Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–2701. Engaging in prostitution or soliciting for prostitution.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, it is unlawful for any person to engage in prostitution or to solicit for prostitution.

(b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, a person convicted of prostitution or soliciting for prostitution shall be:

(A) Fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, imprisoned for not more than 90 days, or both, for the first offense; and

(B) Fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, imprisoned not more than 180 days, or both, for the second offense.

(2) A person convicted of prostitution or soliciting for prostitution who has 2 or more prior convictions for prostitution or soliciting for prostitution, not committed on the same occasion, shall be fined not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both.

(c) For the purposes of this section, a person shall be considered as having 2 or more prior convictions for prostitution or soliciting for prostitution if he or she has been convicted on at least 2 occasions of violations of:

(1) This section;

(2) A statute in one or more other jurisdictions prohibiting prostitution or soliciting for prostitution; or

(3) Conduct that would constitute a violation of this section if committed in the District of Columbia.

(d)(1) A child who engages in or offers to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact in return for receiving anything of value shall be immune from prosecution for a violation of subsection (a) of this section.

(2) The Metropolitan Police Department shall refer any child suspected of engaging in or offering to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact in return for receiving anything of value to an organization that provides treatment, housing, or services appropriate for victims of sex trafficking of children under § 22-1834.

(3) For the purposes of this subsection, the term “child” means a person who has not attained the age of 18 years.


(Aug. 15, 1935, 49 Stat. 651, ch. 546, § 1; June 9, 1948, 62 Stat. 346, ch. 428, title I, § 102; June 29, 1953, 67 Stat. 93, ch. 159, § 202(b); Dec. 10, 1981, D.C. Law 4-57, § 3, 28 DCR 4652; Nov. 21, 1985, D.C. Law 6-62, § 2, 32 DCR 4581; Dec. 1, 1987, D.C. Law 7-44, § 2, 34 DCR 5310; May 24, 1996, D.C. Law 11-130, § 3(a), 43 DCR 1570; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-306,§ 211(a), 53 DCR 8610; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 211, 56 DCR 7413; Apr. 20, 2012, D.C. Law 19-120, § 202, 58 DCR 11235; June 11, 2013, D.C. Law 19-317, § 228, 60 DCR 2064; May 7, 2015, D.C. Law 20-276, § 7, 62 DCR 479.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 22-2701.

1973 Ed., § 22-2701.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 22-1831, § 22-2701.01, § 22-2703, § 22-2723, § 22-2731, § 22-4001, § 42-3101, and § 47-2844.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-306 rewrote the section.

D.C. Law 18-88 rewrote the section, which had read as follows: “It is unlawful for any person to engage in prostitution or to solicit for prostitution. The penalties for violation of this section shall be a fine of $500 or not more than 90 days imprisonment, or both, for the first offense, a fine of $750 or not more than 135 days imprisonment, or both, for the second offense, and a fine of $1,000 or not more than 180 days imprisonment, or both, for the third and each subsequent offense.”

D.C. Law 19-120, in subsecs. (b) and (c), substituted “prostitution or soliciting for prostitution” for “prostitution”.

The 2013 amendment by D.C. Law 19-317 substituted “not more than the amount set forth in § 22-3571.01” for “not more than $500” in (b)(1)(A), for “not more than $1,000” in (b)(1)(B), and for “not more than $4,000” in (b)(2).

The 2015 amendment by D.C. Law 20-276 added “Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section” in (a); and added (d).

Cross References

Alcoholic beverages, licenses transfer or suspension, violation of laws, see §§ 25-316 and 25-823.

Chief of Police, authority and duty in regard to houses of prostitution, see §§ 5-115.06 and 5-115.07.

Conduct of prosecutions under this section, see § 22-1809.

Ownership or possession of a pistol, persons convicted under this section, see § 22-4503.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 2 of the Safe Streets Anti-Prostitution Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-133, August 11, 1995, 42 DCR 4680) and § 2 of the Safe Streets Anti-Prostitution Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-153, November 9, 1995, 42 DCR 6567).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 211(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-445, July 19, 2006, 53 DCR 6443).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 211(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-490, October 18, 2006, 53 DCR 8686).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 211(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-10, January 16, 2007, 54 DCR 1479).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 211(a) of Omnibus Public Safety Second Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2007 (D.C. Act 17-25, April 19, 2007, 54 DCR 4036).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 203 of Crime Bill Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-129, June 29, 2009, 56 DCR 5495).

For temporary (90 days) amendment of this section, see § 228 of the Criminal Fine Proportionality Emergency Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20-45, April 1, 2013, 60 DCR 5400, 20 DCSTAT 1300).

Editor's Notes

Applicability of D.C. Law 19-317: Section 401 of D.C. Law 19-317 provided that the act shall apply only to offenses committed on or after June 11, 2013.