New Jersey defines prostitution in N.J.S. 2C:34-1a(1):
“Prostitution” in New Jersey 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.
Two varieties of prostitution exist in New Jersey. The first variety is the “traditional” kind: An actor commits an offense if the actor engages in prostitution by personally offering sexual activity in exchange for something of economic value. This page refers to that person as the sex worker. The second variety reaches the offeror: A person commits an offense if the person engages in prostitution as a patron.
The language of the statute is “gender neutral.” Thus a male can be the sex worker, with the female being the patron. Note also that (as explicitly stated in the statute) the patron (“John” or, now, “Jane”) arrives on a completely equal footing of culpability as the sex worker. Combined, these two features consider male-female activity identically as female-male activity. And, for that matter, New Jersey equally treats male-male and female-female activity.
New Jersey classifies both varieties of prostitution as disorderly persons offenses. However, second and third convictions for prostitution as a patron are fourth degree crimes. If convicted a fourth time or greater, it is a third degree crime. Heightened classifications are also specified for subsequent convictions of the sex worker. All convictions after the first conviction constitute fourth degree crimes.
In addition to the two activities constituting prostitution described above, New Jersey defines other prostitution-related offenses. N.J.S. 2C:34-1.1 proscribes “Loitering for the purpose of engaging in prostitution.” Under that statute, it is an offense to “wander, remain, or prowl” in a public place for the purpose of engaging in prostitution (either as a patron or as a sex worker), or for the purpose of promoting prostitution.
“Promoting prostitution” is another prostitution-related offense. New Jersey defines numerous varieties of promoting prostitution. Promoting prostitution thus includes owning or managing a house where prostitution occurs; procuring an inmate for a house of prostitution; procuring a patron for a sex worker; procuring a sex worker for a patron; and inducing another to become or remain a prostitute. All varieties of promoting prostitution are felonies. Depending on various circumstances, promoting prostitution in New Jersey can be a first- second- third- or fourth degree crime.
The information on this page barely scratches the surface. Allan Marain and Norman Epting, Jr. are New Jersey prostitution lawyers. Their combined experience representing persons accused of prostitution and other criminal offenses exceeds sixty-five years. They are New Jersey prostitution lawyers who represent their clients with skill, understanding, and discretion. They have successfully represented persons charged with prostitution and prostitution-related offenses. Persons charged with prostitution and prostitution-related offenses should call them. They can help.