Being charged or accused of sex trafficking is one of the most terrifying situations a person can face. This accusation can potentially ruin your life, whether or not they convict you because the implications are so vile.
Sex trafficking is the most common form of human trafficking, among the most severe offenses in the United States. Human trafficking encompasses all forms of coercion to work, kidnapping to work, forced work without proper compensation, and forced illegal forms of work. Sex trafficking is the most frequent type, and it is always illegal despite defenses of consent, cooperation, or compensation.
If you have been caught up in an unpleasant relationship or arrangement, it is possible to be accused of sex trafficking. You can even become convicted of sex trafficking without ever kidnapping or forcing a person into vile acts. It is vital to seek a defense attorney and begin building your defense immediately.
What Is Sex Trafficking?
Sex trafficking is facilitating or forcing another person to perform sexual acts for money. They may charge a solo operator with prostitution. But if someone is coordinating their actions, it becomes sex trafficking, and they identify the person doing the coordination, in layman’s terms, as a sex slaver. They also set a person scheduling a prostitute’s affairs on the same legal spectrum as someone who kidnaps underaged girls and forces them into sexual slavery.
An accusation or a charge of sex trafficking can be extremely dangerous for you, even if you are completely unassociated with any type of prostitution or sexual transaction.
Types of sex trafficking include the facilitation of:
- Street prostitution
- Forced work at strip clubs
- Sexual acts in massage parlors
- Street prostitution
- Escort services
Reasons You Might Be Falsely Accused of Sex Trafficking
Sex trafficking is a terrible accusation against someone. However, someone may make false accusations.
A person who is caught and charged with prostitution, for example, may claim to have been trafficked and name anyone they think would be believable, like an ex-romantic partner or even a roommate, in hopes of personally escaping consequences for their actions.
Divorce and Breakups
In some cases, a bad breakup or divorce can result in terrible accusations. They include sex trafficking in the long list of both true and untrue allegations.
Strangers may misunderstand a family that does not appear homogenous, such as adoptive and foster families. They can make a false report of possible sex trafficking. This can also be a disastrous result of interference by people with theoretically good intentions.
Some people report sex trafficking just for attention, which harms the importance of real victim protection. In 2020, a woman fabricated a story about being trafficked and abused during COVID lockdowns. She built a large online community who were outraged when it was revealed that she made up the story. She also ruined the lives of several men. However, they eventually charged her with 8 years for false allegations of a serious crime.
Consequences for Sex Trafficking Convictions in Texas
Authorities can charge human trafficking, including sex trafficking, as both a federal crime and a state crime.
Federal Sex Trafficking Charges
Often, there are several crimes stacked into a single criminal case. These include things like kidnapping, involuntary servitude, labor by coercion, transporting someone over state lines without their consent, destroying or taking a person’s documents, and debt slavery. These are all federal crimes that can be charged in a federal court, many of which are felonies that can result in over 10 years in prison and hefty fines. The court may also order financial restitution to the victim, forfeiture of property, and vulnerability to civil suits.
Texas Sex Trafficking Charges
In Texas, you may also face charges of subjecting a victim to trafficking of persons, acts of prostitution, illegal pornography, or nonconsensual sex acts. A sex trafficking charge in Texas is a second-degree felony resulting in up to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines. If the accusation involves a minor, it becomes a first-degree felony with 5 to 99 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
The court will place anyone convicted on the Sex Offender’s Registry and they will face a life of permanent shunning and restrictions.
Defenses When Accused of Sex Trafficking
Several possible defense strategies can help you if someone has falsely accused you of sex trafficking or identified you as a ring-leader in a more complicated situation, to avoid or minimize the severe legal consequences of a conviction.
Lack of Trafficking Evidence
Someone must prove that sex trafficking occurred before they can charge anyone with sex trafficking. A partner’s promiscuity or involvement in a swinger’s group without the exchange of money or other benefits, for example, may result in an accusation but lack of evidence of sex trafficking. If there was no coercion and no transaction of any type, trafficking may not have occurred.
Lack of Knowledge
If the claimed victim was conducting prostitution and names a trafficker, lack of knowledge may be a viable defense. If the accused is not aware that there was transactional sex occurring, or if they were unaware of a trafficking situation separate from themselves, they may display a legal lack of knowledge.
Involvement by Coercion or Duress
Coercion or duress may have involved a person accused of sex trafficking in some cases. Someone may have threatened or tricked you into participating in sex trafficking or coordinated prostitution against your will.
Lack of Intent
The accused may use a lack of intent defense if they can prove that they had no intention to engage in sex trafficking or that their involvement was not deliberate regarding the alleged offenses.
Seek Defense Immediately if Accused or Charged With Sex Trafficking
Sex trafficking is one of the most serious crimes. Someone can easily misconstrue the circumstances of a situation where transactional sex occurs. Whether you were associated with someone conducting prostitution, were adjacent to real sex trafficking without your knowledge or control, or the story has been made up whole cloth, the consequences of even being charged with this crime can be dire.