Increase in penalties for engaging minors in prostitution

This legislation increases penalties for those attempting to hire a minor for prostitution. The bill increases the penalties for those convicted of soliciting someone they reasonably believe to be a minor for prostitution and matches them to the penalties for actually paying a minor for prostitution. Under current law, the penalties for hiring a minor for prostitution are high, and get progressively stronger as the individual who is hired gets younger. However, if law enforcement participates in a sting operation and apprehends someone who reasonably believed they were hiring a minor for prostitution, the perpetrator can only be sentenced to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine upon conviction because no child was actually involved. This legislation would impose the same penalties for attempting to solicit prostitution with a minor as engaging, and requires anyone convicted of a prostitution offense to register as a predatory offender. According to the bill language, if a perpetrator reasonably believes the minor is under the age of 13, they will face up to 20 years in prison, up to a $40,000 fine, or both. If the perpetrator intends to hire someone they reasonably believe is under 16 but older than 13, the perpetrator would face up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. Finally, if a perpetrator believes the minor is under 18 but older than 16, the offender will face up to five years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine. The legislation will allow law enforcement to run more effective sting operations and put people who wish to engage in sexual conduct with a minor in prison for longer sentences. The ultimate goal is to protect children from sex trafficking. (S.F. 2862)

Senate DFL Media