Human Trafficking, Prostitution, and Pandering: What is the Difference?

On August 11, 2014, two Long Beach men were found guilty of human tracking, pimping, and pandering, among other felonies. More details about the case can be read here:

Difference Between Pimping, Pandering & Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking, Pandering, and Pimping are three distinct offenses but are frequently misunderstood. Pimping is different from pandering because it involves receiving money from or for a prostitute's work, while pandering is when someone encourages another to become a prostitute. Human trafficking, on the other hand, is forcing someone into providing a service or labor. 

Both pimping and pandering can be charged as felonies, but there are misdemeanor classifications depending on your offense. 

Read more about each offense below. 

Human Trafficking Laws

California Human Trafficking laws are spelled out in Penal Code Section 236.1. According to Penal Code Section 236.1 (a), "any person who deprives or violates the personal liberty of another with the intent to obtain forced labor or services, is guilty of human trafficking…"

In the case of the two Long Beach men recently found guilty, the men were not allowing the women to leave and forcing them to prostitute themselves.

Human trafficking is a felony in California and can be punishable by up to decades in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. 

Laws on Pimping

A prostitute is a person who takes part in sexual activity in exchange for money. To a pimp, a prostitute is an employee.

Under California Penal Code 266h, one is guilty of "pimping" if: 

  • He or she locates customers for their prostitute then later collects money on behalf of their prostitute.
  • If a person takes a portion or all of the prostitute's money that she is paid for her services. Despite not finding the customer, you can be found guilty of prostitutions.
  • He or she advertises a woman's services by means of any form of print, a street corner, the internet, or at a location known for prostitution (known as a brothel).

Felony pimping can be punishable by at least 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. If the prostitute is under 16 years old or if a firearm was involved, you could be facing enhanced punishments. 

What Is Pandering?

Pandering, which the two Long Beach men were also convicted of, is often confused with pimping. According to California Penal Code Section 266i, a person is guilty of pandering if he or she aids another person in their prostitution by influencing them to become a prostitute.

To be found guilty of pandering, a prosecutor only needs to prove two things:

  • (1) the accused persuaded another to be a prostitute and
  • (2) the accused helped to make the person accessible for prostitution.

The persuasion itself can involve threats, promises, intimidation, or fraudulent means to recruit someone into prositution work. 

We Can Defend You

Human trafficking, pimping, and pandering are three very serious felonies which require the services of a skilled Criminal Defense Attorney. Lessem, Newstat & Tooson, LLP not only understands the complex laws, but know the best ways to defend these cases. If you or a loved one has been accused of human trafficking, pandering, or pimping, Lessem & Newstat, LLP can help. Call now for a free consultation!