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Federal Sex Trafficking

Sex trafficking involves the transporting of people, often across international borders, to act as sex workers for little to no pay. Any kind of human trafficking, or moving of people to work for nothing, is illegal with harsh penalties. However, sex trafficking is seen as particularly egregious, and federal prosecutors are sure to be especially aggressive in bringing charges.

Des Moines Federal Sex Trafficking Lawyer

You can have a Des Moines federal sex trafficking lawyer on your side with the experience it takes to match the aggression of federal prosecutors when you hire a criminal defense attorney from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C.. We have more than four decades of combined experience practicing law, including representing clients in federal court. To have one of our skilled attorneys represent you, call us today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a free consultation.

We are licensed to practice in all Iowa federal courts, including the U.S. District Court in Des Moines. We may therefore represent people facing federal sex trafficking charges anywhere in Iowa. We are based in West Des Moines.

Defining Sex Trafficking in Iowa Federal Courts

Under federal law, it is illegal to transport, harbor or exploit any person for work without proper, legal payment. Proper, legal payment does not include working off a debt. The federal law surrounding criminal offenses in human trafficking is found primarily in 18 U.S.C. §§ 1581 – 1597, although sex trafficking itself is defined in 22 U.S.C. § 7102.

In frequent human trafficking accusations, people in other countries are recruited to come to the United States, where, they are told, they will have economic opportunities. The accused human traffickers then allegedly assist them in getting into the United States, often past immigration authorities without legal permission.

Once in the United States, the accused then puts the people to work. Often, under the accusations, he or she tells them they must work until the expenses from taking them into the United States are paid off, and then pay them at such a low rate they are unable to effectively pay it off. Sometimes, the accused is alleged to have taken away the victims’ immigration documents.

In sex trafficking, the victims are alleged to have been made to work as prostitutes or sex workers. They might be underage girls and boys, and sexual contact with adults would have been illegal, anyway. They may work in a brothel or other setting where the accused had significant control over them.

Punishment for Sex Trafficking

Punishments can be wide-ranging, and may depend on the level of participation prosecutors can prove. For example, if prosecutors prove that you had any role in preparing a ship that was used in sex trafficking, you may face up to seven years in federal prison. If they can prove you even worked on such a ship, you may face up to two years.

The penalty for direct participation in sex trafficking, under federal law, is a maximum of 20 years. However, sex trafficking accusations often include allegations that the victim was sexually assaulted since they were made to have sex without consent. If the prosecution can prove sexual assault resulted from the trafficking, you may face life in prison. The same applies if children were the victims.

Federal charges result in federal prison. Contrary to the popular myth, federal prison is not a “country club” or resort, even minimum security. If convicted of federal sex trafficking charges, you will likely be going to maximum security.

Human trafficking is also a crime that can lead to deportation if you are not a U.S. citizen. If deported to your home country, you will often face prosecution there, as well.

Defenses to Sex Trafficking Charges in Polk County

Human trafficking is regarded as a modern slave trade, and lawmakers know they can score big points off promoting harsh penalties and stirring public fear. Sex trafficking is seen as particularly egregious since it combines slavery and sex crimes. Some politicians have called it one of the worst crimes imaginable.

Jurors are sure to have this in mind, and those accused can face harsh prejudice just by being charged. However, like all criminal allegations, prosecutors must prove every element of the charge beyond a reasonable doubt. An aggressive Des Moines sex crimes defense lawyer can point out the flaws in the case. If there is any reasonable doubt, even the most hardened juror must acquit.

It is generally not an effective defense to say the victims agreed to the treatment making such an argument may make things worse. A knowledgeable attorney can build a strong defense strategy and put that to work in the courtroom.

McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. | Polk County Federal Human Trafficking Attorney

At McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C., we have more than four decades of experience in representing people facing criminal accusations, including in federal courts. A Des Moines federal sex trafficking lawyer from McCarthy & Hamrock, P.C. can help you build a strong defense and fight the charges. Call us today at (515) 279-9700 to set up a consultation.