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Texas’s 2019 Online Prostitution Laws

Texas’s 2019 Online Prostitution Laws

In September of 2019, two new Texas laws that are related to online human trafficking and prostitution went into effect, and they address the promotion of prostitution on the internet. Ultimately, the new laws criminalize both the promotion of prostitution online and the “aggravated” promotion of prostitution (aggravated by a mitigating factor) online. In effect, these laws expand the state’s legal code and address the reality that business, including business that is illegal like prostitution, increasingly takes place online.

Serious New Felonies

The new laws put two very serious new felonies on the books, and these include:

  • Online Promotion of Prostitution – The charge of online promotion of prostitution refers to owning, operating, or managing an interactive computer service that is predicated on promoting the prostitution of someone else or that facilitates someone else’s ability to engage in prostitution. Online promotion of prostitution is a 3rd-degree felony (with some exceptions). A prior conviction can elevate the charge to a 2nd-degree felony. Further, if the promotion in question involves someone who is under the age of 18 (regardless of whether the juvenile’s underage status is known to the defendant), it can similarly elevate the charge.

  • Aggravated Online Promotion of Prostitution – The charge of online promotion of prostitution is aggravated if the operation in question involves at least five people who are engaged as prostitutes. The aggravated online promotion of prostitution is a 2nd-degree felony that can be elevated to a 1st-degree felony if the defendant has a prior conviction or if the promotion in question involves someone who is under the age of 18 (regardless of whether the juvenile’s underage status is known to the defendant).

The Online Promotion of Prostitution

The internet has been remarkably well suited to promoting prostitution – as it has for many other legitimate industries. In fact, the majority of international trafficking and prostitution is understood to take place online. It is no longer necessary to cruise for prostitutes on street corners or in the back rooms of bars – a customer can now head to their computer and go directly to the source, including massage parlors, strip clubs, hotel rooms, and more. Businesses that trade in prostitution often implement the same marketing strategies that more traditional businesses (legal businesses) do. The internet has changed the way we do business. Overall, the online promotion of prostitution is closely intertwined with social media platforms, online advertising like Craigslist, and real-time online gaming.

Consult with an Experienced Killeen Criminal Attorney Today

If you face criminal charges of any kind, it is a serious matter, and you need an experienced criminal defense attorney like Brett Pritchard at The Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard in Killeen, Texas, in your corner. Mr. Pritchard has the focus, drive, and legal acumen to skillfully fight for your legal rights while fiercely advocating for a just case resolution. For more information, please do not hesitate to contact us online or call us at 254-501-4040 today.

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