Agents with the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Central Ohio Human Trafficking Task Force raided four Ohio massage parlors suspected of prostitution last month, resulting in the arrest of two people who now face criminal charges.
Xiao Shuang Chao and Qing Xu, both from Columbus, were arrested, although they denied their involvement in charges of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and promoting prostitution at Amsun Massage in Powell. Qing Xu's sister, Estella Xu, also is accused in the crime.
According to Olentangy Valley News, the three suspects each face one count of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, which is a first-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison, up to $20,000 in fines or both. They each face eight counts of promoting prostitution, a fourth-degree felony which could mean between six and 18 months in prison along with up to $5,000 in fines.
The suspects also are charged with three counts of practice of medicine or surgery without a certificate, a fifth-degree felony carrying up to 12 months in prison, and three counts of money laundering, a third-degree felony which could mean up to five years in prison.
In cases such as this, those who are patrons of the massage businesses could be mistaken for johns who are in search of prostitution. Often times during raids like this handfuls of men and women are arrested and charged with solicitation of a prostitute. This is considered a sex crime in Ohio, and the charge could have serious consequences.
Solicitation of a prostitute is defined by the Ohio Rev. Code § 2907.241 as knowingly and intentionally attempting to persuade, compel, induce or encourage someone to participate in sexual activity in order to receive some form of compensation.
The compensation offered or received for the sexual act does not have to be of currency, as most people would think. In solicitation cases, the compensation could be goods, drugs, transportation or any other object or service of monetary value, such as jewelry, clothing or other items.
Additionally, a person can be charged with solicitation even if the person he or she alleged solicited was not a prostitute. For instance, if a massage therapist at a spa alleges a patron solicited her for some sort of sexual activity, he or she still could face criminal charges, no matter if she is a prostitute or not.
This often applies in situations where undercover police officers will impersonate prostitutes in an attempt to lure in those who could potentially be searching for prostitutes. If a person stops and solicits an undercover officer for sexual activity, he or she still could be arrested.
Soliciting prostitution typically is considered a third-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to 60 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both. However, the social stigma could have a much greater impact on a person's life.
If the prostitution actually takes place, a person can be charged with compelling prostitution which is a much more serious offense. It is considered a third-degree felony and is punishable by between one and five years in prison, a fine of up to $10,000 or both.
If the alleged offender compels an individual who is between the ages of 16 and 18 to participate in prostitution, he or she can face second-degree felony charges and be sentenced to between two and eight years in prison, forced to pay a $15,000 fine or both.
Compelling an individual for prostitution who is younger than 16 years old is considered a first-degree felony. This could mean between three and 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
If you are arrested for soliciting a prostitute or compelling prostitution, it is important you understand the severity of the charges you face and how the allegations could affect the personal and professional aspects of your life.
A Columbus solicitation defense attorney at Joslyn Law Firm can be discrete with your case and make sure your rights are protected and represented. Although the arrest is public information, some measures can be taken to ensure this mistake or misunderstanding does not severely disrupt your life. Call 614-444-1900 to schedule a free and confidential consultation today.