Using an old trick via new means, the Edison Police Department arrested 6 men on solicitation charges after they responded to online ads offering sexual services. According to the Star-Ledger more than 25 men initially contacted the cops after reading the ads, but only 6 showed up. The old method involved undercover police posing as street corner prostitutes, waiting for customers. Once the “customer” offered money in exchange for sexual services, they could be arrested for solicitation. While this old method is still occasionally used, many men peruse online classifieds rather than street sides.
Since December the police have arrested 20 men using this method. They’ve posted several advertisements online offering sex for money throughout the Edison area. Once the deal is made via telephone and the ‘john” shows up to actually further the exchange, he is surprised to find out he is meeting the police, not a prostitute.
The common argument you here in cases like this is that the “john” was entrapped. Though the term “entrapment” is thrown around, it’s rarely applicable in these sort of cases. Entrapment implies the police somehow got a man to act outside of his normal behavior. That he wouldn’t have sought out a prostitute had the police not set it up for him. The fact that the customer had to go online seeking a sexual transaction says differently, however.
Prostitution and solicitation are often considered “victimless” crimes. Both parties are willing and enter into a business transaction. Similar to drug crimes, there are advocates out there that state prostitution should be legalized and regulated both for the safety of the people involved and to lessen any burden on the courts and law enforcement.
But like drug crimes, prostitution goes against what the average person considers morally responsible. Convincing lawmakers and the majority of the population that such “immoral” actions should be allowed is not likely to happen anytime soon.
In the meantime, victimless crimes will be prosecuted and often prosecution pretty severely. If charged in a sting operation, whether for a sex crime or for drug charges, a defense of entrapment is rarely appropriate. An experienced local defense lawyer can assist you in determining the best defense for your particular case, however.
By ensuring your rights are protected at every stage of the process and by speaking on your behalf in court, a defense attorney can help ensure you get the best results possible. If you are facing charges, contact my offices today for a free consultation on your case.