Sex Trafficking

What is Sex Trafficking?

Both Minnesota state law and federal law prohibit sex trafficking.

In Minnesota, the definition of sex trafficking is:

  • 1. receiving, recruiting, enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means an individual to aid in the prostitution of the individual; or
  • 2. receiving profit or anything of value, knowing or having reason to know it is derived from an act described in the first clause.

The state law doesn’t have a separate statute prohibiting sex trafficking specifically. Instead, it is included in the Solicitation and Promotion of Prostitution statute, and subject to those penalties, the most severe of which has a maximum of 25 years in prison.

In Minnesota, sex trafficking is a felony and a conviction for it requires predatory registration as a sex offender.

The definition of sex trafficking in federal court is: whoever knowingly-

  • 1. In or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, within the jurisdiction of the U.S., entices, harbors, transports, provides, obtains, advertises, maintains, patronizes, or solicits by any means a person; or
  • 2. Knowing (or except where the act constituting the violation of the first clause is advertising), in reckless disregard of the fact, that means force, threats of force, fraud, coercion, or any combination of such means will be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act, or that the person has not attained the age of 18 and will be caused to engage in a commercial sex act.

What is a commercial sex act?

Federal law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given or received by any person.

The entire law is written in broad language and is designed to criminalize the pimps, patrons, and purveyors of child prostitution, with harsh penalties including a 15 year mandatory minimum to a potential life sentence.

There are defenses to sex trafficking, and the Government still has a high burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • 1. A conviction for federal sex trafficking requires proof that there was a commercial sex act;
  • 2. and/or that the person/people trafficked were under age 18,
  • 3. and that that interstate commerce was used or affected.

This opens up a lot of avenues for making legal challenges and undercutting the prosecution’s case. Every indictment is based on a set of facts specific to the defendants charged, and cookie-cutter defense just won’t work.

An experienced federal sex crimes defense attorney will work with you to establish a solid theory of defense to try to beat the charges at every stage.

Catherine has represented clients facing charges of federal sex trafficking. She’s an experienced female federal criminal sex crimes defense attorney. If you are facing charges of federal sex trafficking, call her today for a free consultation.