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Posted by Michelle Dellino | Jun 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

Last year, the Seattle Police Department's Vice & High Risk Victims Unit set up a successful sting operation in a Seattle massage parlor. At least 204 men, from all walks of life, were arrested for seeking paid sexual services. Please reference the Seattle Times article from 2016 for more detailed information.

This sting operation was reported to be the first of its kind in Seattle. In prior stings led by the Vice & High Risk Victims Unit, men were arrested and released, receiving a summons in the mail later. The Seattle PD is now pushing mandatory jail bookings when men are arrested for sexual exploitation, and we are aware that SPD remains on high alert for these type of arrests.

We know that being arrested for sexual exploitation may elicit feelings of shame, fear, and uncertainty. If you are facing sexual exploitation charges and feel unsure about how to proceed, please contact us. We are here to answer your questions, help you fight the charges, and advocate your best interests.

“Sexual Exploitation” in Seattle is the same crime as “Patronizing a Prostitute”, as it remains called elsewhere in Washington State. There is no difference in the law behind sexual exploitation vs. patronizing a prostitute, just in the name. The choice to change the name, according to the City Attorney's Office in 2015, had to do with removing the demeaning connotation of using “prostitute” as a noun. This change was another step in Seattle's shift to re-focus prostitution efforts on targeting solicitors of sex work and businesses that promote the sex trade.

Sexual Exploitation is a misdemeanor in WA state (RCW 9A.88.110). A person is guilty of patronizing a prostitute if:

  • Pursuant to prior understanding, he or she pays a fee to another person as compensation for such person or a third person having engaged in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she pays or agrees to pay a fee to another person pursuant to an understanding that in return therefor such person will engage in sexual conduct with him or her; or
  • He or she solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct with him or her in return for a fee.
  • For purposes of this section, “sexual conduct” has the meaning given in RCW 9A.88.030

Patronizing or Sexual Exploitation charges can impact your job, family, criminal record, and even immigration status. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help. If you have any questions about the law or are facing charges of your own, please contact our experienced criminal defense attorneys for a Free Consultation.

About the Author

Michelle Dellino

Michelle Dellino is the Managing Attorney of Dellino Law Group. The firm was founded on her belief that there is, very simply, a solution to every problem. Her personal practice focuses on complex family law matters including high conflict cases; high asset and long term marriage dissolution; cases involving business owners, IT, and medical professionals; domestic violence family law; and preparing cohabitation, prenuptial, and postnuptial agreements. Both a trained mediator and former criminal trial attorney, she has the skills and experience to take a case anywhere it needs to go, whether that is a creative settlement or intensive courtroom litigation. In her free time she chases her four dogs and two cats, loves the New York Yankees because mediocrity is not tolerated in pinstripes, and travels as often as she can.


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