoting travel for prostitution if the person sells or offers to sell travel services that the person knows to include travel for the purpose of engaging in what would be prostitution if occurring in the state.
(b) “Travel services” means, but is not limited to, transportation by air, sea, road or rail, related ground transportation, hotel accommodations, or package tours, whether offered on a wholesale or retail basis.
(c) Promoting travel for prostitution is a Class D felony.
(d) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit prosecution under any other law.
Tenn. Code Ann. 39-13-309. Trafficking for commercial sex act.
(a) A person commits the offense of trafficking a person for a commercial sex act who:
(1) Knowingly subjects, attempts to subject, benefits from or attempts to benefit from another person’s provision of a commercial sex act; or
(2) Recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, purchases, or obtains by any other means, another person for the purpose of providing a commercial sex act.
(b) For purposes of subdivision (a)(2), such means may include, but are not limited to:
(1) Causing or threatening to cause physical harm to the person;
(2) Physically restraining or threatening to physically restrain the person;
(3) Abusing or threatening to abuse the law or legal process;
(4) Knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating or possessing any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document, of the person;
(5) Using blackmail or using or threatening to cause financial harm for the purpose of exercising financial control over the person; or
(6) Facilitating or controlling a person’s access to a controlled substance.
(c) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class B felony, except where the victim of the offense is a child under fifteen (15) years of age, or where the offense occurs on the grounds or facilities or within one thousand feet (1,000′) of a public or private school, secondary school, preschool, child care agency, public library, recreational center, or public park, a violation of subsection (a) is a Class A felony.