What is compelling prostitution in Texas?

The offense of compelling prostitution in Texas is a serious felony offense, it’s a more serious charge with an “under 18” enhancement.

What is prostitution in Texas?

Sex for money basically. Texas Penal Code 43.02(a) says that prostitution is knowingly offering or agreeing to receive a fee to engage in sexual conduct with another person.

What is compelling prostitution?

Most people consider this the work of a pimp, but with force or threats involved. Texas Penal Code 43.05 defines compelling prostitution causing another by force, threat, or fraud to commit prostitution, and is a 2nd-degree felony (2-20 years in TDC). Compelling prostitution under 18 means to cause by any means a child younger than 18 years to commit prostitution and is a 1st-degree felony (5-99 years in TDC). It does not matter if the actor knows that a person is under 18 at the time of the offense.

What does it mean to cause a minor to engage in prostitution by “any means”?

Case law gives us some guidance on this issue. Any means is obviously interpreted pretty broadly by our appellate courts.

In considering whether a person has caused a minor to engage in prostitution, courts have concluded that a person “who provides opportunity for a willing minor to engage in prostitution and influences, persuades or prevails upon her to do so has . . . caused the prostitution.” Waggoner v. State, 897 S.W.2d 510, 512 (Tex. App.—Austin 1995, no. pet.); see also Kelly v. State, 453 S.W.3d 634, 641–42 (Tex. App.—Waco 2015, pet. ref’d)

For example, if you meet someone who is a minor and a prostitute, and you assist them in committing further acts of prostitution, then you have compelled prostitution of a minor. Here’s a cite for that idea.

See also Smith v. State, No. 05-09-01331-CR, 2011 WL 2090256, at *4 (Tex. App.—Dallas May 27, 2011, no pet.) (mem. op., not designated for publication) (“Furthermore, [the child’s] willingness to prostitute herself before and after her involvement with appellant does not mean he did not cause [the child], ‘by any means,’ to commit prostitution. Appellant provided [the child] with the opportunity to engage in prostitution and influenced or persuaded her to do so.”).


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