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South Dakota Prostitution and Solicitation Laws

Prostitution is illegal in every state (except for certain parts of Nevada), and many states also criminalize the solicitation of prostitution. This article outlines South Dakota's main prostitution and solicitation laws.


In South Dakota, prostitution is defined as engaging in (or offering to engage in) a sexual activity for a fee. The table below outlines other important aspects of South Dakota's prostitution law.

Code Section

South Dakota Code section 22-23-1: Prostitution
What's Prohibited?

Engaging in, or offering to engage in, sexual activity for a fee.

Definition of "Sexual Activity"


Sexual activity includes both sexual penetration and sexual contact.
  • Sexual penetration: An act, however slight, of sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or the intrusion of any body part or object into the genital or anal openings of another person's body.
  • Sexual contact: Any touching, not amounting to rape, whether or not through clothing, of the breasts of a female or the genitalia or anus of any person with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either party.

Prostitution is a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Affirmative Defense


It is an affirmative defense to a charge of prostitution if the defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is a victim of human trafficking or that the defendant committed the act only under compulsion by another person who, by threat, created a reasonable apprehension in the mind of the defendant that if the defendant did not commit the act, the person would inflict bodily harm upon the defendant.


The crime of solicitation generally involves requesting, encouraging, or demanding that someone engages in criminal contact. South Dakota has two separate laws that criminalize the solicitation of prostitution. These laws are outlined in the tables below.

Code Section

South Dakota Code section 22-23-2: Promoting Prostitution

What's Prohibited?


  • Encouraging, inducing, procuring, or otherwise purposefully causing another to become or remain a prostitute
  • Promoting the prostitution of a minor, or
  • Promoting the prostitution of his or her spouse, child, ward, or other dependent person

Promoting prostitution is a Class 5 felony.

Code Section

South Dakota Code section 22-23-2: Pimping

What's Prohibited?


  • Soliciting another person to patronize a prostitute
  • Procuring a prostitute for a patron
  • Transporting a person into or within South Dakota to engage in prostitution, or procuring or paying for transportation for that purpose
  • Knowingly permitting a place owned, managed, supervised, or controlled by himself or herself to be regularly used for prostitution, or
  • Soliciting, receiving, or agreeing to receive any benefit for doing or agreeing to do anything prohibited by this section

Pimping is a Class 6 felony.

Hiring a Prostitute

In South Dakota it is illegal to both buy and to sell sexual activity. In other words, it is illegal to be a prostitute and to visit a prostitute. Hiring (or attempting to hire) another person for a fee to engage in sexual activity is a Class 1 misdemeanor in South Dakota.

Additional Resources

State laws change frequently. For case specific information regarding South Dakota's prostitution and solicitation laws contact a sex crime lawyer.

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