Human sex trafficking is the most common form of modern day slavery. There are millions of domestic and international victims, mostly females and children enslaved in the commercial sex industry for little or no money.
Sex trafficking occurs when someone uses force, fraud, or coercion to cause a commercial sex act with an adult or causes a minor to commit a commercial sex act. Sex trafficking is composed of two key aspects: human trafficking and sexual slavery. This exploitation is based on the interaction between the traffickers selling a victim (the individual being trafficked and sexually exploited) to customers to perform sexual services.
The White-Slave Traffic Act, also known as the Mann Act, is a United States federal law, passed June 25, 1910, which made it a felony to engage in interstate or foreign commerce transport of any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose.
Its primary stated intent was to address prostitution, “immorality”, and human trafficking particularly where it was trafficking for the purposes of prostitution. This is one of several acts of protective legislation aimed at moral reform during the progressive era. Sex trafficking crimes are defined by three steps: acquisition, movement, and exploitation. The various types of sex trafficking are child sex tourism, domestic minor sex trafficking or commercial sexual exploitation of children, and prostitution.
Sex trafficking. N.Y. Pen. Law § 230.34
A person is guilty of sex trafficking if he/she intentionally advances or profits from prostitution by different ways.
- If he/she unlawfully provides to a person who is patronized, with intent to impair said person’s judgment:
- a narcotic drug or a narcotic preparation;
- concentrated cannabis;
- methadone; or
- gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) or flunitrazepan (Rohypnol).
- If he/she makes material false statements, misstatements, or omissions to induce or maintain the person being patronized to engage in or continue to engage in prostitution activity.
- If he/she withholds, destroys, or confiscates any actual or purported passport, immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document of another person with intent to impair said person’s freedom of movement.
- If he/she requires that prostitution be performed to retire, repay, or service a real or purported debt.
- If he/she uses force or engages in any scheme, plan or pattern to compel or induce the person being patronized to engage in or continue to engage in prostitution activity by means of instilling a fear in the person being patronized that, if the demand is not complied with, the actor or another will do one or more of the following:
- cause physical injury, serious physical injury, or death to a person; or
- cause damage to property, other than the property of the actor; or
- engage in other conduct constituting a felony or unlawful imprisonment in the second degree in violation of section; or
- accuse some person of a crime or cause criminal charges or deportation proceedings to be instituted against some person; or
- expose a secret or publicize an asserted fact, whether true or false, tending to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule; or
- testify or provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense; or
- use or abuse his/her position as a public servant by performing some act within or related to his or her official duties, or by failing or refusing to perform an official duty, in such manner as to affect some person adversely; or
- perform any other act which would not in itself materially benefit the actor but which is calculated to harm the person who is patronized materially with respect to his/her health, safety, or immigration status.
Sex trafficking is a class B felony.
Traffickers recruit young girls into prostitution through violence and manipulation, cutting them off from family and friends. Most victims find themselves in coercive or abusive situations from which escape is both difficult and dangerous. Coercion is the criminal motor behind sex trafficking and may take a variety of forms such as a promised marriage, prospective care of the victims’ family members, and even the immigration of the victim to another country.
If you have been charged with a sex trafficking offense, speak to a criminal defense lawyer in New York to protect your rights.