TITLE 11
Criminal Offenses

CHAPTER 11-9
Children

SECTION 11-9-1


§ 11-9-1 Exploitation for commercial or immoral purposes.

(a) Every person having the custody or control of any child under the age of sixteen (16) years who shall exhibit, use, or employ, or shall in any manner or under pretense sell, give away, let out or otherwise dispose of any child under the age of sixteen (16) years to any person for or in the vocation, occupation, service, or purpose of rope or wire walking, or as a gymnast, wrestler, contortionist, equestrian performer, acrobat, or rider upon any bicycle or mechanical contrivance, or in any dancing, theatrical, or musical exhibition unless it is in connection with churches, school or private instruction in dancing or music, or unless it is under the auspices of a Rhode Island society incorporated, or organized without incorporation for a purpose authorized by § 7-6-4; or for or in gathering or picking rags, or collecting cigar stumps, bones or refuse from markets, or in begging, or in any mendicant or wandering occupation, or in peddling in places injurious to the morals of the child; or for or in the exhibition of any child with a disability, or in any illegal, obscene, indecent, or immoral purpose, exhibition, or vocation, injurious to the health or morals or dangerous to the life or limb of the child, or who shall cause, procure or encourage any child under the age of sixteen (16) years to engage in that activity, or who, after being notified by an officer mentioned in § 11-9-3 to restrain the child from engaging in that activity, shall neglect or refuse to do so, shall be held guilty of a misdemeanor and shall, for every such offense, be imprisoned not exceeding one year, or be fined not exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250), or both, and shall forfeit any right which he or she may have to the custody of the child; provided, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to any child, not a resident of this state, who is engaged in any dancing, theatrical, or musical performance in this state and is accompanied by a parent, guardian, or tutor, when a permit for the appearance of the child is granted by the mayor of the city or the president of the town council of the town, where the performance is to be given; provided, further, that the provisions of this section shall not apply to any child, a resident of this state, who is engaged in any dancing, theatrical, or musical performance in this state on a day when the public schools are not in session in the town or city where the dancing, theatrical or musical performance shall be given (not however on Sunday) if the child is accompanied by a parent, guardian or tutor, when a permit for the appearance of the child is granted by the mayor of the city or the president of the town council of the town where the performance is to be given.

(b) Any person who shall in any manner or under any pretense sell, distribute, let out or otherwise permit any child under eighteen (18) years of age to be used in any book, magazine, pamphlet, or other publication, or in any motion picture film, photograph or pictorial representation, in a setting which taken as a whole suggests to the average person that the child has engaged in, or is about to engage in any sexual act, which shall include, but not be limited to, sodomy, oral copulation, sexual intercourse, masturbation, or bestiality, shall, upon conviction for the first offense be punished by imprisonment for not more than ten (10) years, or a fine of not more than ten thousand dollars ($10,000), or both; upon conviction of a subsequent offense, be punished by imprisonment for not more than fifteen (15) years, a fine of not more than fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000), or both.

(c) Every person who shall exhibit, use, employ or shall in any manner or under pretense so exhibit, use, or employ any child under the age of eighteen (18) years to any person for the purpose of prostitution or for any other lewd or indecent act shall be imprisoned not exceeding twenty (20) years, or be fined not exceeding twenty thousand dollars ($20,000), or both.

History of Section.
(G.L. 1896, ch. 115, § 4; P.L. 1897, ch. 475, § 1; G.L. 1909, ch. 139, § 4; G.L. 1923, ch. 142, § 4; P.L. 1926, ch. 845, § 1; P.L. 1931, ch. 1756, § 1; G.L. 1938, ch. 425, § 1; G.L. 1956, § 11-9-1; P.L. 1977, ch. 131, § 1; P.L. 1978, ch. 130, § 1; P.L. 1978, ch. 210, § 1; P.L. 1984, ch. 380, § 3; P.L. 1984, ch. 444, § 1; P.L. 1999, ch. 83, § 12; P.L. 1999, ch. 130, § 12.)