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New Jersey PROSTITUTION LAWS

New Jersey Prostitution Laws

1. Prostitution and Related Offenses – 2C:34-1

a. As used in this section:

(1) “Prostitution” is sexual activity with another person in exchange for something of economic value, or the offer or acceptance of an offer to engage in sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value.

(2) “Sexual activity” includes, but is not limited to, sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, and oral-anal contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex; masturbation; touching of the genitals, buttocks, or female breasts; sadistic or masochistic abuse and other deviate sexual relations.

(3) “House of prostitution” is any place where prostitution or promotion of prostitution is regularly carried on by one person under the control, management or supervision of another.

(4) “Promoting prostitution” is:

(a) Owning, controlling, managing, supervising or otherwise keeping, alone or in association with another, a house of prostitution or a prostitution business;

(b) Procuring an inmate for a house of prostitution or place in a house of prostitution for one who would be an inmate;

(c) Encouraging, inducing, or otherwise purposely causing another to become or remain a prostitute;

(d) Soliciting a person to patronize a prostitute;

(e) Procuring a prostitute for a patron;

(f) Transporting a person into or within this State with purpose to promote that person’s engaging in prostitution, or procuring or paying for transportation with that purpose; or

(g) Knowingly leasing or otherwise permitting a place controlled by the actor, alone or in association with others, to be regularly used for prostitution or promotion of prostitution, or failure to make a reasonable effort to abate such use by ejecting the tenant, notifying law enforcement authorities, or other legally available means.

b. A person commits an offense if:

(1) The actor engages in prostitution as a patron;

(2) The actor promotes prostitution;

(3) The actor knowingly promotes prostitution of a child under 18 whether or not the actor mistakenly believed that the child was 18 years of age or older, even if such mistaken belief was reasonable;

(4) The actor knowingly promotes prostitution of the actor’s child, ward, or any other person for whose care the actor is responsible;

(5) The actor compels another to engage in or promote prostitution;

(6) The actor promotes prostitution of the actor’s spouse;

(7) The actor knowingly engages in prostitution with a person under the age of 18, or if the actor enters into or remains in a house of prostitution for the purpose of engaging in sexual activity with a child under the age of 18, or if the actor solicits or requests a child under the age of 18 to engage in sexual activity. It shall be no defense to a prosecution under this paragraph that the actor mistakenly believed that the child was 18 years of age or older, even if such mistaken belief was reasonable; or

(8) The actor engages in prostitution by personally offering sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value.

c. Grading of offenses under subsection b.

(1) An offense under subsection b. constitutes a crime of the first degree if the offense falls within paragraph (3) or (4) of that subsection.

(2) An offense under subsection b. constitutes a crime of the second degree if the offense falls within paragraph (7) of that subsection.

(3) An offense under subsection b. constitutes a crime of the third degree if the offense falls within paragraph (5) or (6) of that subsection.

(4) An offense under paragraph (2) of subsection b. constitutes a crime of the third degree if the conduct falls within subparagraph (a), (b), (c), (f), or (g) of paragraph (4) of subsection a. Otherwise the offense is a crime of the fourth degree.

(5) An offense under [subsection b. constitutes a disorderly persons offense if the offense falls within] paragraph (1) of [that] subsection b. [except that a second or third conviction for such an offense] constitutes a crime of the fourth degree, [and] except that a fourth or subsequent conviction for such an offense constitutes a crime of the third degree. In addition, where a motor vehicle was used in the commission of any offense under paragraph (1) of subsection b. the court shall suspend for six months the driving privilege of any such offender who has a valid driver’s license issued by this State. Upon conviction, the court shall immediately collect the offender’s driver’s license and shall forward it, along with a report stating the first and last day of the suspension imposed pursuant to this paragraph, to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.

(6) An offense under subsection b. constitutes a disorderly persons offense if the offense falls within paragraph (8) of that subsection, except that a second or subsequent conviction for such an offense constitutes a crime of the fourth degree.

d. Presumption from living off prostitutes. A person, other than the prostitute or the prostitute’s minor child or other legal dependent incapable of self-support, who is supported in whole or substantial part by the proceeds of prostitution is presumed to be knowingly promoting prostitution.

e. It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that, during the time of the alleged commission of the offense, the defendant was a victim of human trafficking pursuant to section 1 of P.L.2005, c.77 (C.2C:13-8) or compelled by another to engage in sexual activity, regardless of the defendant’s age.

f. (1) Any fine set forth in N.J.S.2C:43-3 that is imposed upon a person by a municipal court for a conviction of a disorderly persons offense under this section shall be collected, notwithstanding the procedures for the collection of fines and restitutions in section 3 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:46-4), by the municipal court administrator and paid into the municipal treasury of the municipality in which the offense was committed.

(2) In addition to any fine, fee, assessment, or penalty authorized under the provisions of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, a person convicted of an offense of prostitution or related offense under paragraph (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), or (7) of subsection b. shall be assessed a penalty of at least $10,000 but not more than $50,000, except if the offense involved promotion of the prostitution of a child under the age of 18, the penalty shall be at least $25,000. All penalties provided for in this subsection, collected as provided for the collection of fines and restitutions in section 3 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:46-4), shall be forwarded to the Department of the Treasury to be deposited in the “Human Trafficking Survivor’s Assistance Fund” established by section 2 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-238).

(3) Any fine set forth in N.J.S.2C:43-3 that is imposed upon a person convicted of an offense of prostitution under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of this section shall be collected, notwithstanding the procedures for the collection of fines and restitutions in section 3 of P.L.1979, c.396 (C.2C:46-4), and forwarded to the Department of the Treasury to be deposited in the “Human Trafficking Survivor’s Assistance Fund” established by section 2 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-238).

2. Section 11 of P.L. 2013, c.51 (C.2C:34-1.2) is amended to read as follows:

11. a. In addition to any other disposition authorized by law, the court shall order any person convicted of a [disorderly persons offense] crime of the fourth degree for engaging in prostitution as a patron pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:34-1 to participate in the “Prostitution Offender Program” established pursuant to subsection d. of this section, unless the prosecutor, by motion, requests that the mandatory participation be waived, in which case the court may waive the program participation required by this section.

b. In addition to any fine, fee, assessment, or penalty authorized under the provisions of Title 2C of the New Jersey Statutes, a person convicted of an offense of engaging in prostitution as a patron pursuant to paragraph (1) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:34-1 shall be assessed, if ordered to participate in the “Prostitution Offender Program,” a fee of $500.

c. Each $500 fee assessed as required by this section shall be collected by the court, and forwarded to the Department of the Treasury to be deposited in the “Human Trafficking Survivor’s Assistance Fund” established by section 2 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-238). From this fee, $200 shall be retained in the fund, and the remaining $300 shall be distributed as follows: $200 to the approved provider of the “Prostitution Offender Program,” as established under subsection d. of this section, attended by the person; and $100 to the law enforcement agency that arrested the person resulting in that person’s conviction.

d. (1) There is hereby established an education program to be known as the “Prostitution Offender Program,” which shall consist of an instructional program on prostitution and human trafficking schemes offered in one or more locations throughout the State as follows:

(a) by a county or local governmental entity, if that county or local governmental entity demonstrates an interest in establishing a program, submits information pertaining to the proposed operation of an instructional program by the county or local governmental entity, or alternatively, by a nonprofit or other private provider on behalf of the county or local governmental entity, and the Attorney General, in consultation with the Commission on Human Trafficking created by section 1 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-237), approves the program and the provider thereof, if the proposed provider is a nonprofit or other private entity. If a county or local governmental entity establishes and operates an instructional program, then all courts operating within the jurisdiction of that county or local governmental entity shall order a person convicted of an eligible offense under subsection a. of this section to attend that county or local governmental entity’s program; provided, a court shall not be required to order a person to attend that program until the first day of the month next following the date on which the Attorney General notifies the Administrative Office of the Courts that the program has been established and approved by the Attorney General; and

(b) by the State, to be established within six months of the effective date of this section, based upon the Attorney General, in consultation with the Commission on Human Trafficking created by section 1 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-237), approving an instructional program to be provided by one or more approved nonprofit or other private providers in multiple locations throughout the State. Any court in a jurisdiction that does not have an approved county or local governmental entity instructional program as established under subparagraph (a) of this paragraph shall order a person convicted of an eligible offense under subsection a. of this section to attend the approved State program established under this subparagraph, unless there is an extra-jurisdictional county or local governmental entity instructional program within 25 miles of the court, and the court has been notified in accordance with this subparagraph, or subparagraph (a) of this paragraph, of the availability of that program to accept participants from the court, in which case the court may instead order a person to attend the county or local governmental entity’s instructional program; regarding any program notice under this subparagraph, a court shall not be required to order a person to attend a program until the first day of the month next following the date on which the Attorney General notifies the Administrative Office of the Courts that the program has been established and approved by the Attorney General.

(2) The program shall include information intended to increase the person’s awareness of:

(a) the causes of prostitution and its relationship to human trafficking;

(b) the health risks connected with prostitution, including the risk of transmittable diseases;

(c) the consequences of convictions for prostitution or human trafficking, including penalties for subsequent convictions; and

(d) the pervasiveness of human trafficking and the effects of human trafficking on its victims.

(3) Pursuant to section 2 of P.L.2013, c.51 (C.52:17B-238), the Attorney General, in consultation with the Commission on Human Trafficking, may provide for the expenditures of monies from the “Human Trafficking Survivor’s Assistance Fund” to assist with the development, maintenance, revision, and distribution of instructional program materials for the “Prostitution Offender Program,” and the operation of this instructional program.

3. This act shall take effect immediately.

STATEMENT

This bill provides for enhanced penalties for the crime of engaging in prostitution as a patron. In New Jersey, the offense of prostitution encompasses different conduct by various actors; penalties for the offense vary, depending on the unlawful conduct. This bill addresses conduct by persons who purchase sexual activity, commonly referred to as “johns.” Under paragraph (1) of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:34-1, a person commits this offense if the actor engages in prostitution as a patron, or one who purchases sexual activity with another person in exchange for something of economic value, or the offer or acceptance of an offer to engage in sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value. Currently, a violation of this provision is a disorderly persons offense for a first offense, punishable by up to six months imprisonment, a fine of up to $1,000, or both. For a second or third violation, it is a crime of the fourth degree, punishable by up to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of up to $10,000, or both. For a fourth violation, it is a crime of the third degree, punishable by three to five years imprisonment, a fine of up to $15,000, or both. In addition to any other disposition for the offense, N.J.S.A.2C:34-1.2 assesses additional penalties upon persons convicted of engaging in prostitution as a patron which include an assessment of $500, and can include participation in a prostitution offender program.

This bill increases prostitution by a patron to a crime of the fourth degree, except that a fourth violation remains a crime of the third degree. In addition, the bill provides that any fine collected shall be forwarded to the Department of the Treasury to be deposited in the “Human Trafficking Survivor’s Assistance Fund” (the HTSAF) established by N.J.S.A.52:17B-238.

It is the sponsor’s view that in combatting prostitution, closely related to the crime of human trafficking, greater emphasis should be placed on eliminating the demand for persons who may be victims of sex trafficking by targeting persons who purchase sexual activity. All monies deposited in the HTSAF fund are required by the law to be used for the provision of services to victims of human trafficking, to promote awareness of human trafficking, and the development, maintenance, revision, and distribution of training courses and other educational materials, and the operation of educational or training programs.

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