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Prostitution Laws of Washington



RCW 9A.88.030 Prostitution

RCW 9A.88.040 Prosecution for prostitution under RCW 9A.88.030 — Affirmative defense

RCW 9A.88.050 Prostitution — Sex of parties immaterial — No defense

RCW 9A.88.060 Promoting prostitution — Definitions

RCW 9A.88.070 Promoting prostitution in the first degree

RCW 9A.88.080 Promoting prostitution in the second degree

RCW 9A.88.085 Promoting travel for prostitution

RCW 9A.88.090 Permitting prostitution

RCW 9A.88.110 Patronizing a prostitute



RCW 9A.88.030 Prostitution.

(1) A person is guilty of prostitution if such person engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee.

(2) For purposes of this section, "sexual conduct" means "sexual intercourse" or "sexual contact," both as defined in chapter 9A.44 RCW.

(3) Prostitution is a misdemeanor.

[1988 c 145 § 16; 1979 ex.s. c 244 § 15; 1975 1st ex.s. c 260 § 9A.88.030.] Notes:
Effective date -- Savings -- Application -- 1988 c 145: See notes following RCW 9A.44.010. Effective date -- 1979 ex.s. c 244: See RCW 9A.44.902.

RCW 9A.88.040 Prosecution for prostitution under RCW 9A.88.030 — Affirmative defense.

In any prosecution for prostitution under RCW 9A.88.030, it is an affirmative defense that the actor committed the offense as a result of being a victim of trafficking, RCW 9A.40.100, promoting prostitution in the first degree, RCW 9A.88.070, or trafficking in persons under the trafficking victims protection act of 2000, 22 U.S.C. Sec. 7101 et seq. Documentation that the actor is named as a current victim in an information or the investigative records upon which a conviction is obtained for trafficking, promoting prostitution in the first degree, or trafficking in persons shall create a presumption that the person's participation in prostitution was a result of having been a victim of trafficking, promoting prostitution in the first degree, or trafficking in persons.

[2012 c 142 § 1.]


RCW 9A.88.050 Prostitution — Sex of parties immaterial — No defense.

In any prosecution for prostitution, the sex of the two parties or prospective parties to the sexual conduct engaged in, contemplated, or solicited is immaterial, and it is no defense that:

     (1) Such persons were of the same sex; or

     (2) The person who received, agreed to receive, or solicited a fee was a male and the person who paid or agreed or offered to pay such fee was female.

[1975 1st ex.s. c 260 § 9A.88.050.]


RCW 9A.88.060 Promoting prostitution — Definitions.


The following definitions are applicable in RCW 9A.88.070 through 9A.88.090:

(1) "Advances prostitution." A person "advances prostitution" if, acting other than as a prostitute or as a customer thereof, he or she causes or aids a person to commit or engage in prostitution, procures or solicits customers for prostitution, provides persons or premises for prostitution purposes, operates or assists in the operation of a house of prostitution or a prostitution enterprise, or engages in any other conduct designed to institute, aid, or facilitate an act or enterprise of prostitution.

(2) "Profits from prostitution." A person "profits from prostitution" if, acting other than as a prostitute receiving compensation for personally rendered prostitution services, he or she accepts or receives money or other property pursuant to an agreement or understanding with any person whereby he or she participates or is to participate in the proceeds of prostitution activity.

[2011 c 336 § 412; 1975 1st ex.s. c 260 § 9A.88.060.]


RCW 9A.88.070 Promoting prostitution in the first degree.

(1) A person is guilty of promoting prostitution in the first degree if he or she knowingly advances prostitution:

     (a) By compelling a person by threat or force to engage in prostitution or profits from prostitution which results from such threat or force; or

     (b) By compelling a person with a mental incapacity or developmental disability that renders the person incapable of consent to engage in prostitution or profits from prostitution that results from such compulsion.

(2) Promoting prostitution in the first degree is a class B felony.

[2012 c 141 § 1; 2007 c 368 § 13; 1975 1st ex.s. c 260 §9A.88.070 .]


RCW 9A.88.080 Promoting prostitution in the second degree.

(1) A person is guilty of promoting prostitution in the second degree if he or she knowingly:

     (a) Profits from prostitution; or

     (b) Advances prostitution.

(2) Promoting prostitution in the second degree is a class C felony.

[2011 c 336 § 413; 1975 1st ex.s. c 260 § 9A.88.080.]


RCW 9A.88.085 Promoting travel for prostitution.

(1) A person commits the offense of promoting travel for prostitution if the person knowingly sells or offers to sell travel services that include or facilitate travel for the purpose of engaging in what would be patronizing a prostitute or promoting prostitution, if occurring in the state.
(2) For purposes of this section, "travel services" has the same meaning as defined in RCW 19.138.021. (3) Promoting travel for prostitution is a class C felony.
[2006 c 250 § 2.] Notes: Finding -- 2006 c 250: "The legislature finds that the sex industry has rapidly expanded over the past several decades. It involves sexual exploitation of persons, predominantly women and girls, including activities relating to prostitution, pornography, sex tourism, and other commercial sexual services. Prostitution and related activities contribute to the trafficking in persons, as does sex tourism. Therefore, discouraging sex tourism is key to reducing the demand for sex trafficking. While prostitution is illegal in developing nations that are the primary destination of sex tourism, sex tourism is a major component of the local economy. The laws target female workers rather than the male customers, and economic opportunities for females are limited. Developed nations create the demand for sex tourism, yet often fail to criminalize the practice, or the existing laws fail to specifically target the sellers of travel who organize, facilitate, and promote sex tourism."

[2006 c 250 § 1.]


RCW 9A.88.090 Permitting prostitution.

(1) A person is guilty of permitting prostitution if, having possession or control of premises which he or she knows are being used for prostitution purposes, he or she fails without lawful excuse to make reasonable effort to halt or abate such use.

(2) Permitting prostitution is a misdemeanor.

[2011 c 336 § 414; 1975 1st ex.s. c 260 § 9A.88.090.]



RCW 9A.88.110 Patronizing a prostitute.

(1) A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if:

     (a) Pursuant to a prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; or

     (b) He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or

     (c) He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.

(2) For purposes of this section, "sexual conduct" has the meaning given in RCW 9A.88.030. (3) Patronizing a prostitute is a misdemeanor.

[1988 c 146 § 4.] Notes: Severability -- Effective dates -- 1988 c 146: See notes following RCW 9A.44.050.



Source: Washington State Legislature, "Revised Code of Washington," www.leg.wa.gov (accessed Aug. 28, 2012)