Prostitution involves engaging in sexual activity, sometimes described as sexual services in exchange for payment.

Helen Holder of Kangs Solicitors provides an insight into the laws in relation to prostitution.

Kangs Solicitors has a proven track record spanning more than twenty years of successfully representing clients accused of sexual offences.

We have acted in many high-profile investigations such as the wide-ranging Metropolitan Police investigation ‘Operation Yewtree’.

Recognised as one of the leading criminal defence firms in the country, we are top ranked in Band 1 and Tier 1 for our work in this area by both the leading legal directories Chambers UK and the Legal 500.

For an initial no obligation discussion, please call our Team at any of our offices detailed below:

The Definition Of A Prostitute | Kangs Sexual Offences Solicitors

Section 54(2) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 defines a prostitute as:

“A person (A) who, on at least one occasion and whether or not compelled to do so, offers or provides sexual services to another person in return for payment or a promise of payment to A or a third person; and ‘prostitution’ is to be interpreted accordingly.” 

Loitering Or Soliciting For Prostitution | Sexual Offences Defence Solicitors

  • Section 1(1) of the Street Offences Act 1959, (as amended by Section 16 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009), creates the offence making it illegal for a person to:

persistently loiter or solicit in a street or public place for the purposes of offering services as a prostitute.”

  • Such conduct is persistent if it takes place on two or more occasions in any three-month period.  To evidence this, two police officers need to witness the activity and issue a “Prostitute’s Caution.”
  • As the offence only relates to persons aged eighteen or over, a child cannot commit the offence.
  • The offence is summary only, which means that it can only be heard in a Magistrates’ Court. It is punishable by way of a level two fine which increases to level three if the offender has a like previous conviction. 
  • Alternatively, the Court can impose an Order requiring attendance at meetings with a supervisor whose purpose it is to address the causes of prostitution and find ways to cease engaging in the activity.

Brothels | Kangs Solicitors Sexual Offences Advisory Team  

  • There are a number of offences under the Sexual Offences Act 1956 relating to brothels including:

Section 33:            keeping a brothel;

Section 33A:         keeping, managing, acting or assisting in the management of a brothel;

Section 34:            a landlord letting premises for use as a brothel;

Section 35:            a tenant permitting premises to be used as a brothel;

Section 36:            a tenant permitting premises to be used for prostitution.

A brothel is defined in Case Law in 1931 as:

“a place where people of opposite sexes are allowed to resort for illicit intercourse, whether common prostitutes or not”

  • it does not have to be proven that payment for services was made and a property occupied by one woman and used by her alone for prostitution is not a brothel. 

Punishment for breach:

Sections 33 – 36: these are summary only offences, meaning that they can only be tried in a Magistrates’ court.  If the offender has no previous convictions, the maximum sentence is three months imprisonment and / or a level three fine.  If the offender has a previous conviction, the sentence increases to six months imprisonment and / or a level four fine.

Section 33A: the offence is an either way offence, meaning that it can be tried in either a Magistrates’ Court or a Crown Court.  This section was introduced through the Sexual Offences Act 2003 to allow for greater punishment for those who exploit prostitution and to cover the element of control.  The maximum sentence is one of seven years imprisonment in the Crown Court and / or the statutory maximum fine of five thousand pounds.

Kerb Crawling | Kangs Criminal Defence Solicitors

  • The offence known commonly as “kerb crawling” was created by section 51A of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, (as amended by section 19 of the Policing and Crime Act 20029), making it an offence:

“for a person in a street or public place to solicit another for the purpose of obtaining a sexual service.”

  • The offence includes a person being within a motor vehicle in a street or public place.
  • The offence is only triable before a Magistrates’ Court with the maximum penalty being a fine not exceeding level three. However, there are other ancillary sentencing powers available to a Court such as disqualifying from driving or depriving the offender of property used to commit / facilitate the offence.

Causing Or Inciting Prostitution For Gain | Kangs Criminal Offences Solicitors

  • Section 52(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 states a person commits an offence if:
  1. a) He intentionally causes or incites another person to become a prostitute in any part of the world, and
  2. b) He does so for or in the expectation of gain for himself or third party. 
  3. The offence was enacted to target those offenders who cause prostitution through some form of fraud or persuasion.  In order to prove the offence, the Prosecution has to prove that the offender contemplated or desired that the act would follow and it was done at his express or implied authority or as a result of him exercising control or influence.
  4. If the complainant has been involved in prostitution before either home or abroad the offence is not established. 

Controlling Prostitution For Gain | Kangs Defence Solicitors For Sexual Offences

  • Section 53(1) of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 states a person commits an offence if:
  1. He intentionally controls any of the activities of another person relating to that person’s prostitution in any part of the world, and
  2. He does so for or in the expectation of gain for himself or a third party.
  3. ‘Gain’ is specifically defined as:
  1. Any financial advantage, including the discharge of an obligation to pay or the provision of goods or services (including sexual services) gratuitously or at a discount; or
  2. The goodwill of any person which is or appears likely, in time, to bring financial advantage. 
    • Control includes compulsion, force and coercion.  It is sufficient for the person to act under the instruction or direction of the offender.
    • Both the section 52 and 53 offences are designed to be aimed at those who cause, incite or control others aged eighteen and over to become a prostitute. 
    • Both offences are either way offences, triable in either the Magistrates’ or the Crown Court.  On conviction in the Crown Court, the maximum sentence is one of seven years imprisonment. 

Who Can I Contact For Advice & Help? | Kangs Solicitors

The team at Kangs Solicitors has many years experience defending clients facing sexual offence allegations of every conceivable nature.

In our experience, seeking early advice is essential once it is known an investigation is being conducted.

Crucially, it is always important to have a solicitor present in interview at the police station, whether it is an interview by appointment or under arrest.

If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our team through any of the following:

Hamraj Kang
07976 258171 | 020 7936 6396 | 0121 449 9888

Helen Holder
0121 449 988807989 521210

Sukhdip Randhawa
0121 449 9888 | 020 7936 6396