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E. Causing or encouraging prostitution of girl or boy under 16

It is an offence contrary to section 135 of the Crimes Ordinance (Cap. 200) for a person to cause or encourage the prostitution of, or an unlawful sexual act with a girl or boy under the age of 16 for whom that person is responsible.

 

The maximum punishment is imprisonment for 10 years.

 

“Prostitution” means a man or a woman offering his or her body commonly for acts of lewdness in return for payment. Prostitution does not require sexual intercourse though frequently that will occur. The essence of prostitution is the offer of the body for acts of lewdness in return for payment.

 

A person is responsible for the girl or boy if he or she is her parent or guardian, has actual possession or control of the girl or boy, or has the custody, charge or care of her/him.

 

The ordinary meaning of “encourage” is suggesting by words and/or by actions that something should happen. The prosecution must prove that the defendant actively encouraged the prostitution or the unlawful sexual act. This is a question of fact in each case. Prostitution may be caused or encouraged by knowingly allowing the boy or girl to consort with prostitutes or enter or continue in the employment of any prostitute or person of known immoral character. Allowing a girl or boy under the age of 16 for whom the defendant is responsible to work or to continue to work in premises where the defendant knows that prostitution or unlawful sexual acts take place would likely be seen as encouragement for the purposes of section 135.

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