Federal law enforcement agencies have increased their efforts to crack down on sex trafficking throughout the United States. If convicted of a federal offense for sex trafficking, individuals can face stiff penalties, including long prison terms, fines and a lifetime of sex offender registration and state supervision.
According to a recent news report, a federal grand jury in Sacramento indicted a 23-year-old California woman for multiple federal crimes. The U.S. Attorney's office announced that the charges include one count of sex trafficking of a minor and two counts for the transportation of a minor.
According to the indictment, the woman held a minor female by force, threats of force, fraud and coercion, in order to engage the young girl in acts of prostitution. The woman also reportedly transported the young girl between Reno and Las Vegas for the purpose of selling her for commercial sex acts.
If convicted of sex trafficking, the woman could face a maximum sentence of 10 years to life in prison. If convicted, she will also face a potential $250,000 fine, as well as a lifetime of supervised release. The court, however, would determine the sentence after consideration of the applicable guidelines.
The case, and subsequent arrest, was the result of a federal investigation conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Innocence Lost Task Force. The task force is a multi-jurisdictional task force that is composed of Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents, as well as local Sacramento Police officers.
While a defendant should be presumed innocent, unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, the reality in cases involving minors is often much different. For this reason, individuals accused of federal crimes involving the sex trafficking of minors need to begin planning their defense immediately.
Source: Imperial Valley News, "California Woman Indicted for Sex Trafficking a Minor," May 24, 2013.