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Are 'sugar baby' arrangements illegal in Florida?

Readers should be aware that it is illegal to engage in solicitation and prostitution in Florida and most jurisdictions across the U.S. However, there are some relationships that may initially seem like prostitution and therefore illegal but actually fall into a legal gray area. 

For example, many people in this state are in a relationship involving a sugar baby. Essentially, these relationships consist of a younger woman dating an older man who provides money and/or gifts in exchange for companionship. Some people argue that these relationships are considered prostitution. However, as noted by an officer for the Tallahassee Police Department, most of these sugar baby relationships are not considered illegal.

The distinction between being a sugar baby and being a prostitute comes down to intent of the parties involved as well as the agreement the two parties have in place.

Prostitution involves performing a sex act in exchange for money. The agreement between the two parties involved is generally immediate and explicit.

However, sugar baby relationships are typically longer term and involve much more than sex. In some cases, sex may not even be a factor. For many people, the arrangement is more like dating in that two people go out together and attend social functions; the difference is that the "sugar baby" receives allowances or gifts from the "sugar daddy" as compensation.

In fact, this is how many college students pay their tuition. According to a recent report on these types of arrangements, roughly 42 percent of the people who are sugar babies are students. There are apparently more than 820 college students in Florida registered on one sugar baby website alone.

Because hundreds of students in this state are involved in this type of relationship, it can be crucial to understand that they can turn into illegal situations. For instance, if sexual activity becomes the primary requirement between two people, it could be considered prostitution.

Any person who has questions or concerns about the distinctions between being a sugar baby and being a prostitute would be wise to speak with an attorney right away. Avoiding or putting a stop to illegal activity can be the best way to protect your future, which can be essential for young college or high school students.

Source: WTXL-TV, "The Insiders: The Rise of Sugar Daddies Paying for College Tuition," Aug. 10, 2015

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