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Sex Trafficking of Children

Federal law prohibits and severely punishes sex trafficking of children, which is defined as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, or soliciting of a minor to perform a commercial sex act. Those who are convicted of this offense face jail time, fines, and mandatory registration as a sex offender. Because these types of offenses are penalized so harshly, it is critical for those who have been charged with sex trafficking to seek the aid of an experienced federal crimes attorney who can help them formulate a defense.

Sex Trafficking Defined

Sex trafficking offenses criminalize the act of coercing or forcing a person to commit a commercial sex act. The coercion can be either subtle or overt, or physical or psychological and also includes:

  • Threats of serious harm to or physical restraints against a person;
  • Any scheme or plan intended to trick someone into believing that failure to perform an act would result in physical harm; or
  • The abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.

However, in order to qualify as coercion, the act must be used to force a victim into performing a commercial sex act, which is defined as any sex act for which anything of value is given or received.

Proof of Coercion

In almost all cases, a person cannot be convicted of sex trafficking unless a prosecutor can demonstrate that the victim was coerced into committing an act that qualified as a commercial sex act. When the alleged victim is a child, however, prosecutors are not required to demonstrate that the minor was forced through coercion or fraud to participate in pornography, prostitution, stripping, or any other sex act. Those who are convicted of sex trafficking when the alleged victim is a minor are required to spend at least ten years in prison, although the exact length of the sentence will depend on the age of the victim. For instance, if the victim was under 14 years old, the defendant will spend at least 15 years in prison. If the victim was between the age of 14 and 17 years old, however, the defendant can expect to spend up to ten years in prison.

Other Prohibited Activities

A variety of other federal statutes criminalize activities that pertain to the forced prostitution of others, including:

  • Transporting a minor or an individual across state lines for prostitution, or another, or any other illegal sexual activity;
  • Using the mail, a phone, or the internet to persuade or coerce a minor to engage in prostitution;
  • Using the internet, the phone, or the mail system to knowingly transmit the name, address, telephone number, social security number, or email address of someone under the age of 16 years old with the intent to solicit him or her into engaging in sexual activity.

The first two offenses are punishable by at least ten years in prison, while the third is punishable by five years.

Call us Today

Please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys at (305) 670-9919 to speak with an experienced federal crimes attorney who can evaluate your case. Our Miami legal team is eager to assist you today.


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