There is good news for D.C. criminal defense lawyers: Prostitution-related arrests can be expected to rise in the coming months. That means more business.
According to the Washington Post, the FBI is targeting “prostitution bosses” around D.C.’s Logan and Thomas circles. Apparently both areas have experienced a surge in prostitution-related activity recently with women in skimpy outfits sharing the streets with residents of these increasingly upscale neighborhoods. The scene, as described by the Post: “A woman wearing tight pants leaned to the passenger side of an SUV. She opened the door and climbed in. Another woman in a red top and short skirt shared a curb with a female jogger, both waiting for the light. Residents emerged from their homes to take out the trash or get a jump on the morning rush.”
Responding to citizen complaints, D.C. police can also be expected to step in to deter criminal activity in these areas. In the most commonly used sting, a female undercover police officer approaches a car at a gas station or corner. She is flirtatious. As soon as there is any discussion of sexual favors in exchange for money, she steps away from the car and other officers swoop in for the arrest. Because the criminal offense of prostitution in D.C. includes solicitation, there does not even have to be agreement between the two parties. Attempted prostitution is also a crime.
The second kind of sting used by D.C. police is slightly more sophisticated. Targeting both providers and recipients of sexual favors, police advertise on Backpages.com or some other social media platform. They invite the mark to a hotel room. The arrest is made after confirming the suspect’s interest in committing the offense.
The arrests go in cycles. You can go a while at D.C. Superior Court without seeing any arraignments for prostitution solicitation at all. The next week half the docket will be devoted to this offense.