What Is Child Solicitation?

Child solicitation in the United States is the crime of "soliciting" or luring, or attempting to lure, regardless of the outcome, a child into sexual activity with an adult. The definition of a "child" with regard to this offense will vary somewhat between states according to differing ages of consent.

In New York, for instance, a "child" is defined as a person younger than 16, as noted by the New York Division of State Police.

The crime might also be referred to as "indecent solicitation of a child." In Kansas, this is clearly defined as soliciting a child between the ages of 14 and 16 to engage in sexual activity or attempting to do so. Encouraging them to enter vehicles or secluded places with sexual intent are considered attempts.

Solicitation of a child in Kansas is deemed "aggravated" if the the child is younger than 14 years of age. In this case, the felony is considered to be of a higher severity.

Child solicitation will often be part of a broader statute concerning "child enticement." Many states have not updated these statutes to include the use of the Internet to entice children into sexual activity or child pornography. Some states, however, have very clear specifications as to what will be considered child pornography. In New York, a photograph of a nude child is only considered "lewd" or pornographic if the photograph depicts sexual activity or performance.