Arrested once, lose it all


Georgia prostitution laws strictly prohibit pay-for-sex acts including pimping, pandering, masturbation for hire, idle and loiter for illicit sex, solicitation for sexual acts, keeping a place of prostitution (such as renting a hotel room), and using an escort service.[1] These codes allow for the immediate arrest and booking of sex buyers across the state. Though it’s illegal to engage in sex for money with a person of any age, there are heightened penalties if the person is under the age of 18.
 
Studies on the sex trade in Georgia show that a high level of minors are involved in the sex trade, particularly online on websites. These minors often “lie up” about their age to avoid law enforcement detection. If you are a sex buying hobbyist, the chances that you have bought a minor is probably higher than you think—47% of sex providers under the age of 18 advertise on websites like Backpage.com, Craigslist, Cityvibe, and TheEroticReview.
 

Closeup view of a police officer handcuffing a buyer

 
According to Georgia law, you don’t need to know that she or he is under 18 to get charged for human trafficking. If the person is a minor, you are guilty of trafficking regardless of what you did or didn’t know. Soliciting an underage person results in a felony conviction, and imprisonment of at least five years, and up to twenty years, and a fine of between $2,500 and $10,000.
 
Regardless of whether you receive aggravated charges onto a sex buying sentence—typical for a minor, the consequences can seriously impact your life. Interviews with buyers arrested for buying sex show that everyone has something to lose from purchasing sex, whether that be personal relationships, jobs, public reputation, or something else. Nobody expects to get caught, but it happens all the time, and it could certainly happen to you. It’s up to you to determine if purchasing sex is worth the risk, and many men who have been caught will tell you that it isn’t worth it.

  • I got caught by an undercover cop who set up a fake ad on backpage.com. I went and paid her, and then right when I thought we were about to have sex, several other cops came in and arrested me for pandering. I had to pay a fine and my mug shot is now on the Internet for anyone to see. — Arrested buyer, age 25

 

  • I got arrested for soliciting a prostitute two years ago. Now, I still have trouble getting certain jobs. I tried to work at a bar but my county doesn’t let people with charges like this get alcohol pouring permits for five years after the charge. Now I’m working at a convenience store until I can find a better job. — Arrested buyer, age 28

 

  • I didn’t think buying sex was a big deal. I had heard of other men I know doing it and I didn’t think twice. I never thought I would get caught, especially by the cops. I never thought my wife would divorce me, I would lose my job, my relationship with my kids, and my friends and family. Now, people in my town know me as an offender and I have no respect left from anyone. — Arrested buyer, age 33
     

  • The one time I went outside of my marriage and paid for sex I got chlamydia. I didn’t show any symptoms so I thought I was fine, but then my wife got it from me. Now I have an STI and a broken marriage. — Arrested buyer, age 35

 

  • Honestly, I got bored with the sex my wife and I were having. I wanted something more exciting, so I started buying it from other women. It was amazing at first; I finally got to have some excitement in my life. But after a while I felt so guilty and ended up confessing what I had done to my wife. We’re still trying to fix our relationship but things just aren’t the same between us anymore. — Arrested buyer, age 41

 

  • The first time I bought sex I was 17. My buddies and I had gone out for the night and decided to purchase some sex too. At first I was uncomfortable with the situation, but went through with the sex because I knew that my friends would’ve judged me and deemed me less masculine. I began purchasing prostitutes for the adrenaline rush. After getting caught and facing the consequences last year I realized I shouldn’t have let peer pressure and an addiction to the thrill ruin my life. — Arrested buyer, age 23

 


[1] See for example Georgia codes:

16-6-9
A person commits the offense of prostitution when he or she performs or offers or consents to perform a sexual act, including but not limited to sexual intercourse or sodomy, for money or other items of value.

16-6-10

A person having or exercising control over the use of any place or conveyance which would offer seclusion or shelter for the practice of prostitution commits the offense of keeping a place of prostitution when he knowingly grants or permits the use of such place for the purpose of prostitution.

16-6-11
A person commits the offense of pimping when he or she performs any of the following acts:

  1. Offers or agrees to procure a prostitute for another;
  2. Offers or agrees to arrange a meeting of persons for the purpose of prostitution;
  3. Directs or transports another person to a place when he or she knows or should know that the direction or transportation is for the purpose of prostitution;
  4. Receives money or other thing of value from a prostitute, without lawful consideration, knowing it was earned in whole or in part from prostitution; or
  5. Aids or abets, counsels, or commands another in the commission of prostitution or aids or assists in prostitution where the proceeds or profits derived therefrom are to be divided on a pro rata basis.

16-6-12
A person commits the offense of pandering when he or she solicits a person to perform an act of prostitution in his or her own behalf or in behalf of a third person or when he or she knowingly assembles persons at a fixed place for the purpose of being solicited by others to perform an act of prostitution.