Please note that this article is based on Illinois law and only applies to Illinois. Remember, the laws in every state are different.
The crime of solicitation for a prostitute, according to Illinois law, means not only soliciting another for the purpose of prostitution but also arranging or offering to arrange a meeting for the purpose of prostitution.
The crime of prostitution is defined as “Any person who performs, offers or agrees to perform any act of sexual penetration … for any money, property, token, object, or article or anything of value, or any touching or fondling of the sex organs of one person by another person, for any money, property, token, object, or article or anything of value, for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.”
So, if you offer money for sex or even arrange a meeting for the purpose of offering money for sex, you have committed the crime of solicitation for a prostitute.
The “arrangement” includes exchanges over the internet. The crime of solicitation doesn’t necessarily have to happen out on the street or in alley anymore. For example, in Illinois, if you post an ad on the internet seeking a massage with the actual intent of paying for sex, that exchange would be considered arranging or offering to arrange a meeting for the purpose of prostitution.
The rise of internet sites such as Craigslist has led to the rise of the “sting” and an increased crackdown on those who appear to be seeking sex in exchange for money over the internet. Massages, escorts or anything that may have once gone overlooked by law enforcement when it was advertised in a phonebook or storefront is now front and center with the help of the internet. The internet provides an opportunity to engage in conversation that may incriminate a person and provide a set up for a sting.
And, the crackdown is happening both ways. Not only are those who seek or arrange sex for money being pursued by law enforcement, but those who advertise sex for money are also being pursued. For example, offering the service of a massage through an internet ad, whether with the actual intent of arranging a meeting for the purpose of prostitution or not, could open a person up to a possible sting operation by undercover police officers.
The crimes of solicitation for a prostitute and prostitution are typically misdemeanors for first time offenders, which could carry a fine and jail time of up to one year. They are felonies for second time offenders or if the solicitation or act occurred within 1000 feet of a school. Felonies can carry a sentence of more than one year in prison.