About Abuse

Forced Prostitution

Updated: 
September 1, 2016

What is prostitution?

Prostitution is the exchange of sexual acts for money, food, rent, drugs, or something else of value.  Prostitution can be a form of sexual exploitation and forcing a person into prostitution can be one way that an abuser commits domestic violence against his/her intimate partner. Sexual exploitation can include forcing someone to participate in any of the following:

  • street prostitution;
  • massage parlors or brothels;
  • escort services;
  • strip clubs;
  • phone sex;
  • pornography; and
  • domestic and international trafficking.

Prostitution is illegal everywhere in the United States except parts of Nevada.  However, in more recent years through statutes and case decisions, many states have moved away from putting the focus of punishment on the prostitute and instead focused on the person who makes prostitution an ongoing business.*

In Colorado, for instance, someone who is a prostitute can at most can face up to 6 months of prison time and/or a $50 - $750 fine, depending on the individual case.**  But in the same state, a pimp (the person who arranges for clients for a prostituted woman) or a “john” (the person who hires the prostitute) can face up to 12 years of prison time and a fine of $750,000.***

* Wharton’s Criminal Law § 266
** C.R.S. § § 18-7-201; 18-1.3-501
*** C.R.S. § § 18-7-206; 18-1.3-401