Living off immoral earnings

What are immoral earnings? 

The word immoral loosely translated means not within society’s standards of honest, moral and acceptable behaviour – therefore morally wrong.  The words immoral earnings are used to discuss money earned from prostitution (having sex in exchange for money)

The main way of earning money in an immoral manner is through prostitution which is legal in the UK. Working as an escort or a private prostitute is currently legal however many other activities linked to prostitution are not. 

How are immoral earnings gained? 

The money gained from prostitution is used for many things; it is thought that many prostitutes are on drugs and the money may partly go towards funding drugs. Here, the immoral earnings just go towards buying goods which may be illegal and are dangerous.

Some prostitutes are “pimped” and this is where they are controlled for money. The only people who really benefit here are the pimps who gain money from the prostitutes under their control. Being convicted of this offence can mean imprisonment for the offender.

Brothels also operate and this is where two or more prostitutes work. The majority of prostitutes in a brothel would most probably live in the premises.  It is against the law for someone to manage a brothel or to assist in managing a brothel and this offence can have a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.

In a brothel, most of the immoral earnings would go to the brothel owner but this may not always be the case.


A prostitute can be male or female and is somebody who is paid to provide sexual intercourse or other sex acts. Another way of describing how this contributes to immoral earnings is that a prostitute is somebody who degrades talent for money – this means using a skill or ability in a way that is considered immoral and is usually for financial gain.

The Wolfenden Committee (1957)

The Wolfenden Committee (1957) stated that ‘In its simplest and most usual form, “living on the earnings of prostitution” consists of an arrangement by which a man lives with a prostitute and is wholly or mainly kept by her.’

On issue of a warrant – powers of search and arrest are available. Upon conviction the sentence differs from a maximum of six months when heard before a magistrate and a maximum of seven years in the Crown Court.

What is being done about prostitution and immoral earnings?

The law is constantly changing in regards to prostitution and the money being immorally made from prostitution. At the moment prostitution is legal in the UK as already advised but activities surrounding prostitution for example pimping are illegal. The Sexual Offences Act, 2003 states in simple terms that “it is an offence to cause or incite prostitution or control it for personal gain”

The 1956 Sexual Offences Act makes it illegal to run a brothel and it is against the law to solicit sex on the street or to loiter. Providing that it can be shown that the person was causing a persistent annoyance – kerb-crawling is also banned.

  • The placing of prostitution related adverts in phone boxes has been banned since 2001.
  • The police are also being given greater powers with regards to the closure of brothels.
  • An outright ban on paying for sex has been considered but there is not enough public support for such a ban.