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Child Trafficking

California Child Trafficking Laws – Penal Code 236.1


In general, the crime of child or human trafficking has to do with a child being transported by force to a location. This element can also be satisfied by way of some sort of a verbal threat. The act of child trafficking can take a number of different forms.

It can involve recruiting a child for the purpose of exploiting them or for purposes of having them engage in an illegal act, such as for a sexual purpose. As indicated above, the act of physically transporting the child with an illegal purpose will suffice for this element.

If a person harbors a minor for an illegal purpose during the child trafficking incident, then they would obviously be just as guilty as the principal perpetrator. Sometimes there are a number of people involved in the crime and the government will use a conspiracy theory in order to hold them all accountable for their actions.

This means that each player in the conspiracy does not have to do all the acts necessary for the crime, but must know of the criminal purpose, agree to it and be involved in one of the acts necessary to accomplish the conspiracy.

Threats to Use Force in Child Trafficking cases

The way that this crime can be accomplished is usually by a threat to use force. This threat can come in a number of different forms and the evidence can come from the child themselves or a witness who observes the threat. Another more subtle way that the means element can be established involves coercion.

Meaning, that the perpetrator somehow coerces the minor into becoming involved in the crime of child trafficking. As you might guess, this element will likely be construed quite liberally because of the fact a child is involved in the commission of the crime.

If the defendant, who is charged with the crime, deceives the minor into becoming involved with the subject offense, this would satisfy the means element as well. Abusing one's power in a position of authority is another category that is prosecuted when it comes to this offense.

And of course any sort of fraud associated with the crime or abduction of the child or even giving payments or benefits to the child or another in order to traffick them would suffice for purposes of the means element for this crime.

The purpose element of the crime of child trafficking can be satisfied if the defendant engages in exploitation of the child in anyway. For example, if they move the child for purposes of prostitution (which is common for for this particular crime) this would satisfy the exploitation of a child requirement to convict a person of this crime.

Forced labor is another example of the purpose behind why a child would be moved and trafficked under this category of crime. In the more serious cases there can be other purposes which include slavery and removal of organs.

Penalties for Child Trafficking Charges

As you might guess, these cases are prosecuted by the most sophisticated and seasoned prosecutors at both the state and federal level and they have very specific and strict marching orders by there superiors related to what is going to be charged, what bail they will seek for the defendant and the punishments that they will argue to the judge at the end of the case. In my opinion, only the most seasoned sex crime defense attorneys should be handling these cases because of the harsh sentences that are at stake.

When it comes to the defense of sex crimes in Los Angeles at both the state and federal level, child trafficking is among the most serious offenses and those convicted of this crime will face many years in prison and a lifetime of sex registration.

If the case is prosecuted at the federal level then the offender will likely be facing a mandatory minimum sentence in federal prison and be subject to serving eighty five percent of their total custody time in federal prison.

There are not many cases that are filed in the child trafficking area of sex crimes and therefore the prosecutors will probably assign the case to a special prosecutor who will have specific marching orders from their boss.

It is my experience that the individuals that are actually involved in child trafficking are insulated and are extremely difficult to track and catch.  If the authorities do happen to catch someone for this offense, they will likely be looking to punish them in the more severe way possible.

Federal Child Trafficking Cases

Though the crime of child trafficking can be prosecuted at both the state and federal level, it will depend on the circumstances of the case which entity will prosecute the defendant.  If the crime involved crossing state or international lines, then the federal government would likely become involved with the prosecution of the offense.

If, on the other hand, the crime was more localized and it was discovered by the state authorities, then they would likely prosecute it, unless they felt like the defendant and or crime warranted federal prosecution, based on the conduct or the sophistication level.

As discussed above, child trafficking is when a minor is held against his or her will by force or threat for the sole purpose of using the minor for sexual revenue and profit. A conviction of child trafficking has some serious penalties.

You may face prison time fines, sex registration and be required to surrender any property or money that was made from the child trafficking activity.

If charged on federal level, you may face up to a lifetime in prison. Therefore, it is very important to obtain a skilled and experienced defense lawyer to defend you if you are facing child trafficking charges or any other sex crime charges.

Our Los Angeles lawyers are confident in their skill and knowledge and our unmatched credentials back up the confidence we have to effectively represent you.

Contact our L.A. sex crime defense lawyers and set up a free face to face consultation.

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