Ohio has strong laws that place harsh penalties on both sex workers and consumers. Sex work can be construed as any activity where the service is some form of sexual gratification. This can mean anything from prostitution, to webcamming, to stripping, to selling content or even providing “GFE” (Girl Friend Experience).
Ohio law can punish anyone who requests a sexual act in return for “anything of value”. This means that you don’t have to agree to pay someone money for sex to be prosecuted for Solicitation, it can be anything of value. It’s also important to remember that you don’t have to engage in the act in order to be found guilty. All that’s required is you ask for a sexual favor in exchange for “something of value”. For instance, if you say to a woman “if you sleep with me, I’ll buy you breakfast in the morning” you could be criminally liable for Solicitation.
A prostitute is defined as “a male or female who promiscuously engages in sexual activity for hire, regardless of whether the hire is paid to the prostitute or to another.” This is a very broad definition because “sexual activity” is defined as either “sexual conduct” or “sexual contact”. While sexual conduct has a narrower definition, sexual contact is very, very broad. As it’s currently defined, even a lap dance at a licensed Strip Club is considered “sexual contact”. Sex workers who only participate in webcamming, hotlines, and selling contact are relatively safe from prosecution. However, other sex workers do open themselves up to criminal liability.
While dancers could technically be prosecuted under Ohio law this is very rare. It’s much more common for dancers to be prosecuted for prostitution if they do “extras” for club patrons. Recently the State has been much more focused on preventing human trafficking. This means more prosecution and harsher penalties for those who solicit prostitution as opposed to those who engage in the activity.
A Final Word of Advice…
If you do choose to engage in sex work either as a consumer or provider, please note that law enforcement does NOT have to reveal themselves. If you ask a potential customer or provider if they’re law enforcement they DO NOT have to answer honestly, and this DOES NOT constitute entrapment. A law enforcement officer can lie about who they are and that’s totally legal.
If you have more questions, feel free to contact my office at 216-344-9220.