Several months ago, the Seattle Police Department’s Vice & High Risk Victims Unit set up a successful sting operation in a Seattle massage parlor. This Seattle Times article from July describes the sting operation and the volume of business and arrests that resulted from the operation. At least 204 men, from all walks of life, were arrested for seeking paid sexual services. Please reference the article for more detailed information.
This sting operation was reported to be the first of its kind in Seattle. In prior stings led by the Vice & High Risk Victims Unit, men were arrested and released, receiving a summons in the mail later. The Seattle PD is now pushing mandatory jail bookings when men are arrested for sexual exploitation.
We know that being arrested for sexual exploitation may elicit feelings of shame, fear, and uncertainty. If you are facing sexual exploitation charges and feel unsure about how to proceed, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions, help you fight the charges, and advocate your best interests. You might be feeling unsure about how to handle the arrest, what will happen next, and how charges may impact your life. We can help…
Sexual Exploitation is the name adopted by the Seattle City Council in 2015 to replace the name of the crime “patronizing a prostitute”.
There is no difference in the law behind “sexual exploitation” vs “patronizing a prostitute”, just in the name. The choice to change the name, according to the City Attorney’s Office, had to do with removing the demeaning connotation of using “prostitute” as a noun. This change was another step in Seattle’s shift to re-focus prostitution efforts on targeting solicitors of sex work and businesses that promote the sex trade.
Given the increase of police attention on prostitution activity, it is important to understand the law:
“Sexual Exploitation” in Seattle is the same crime as “Patronizing a Prostitute”, as it remains called elsewhere in Washington State. This crime is a misdemeanor under Washington State legislature (RCW 9A.88.110). A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if:
- Pursuant to prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; or
- He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or
- He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.
- For purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” has the meaning given in RCW 9A.88.030
Patronizing or Sexual Exploitation charges can impact your job, family, criminal record, and even immigration status. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help. If you have any questions about the law or are facing charges of your own, please contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for a Free Consultation.