Online Promotion of Prostitution – Texas Penal Code §43.031

Texas Criminal Law

The Texas Online Promotion of Prostitution offense is a new criminal law, enacted in 2019.

The Online Promotion of Prostitution offense was created in the wake of the Backpage scandal. Backpage was known for hosting adult services ads and its CEO ultimately pled guilty to sex trafficking. Learn more detailed information about the Online Promotion of Prostitution offense below.

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There is a separate aggravated form of the offense called Aggravated Online Promotion of Prostitution.

What is the current Texas law on Online Promotion of Prostitution ?

The current Texas law defines the offense of Online Promotion of Prostitution in Penal Code Section §43.031 as follows:[1]

(a) A person commits an offense if the person owns, manages, or operates an interactive computer service or information content provider, or operates as an information content provider, with the intent to promote the prostitution of another person or facilitate another person to engage in prostitution or solicitation of prostitution.

Online Promotion of Prostitution was created in the 86th Texas Legislative Session and was effective as of September 1, 2019.[2]

How can I be charged with Online Promotion of Prostitution if…?

You can be charged with Online Promotion of Prostitution if the state’s attorneys believe that each of the elements of 43.031(a) as described in the section above have been met.

What is the punishment range for Online Promotion of Prostitution?

The lowest classification for Online Promotion of Prostitution will be a third degree felony,[3] except that the offense is a second degree felony if you have been previously convicted of this offense or Aggravated Online Promotion of Prostitution;[4] or the state convinces a jury that the conduct involved a person younger than 18 years of age engaging in prostitution, regardless of whether the you knew the age of the person at the time of the offense.[5]

Legal References:

^1. Texas Penal Code §43.031^2. Senate Bill 20, 86th Legislature, Sections 3.02 & 7.01^3. Texas Penal Code §43.031(b)^4. Texas Penal Code §43.031(b)(1)^5. Texas Penal Code §43.031(b)(2)

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