Prostitution involves the exchange of sexual services for anything of value. It is an illegal business in both Missouri and Kansas, and like most businesses, it is based on supply and demand. For that reason, there are multiple ways a person can face a charge for a prostitution offense, even if the person is not directly a party to the exchange. Over the last few decades, states have been cracking down more and more on prostitution-related crimes. Missouri and Kansas are no different. Nationwide rises in sex trafficking have led to increased undercover operations by police departments as well as more severe punishments for those convicted of trafficking-related crimes, such as prostitution. Criminal consequences aside, a conviction can have damaging effects on a person’s reputation and future. A person’s current or prospective employer, or even a significant other, conducting a background check can discover a past tainted by a conviction. Additionally, if the conviction involves a minor or a particular type of prostitution offense, sex offender registration may be required depending on the state.
Over the last few decades, states have been cracking down more and more on prostitution-related crimes. Missouri and Kansas are no different. Nationwide rises in sex trafficking have led to increased undercover operations by police departments as well as more severe punishments for those convicted of trafficking-related crimes, such as prostitution. Criminal consequences aside, a conviction can have damaging effects on a person’s reputation and future. A person’s current or prospective employer, or even a significant other, conducting a background check can discover a past tainted by a conviction. Additionally, if the conviction involves a minor or a particular type of prostitution offense, sex offender registration may be required depending on the state.
If you have been charged with a prostitution-related offense, protect your freedom and your future by contacting The Watt Law Firm here.
Prostitution Offenses and the Consequences of Conviction
In both Missouri and Kansas, it is illegal to buy, sell, or trade anything of value for sexual services. Offering, accepting, or promoting the exchange of sexual services for something of value, even without engaging in any sexual activity, is also a crime. There are generally three categories of charges, and here is a breakdown of those charges and their possible consequences:
1) Prostitution / Selling Sex:
A charge of prostitution means that a person is accused of engaging in, or offering or accepting to provide sexual services in exchange for anything of value. This is a supply-side offense chargeable to the person providing the sexual services (i.e. the prostitute). “Anything of value” can mean money, property, or other services that are meant to be the basis of the exchange for sex. Regardless of whether that “value” goes directly to the person offering the service or to another person (i.e. a pimp or madam), and regardless of whether any sexual conduct has taken place, a person can be charged with prostitution.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 567.010(2); Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6419(a))
Missouri classifies prostitution as a class B misdemeanor, and a person convicted can face up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $500. However, if the person knew prior to the act that he or she was infected with HIV, the offense is considered a class B felony resulting in 5-15 years imprisonment if convicted.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 567.020, 558.011, & 560.016)
Kansas labels a prostitution charge as “selling sexual relations.” A conviction of this offense is considered a class B nonperson misdemeanor which can result in up to six months’ imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000.
(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6419(b))
2) Patronizing Prostitution / Buying Sex:
Think of patronizing prostitution as the other end of the exchange. Patronizing prostitution is a demand-side offense chargeable to the person purchasing or attempting to purchase the sexual services (i.e. the “john”). As mentioned above, “anything of value” can mean money, property, or other services that are meant to be the basis of the exchange for sex. Just like with a charge of prostitution, a person can be charged with patronizing prostitution regardless of whether sexual conduct has taken place.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 567.010(3); Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6421(a))
In Missouri, conviction of patronizing prostitution is considered a class B misdemeanor if the person providing sexual services is 18 years or older. This can result in imprisonment for up to six months and a fine of up to $500. If the person providing sexual services is at least 15 years old, but younger than 18, it is a class A misdemeanor. Imprisonment for such a conviction can be for up to a year, and the person convicted can also be fined up to $1,000.
Even if a person in Missouri is charged with patronizing prostitution, he or she can additionally be charged with statutory rape or sodomy if the person providing the sexual services is fourteen years old or younger.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 567.030, 558.011, & 560.016)
Kansas labels a patronizing charge as “buying sexual relations.” A first-time conviction for this offense is considered a class A misdemeanor resulting in imprisonment for up to one year as well as a fine of $2,500. A second or subsequent conviction is considered a Security Level 9 person felony resulting in up to 13 months imprisonment and a fine of $5,000.
(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6421(b))
3) Promoting Prostitution:
Promoting prostitution is another supply-side offense relating to the business of prostitution, and it can involve a variety of different acts. Generally, running some sort of a prostitution business, allowing property to be used for prostitution services, or receiving compensation for another’s prostitution services are all considered “promoting prostitution.” In Missouri and Kansas, the severity of punishment varies depending on the scope of involvement and the age of the persons providing prostitution services.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 567.010(1) & 567.050; Kan. Stat. Ann. §§ 21-6420 & 21-6422.)
In Missouri, promoting prostitution is broken down into three degrees, third degree incurring the least severe punishment.
Promoting prostitution in the third degree involves the mere knowing promotion of prostitution. In other words, if one person receive payment from another person who performed sexual services, and the first person knows that this is the reason he or she is being paid, it is considered promoting prostitution in the third degree. This is a class D felony which can result in imprisonment of up to four years, and a fine of up to $5,000 or up to double the value of the property gained by such promotion.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. §§ 567.070, 558.011, & 560.001)
Second-degree promotion involves running a prostitution business with two or more prostitutes (i.e. running a brothel or prostitution ring). Promoting prostitution in the second degree is a class C felony. A person convicted of this offense can be imprisoned for up to seven years and receive a similar fine of up to $5,000 or up to double the value of property gained.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 567.060)
Promoting prostitution in the first degree can be charged for two methods of promotion. The first method essentially involves forcing a person into prostitution by violence, threat, or drugging; this includes withholding drugs from a drug-dependent person. The second method is the promotion of the prostitution of person under 16 years of age. Promoting prostitution by either of these methods is a class B felony and can result in five to fifteen years imprisonment.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 567.050)
In Kansas, promoting the sale of sexual relations is a felony. A first offense is considered a Security Level 9, person felony. Such a conviction can result in up to 13 months’ imprisonment and between $2,500 and $5,000 in fines. A second offense, however, is considered a Security Level 7, person felony. Imprisonment can be up to 29 months in addition to a fine of at least $5,000.
(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6420)
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Kansas
Kansas explicitly imposes more severe punishments for the commercial sexual exploitation of any child under the age of 18. Commercial sexual exploitation involves any act mentioned in the buying or promoting sections above. At minimum, a person convicted of a first offense of commercial exploitation of a child will receive a fine between $2,500 and $5,000. The minimum, first-offense term of imprisonment is 50 months if the child is between 15 and 18 years old. However, if the child is 14 years old or younger, the minimum fine is at least $5,000, and imprisonment can be for life. (Kan. Stat. Ann. § 21-6422(a) & (b))
Sex Offender Registration for Prostitution Offenses
In Missouri, if a person is convicted of any degree of promoting prostitution (above), that person is required to register with the State as a sex offender. A person can only remove his or her name from the registry if 1) ten years have passed, 2) the conviction was for second- or third-degree promotion, and 3) no physical force or threat was used during the offense.
(Mo. Rev. Stat. § 589.400)
Kansas requires sex offender registration for patronizing a prostitute under 18 years’ old (15-year registration after the date of release or parole), promoting prostitution of a child between 15 and 18 years of age (25-year registration), promoting prostitution of a child 14 years old or younger (lifetime registration), and commercial sexual exploitation of a child (lifetime registration).
(Kan. Stat. Ann. § 22-4906)
If you are facing a charge in Missouri or Kansas for any of these offenses, please visit our contact page or call (913) 433-3849 now!
Oftentimes, prostitutes are the victims of human trafficking, which is also considered a form of modern-day slavery. If you have witnessed possible human trafficking, please contact:
National Human Trafficking Resource Center – 1-888-373-7888
U.S. Department of Justice Trafficking Tipline – 1-888-428-7581
If you are a victim of human trafficking looking for more information or help to escape, please contact any of the following local organizations:
VERONICA’S Voice (Victims Exploited Recovering On Needed Individual Counseling And Services)
(816) 728-0004 (24 hours)
Ozonam Pathways Program