Sex trafficking in most states is a separate crime from prostitution and involves receiving, recruiting, enticing, providing or obtaining an individual then aid in the prostitution of that individual. No person may legally consent to sex trafficking, therefore the typical defenses of consent or mistakes in age will not work in cases of sex trafficking. Your attorney may be able to defend you based on improper police procedure or improperly obtained evidence. The punishments and penalties for sex trafficking crimes are very serious and should the victim have suffered bodily harm or was held in bondage for more than six months, the punishments are even more severe.
Heavy fines, years in prison and a permanent criminal record can be the end result of charges of human trafficking and should the victim of the trafficking be a child, the person convicted could spend decades behind bars and end up with a sex offender registration mandate for the remainder of their life. Human sex trafficking is the third largest criminal industry in the world, following closely behind arms dealing and drug dealing. The United Nations believes sex trafficking generates billions annually and expects human sex trafficking to overtake drug dealing in the near future.
Human trafficking is likened to modern day slavery however the charges and accusations can be blown out of proportion by the prosecutor on the case. Attorneys who defend those charged with sex trafficking must have an extremely sophisticated understanding of the law surrounding sex trafficking cases as well as extensive experience defending those charged with the crime. In some instances a person can find themselves facing sex trafficking charges even if they only peripherally participated in the sale or trade of a human being.
Since much human trafficking involves crossing state lines, it can be charged as a federal sex crime meaning the federal prosecutors have nearly unlimited resources to prosecute such cases. If the prosecution believes you transported, harbored or recruited the victim with full knowledge he or she would be going into sexual servitude then you could be charged with human trafficking. If you gained some level of financial profit from the transaction, your charges may increase. In many cases human trafficking charges are brought along with other charges such as conspiracy and coercion, meaning punishments can be greatly enhanced.
A person charged with human trafficking needs an experienced sex crimes criminal defense attorney on their case as quickly as the find out charges have been filed. It is imperative that you get the knowledgeable help you need before your case has gone too far and your attorney is unable to halt the wheels which have been set into motion. Because the punishments are so severe (as much as thirty years in prison) you need an aggressive defender who will be looking out for your best interests and your rights from start to finish. Take your charges seriously and find an attorney who will take them equally seriously.
First and foremost, when you have had accusations of sexual abuse against a child leveled against you which are untrue, you must understand the legal ramifications and the negative changes to your future should you be convicted or make a wrong decision during the legal process. Many people go into denial mode, believing that because they are truly innocent, nothing bad will happen and the truth will come out. Because of this “head in the sand” inaction, many falsely accused people actually end up in deeper legal trouble than they began with.
Take Your Charges Seriously and Heed the Miranda Warning
Take your charges seriously and hire a criminal defense attorney who has extensive experience fighting false allegations of child sexual abuse—your future may depend on that one action. Even though you are innocent of the charges, the very nature of charges of sexual abuse against a child can leave you with a high probability of a conviction unless you take strong, definitive steps from the very beginning. This includes never speaking to police or prosecutors without your attorney present. When you are initially charged you may feel as though you can speak to the police and simply “clear the matter up.” Don’t fall into this trap. We’ve all heard it time after time on television—“anything you say can and will be used against you.” Take the Miranda warning very seriously and speak to no one at all until you’ve talked to a criminal defense attorney.
Tactics Your Criminal Defense Attorney May Utilize
You may need to seek specialized psychological testing or even undergo a polygraph test. Your attorney may line up experts who can help prove your innocence. Even though you’ve chosen a highly experienced attorney, you never want to remain ignorant of what is happening on your case. After all, this is your life and your future, therefore education and information can be your greatest assets during this difficult time. Sit down and map out a comprehensive timeline with every single detail you can remember to help your attorney properly defend you. No detail is too small and could mean the difference between a conviction and an acquittal. Search your mind for any potential witness who could testify on your behalf. Even those people you might consider unimportant in your case could turn out to be critical in your defense.
Watch What You Do and Say
During the time your attorney is putting your defense together, remember how important it is to watch everything you say and do. One ill-advised comment can end up completely tanking your case, so carefully consider everything you are about to say—before you say it. Don’t discuss your case with anybody other than your attorney as the most innocent comment can come back to bite you. And of course never, ever, discuss your case through social media such as Facebook or through e-mail or texts. Anything you do or say, no matter the context or intent, can cause you serious problems later on. A conviction of sexual abuse of a child can require you to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. This can have far-reaching ramifications on every aspect of your life and your future. Take your charges seriously and hire a criminal defense attorney who will do the same.
Sexting is a term the media has given to the practice—usually among teens—of sending sexually explicit messages through a cell phone or via instant messenger. The advancement of technology has given cell phones astounding capabilities and many of them are now able to record and send photos and videos. One study finds that one-fifth of teens between the ages of 13 and 19 have sent nude or semi-nude photos of themselves through a text or an online posting while a third of those between the ages of 20 and 26 have done so.
Teenage girls are more likely than teen boys to send suggestive photos of themselves out into cyberspace. On one hand adults shouldn’t necessarily be surprised about the sexting habits of teens given that young people have been exchanging sexually suggestive letters and messages for generations. The difference now lies in the technology and the fact that a photo shared between two people can quickly be splashed across the entire Internet, becoming an overnight phenomenon.
What Teens May Not Realize
Many teens feel they are simply sharing a suggestive photograph with a boyfriend or girlfriend and are shocked when those photos are shared with others. Worse, once a digital image is out there it cannot be taken back, and it leaves a digital footprint which can go on and on. Peer pressure is a factor in teen sexting as over half of all teen girls who have engaged in sexting cite pressure from teen boys. Only 18% of teen boys acknowledge pressure to engage in sexting behaviors leading experts to worry further about the power imbalances inherent in teen relationships.
Sexting is Illegal
Under federal law, sexting is illegal, falling under the “creation, distribution and possession of child pornography,” and is a felony offense. Many prosecutors are aggressively going after those taking the pictures as well as those possessing them, meaning a teen who merely received a suggestive text could find themselves in serious trouble. Some lawmakers are working to change the current laws, feeling they are applied unfairly. Most state’s pornography laws were in place well before the advent of cell phones and digital cameras, causing sexting to be lumped into the quite serious child pornography or child exploitation laws.
This means that a teen who thought they were doing something risqué but relative harmless could find themselves subject to a life of registration as a sex offender and could even be sentenced to jail time. The necessity of sex offender registration could lead to a lifetime of economic and social limitations for a teenager who simply made a stupid mistake. Some states mandate fines up to $100,000 and prison terms up to 20 years, although there are lesser fines and prison terms.
What to Do if You or Your Child Has Been Charged With Sexting
As a parent of a teen charged with sexting you may be extremely worried and confused and not know what you need to do to help your child save his or her future. You need a criminal defense attorney who can successfully stand up to an over-zealous prosecutor, fighting to have the charges dismissed. You don’t want a black mark following your teen for the rest of his or her life, changing the future forever. Sexting charges are extremely serious bringing prison, hefty fines and sex offender registration. Don’t wait, hoping the charges will go away, rather take control of your life or the life of your teen and hire a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who will take the charges seriously and fight hard for the rights and freedom of the accused.