Written by attorney Richard C. Southard

Better to be a prostitute than a masseuse in New York?

There seems to be a renewed interest by New York law enforcement in the world's oldest profession. This increase in arrests and prosecution has raised many questions in the sex trade industry about the difference bewtween "massages" and prostitution. More specifically, there is a mistaken belief that it is legally safer to solicit clients for a "massage" or "body rub" than to solicit actual sex. In order to understand this seeming contradiction, we need to start at the statute governing prostitution in New York.

NY Penal Law Section 230 states: "A person is guilty of prostitution when such person engages or agrees or offers to engage in sexual conduct with another person in return for a fee. It is a class B Misdemeanor punishable up to 90 days in jail.

Unfortunately for those in the sex trade industry who choose to work in New York, rather than the counties where it's legal n Nevada, New York has gotten more aggressive of late. Those who are soliciting clients under the guise of massages or body rubs are now being charged more frequently with New York Education Law Sections 6512, 7801 and 7802 for the Unlawful Practice of a Profession. This is a class E Felony punishable up to four years in jail!! The fact is New York requires, among other requirements, over one thousand hours of school and training to become a licensed masseuse. The irony is that if the masseuse offers "happy endings" "full service" or any of the other euphemisms in the industry, they will be charged with prostitution as well.

Additional resources provided by the author

New York Penal Law Section 230 New York Education Law Sections 6512 and 7801 through 7806

Free Q&A with lawyers in your area

Can’t find what you’re looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer