Are you facing charges of child sex trafficking? Do you need help creating a strong defense strategy to fight these sex crime allegations? If so, contact The Morris Firm immediately for a case evaluation. Our legal team has experience protecting our clients’ rights and securing their freedom. When you hire us, we’ll work diligently to locate crucial evidence that proves your innocence or contradicts the prosecution’s case. We’ll fight hard to ensure the charges you’re facing get reduced or dropped.
We understand you’re feeling overwhelmed by the legal process ahead. You’re worried about the implications of a child trafficking charge and how it will affect your job, family, and reputation. You can depend on us to be by your side every step of the way. Our dedicated team is available 24/7 to take your call. We’ll provide guidance and support throughout your entire case. To find out more about how we can help, call The Morris Firm today at (850) 503-2626.
What is Sex Trafficking?
Human trafficking involves soliciting, transporting, providing, harboring, enticing, obtaining, recruiting, or maintaining someone to exploit them. Florida statutes don’t define sex trafficking but include it in the broader category of human trafficking. Generally, it refers to kidnapping, coercing, transporting, blackmailing, or recruiting a minor child under the age of 18 for sexual acts, such as:
- Sexual slavery or labor
- Sale to someone else for sexual activities
- Sexual entertainment, such as stripping
- Commercial sexual activity
Coercion includes the following acts:
- Luring or enticing by deceit or fraud
- Isolating, restraining, or threatening to isolate or restrain someone against their will
- Using physical force or threatening to use physical force
- Administering a controlled substance to subdue a person for exploitation
- Threatening to harm the victim’s loved ones
Commercial sexual activity refers to:
- Producing pornography
- Sexually explicit performances
- Attempting to or committing a crime in Florida Chapter 796
There are usually many individuals involved in child sex trafficking. Anyone who plays a role could face the consequences, including:
- Child pornography producers and distributors
- People who make travel arrangements
- Sponsors or companions of the victims
- Parties responsible for marketing the sexual services
- Individuals guilty of aiding and abetting participants
Penalties You Could Face if You’re Convicted of Child Sex Trafficking
Anyone who knowingly or, by disregarding the facts, engages in or attempts to engage in human trafficking or benefits from participating in the act by receiving money or something of value has committed a criminal offense. It’s a first-degree felony that comes with the following penalties:
- Maximum of 30 years in state prison;
- A fine up to $10,000;
- Or both.
However, the sentence could increase to a life felony if the victim is a minor child under 18 years of age or has a mental defect or disability. The penalties include:
- A life sentence in state prison; or
- Up to a 40-year prison term; and
- Maximum of $15,000 fine.
Human trafficking for commercial sexual activity that involves transporting the minor victim into the state of Florida is a first-degree felony. If the child wasn’t transported from outside the state, then the charge would be a life felony.
If convicted, you also have to register as a sex offender. Florida laws are strict when it comes to the details you must provide when you register. If you get released from prison, you have to submit your information within 48 hours to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement sexual offenders website.
Detailed information you’ll need to provide includes:
- Full name
- Social security number
- Height and weight
- Residence addresses in and out of state
- Description of convicted offenses
- Identifying physical characteristics
- Email addresses
- Phone number
- Occupation and name of employer
- Date of birth
- Higher education institution
Every time you move to a new residence or make changes to other information listed above, you must notify the local sheriff’s office within 48 hours. They will replace your old information with the new details on the sex offender registry database.
It’s also a requirement that you apply for a new driver’s license upon your release from prison. You must go to the Department of Motor Vehicles for a license that says you’re a sex offender. If any of the information on it changes, you’ll need to let the DMV know within 48 hours like you would with the sex offender registry.
Depending on the circumstances of the crime you committed, you might have to successfully complete a sex offender treatment program with someone who has the qualifications and training to treat sex offenders.
When you’re a registered sex offender, there are limitations to where you’re allowed to work, live, and spend your time. If you get convicted of child sex trafficking, you’re prohibited from doing the following:
- Living within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare facility, park, or another area where children frequently gather;
- Coming within 300 feet of a place where children congregate;
- Contacting, approaching, or communicating with a minor child at a public park or playground to engage in sexual conduct;
- Visiting a school, playground, park, or childcare facility that contains minors from prekindergarten through the 12th grade, unless expressly approved by a supervising officer for purposes of picking up or dropping of one’s children or attending a religious service;
- Distributing candy to minors on Halloween; and
- Working as a paid employee or volunteer at an establishment where minor children usually go, such as a park, school, playground, zoo, or mall.
If you violate any of these laws, you could face a first-degree misdemeanor charge that comes with the penalties below:
- Up to one year in jail
- Maximum of $1,000 fine
- Up to one year of probation
If you’re planning on traveling to another state within the country, you have to notify the local sheriff’s office within 48 hours of your departure date. If you’re traveling internationally, you must provide at least 21 days’ notice. You also need to give them the following details associated with your plans:
- Address, municipality, county, state, and country
- Departure and return dates
- Flight number
- Airport or cruise port for the departure
Common Legal Defenses Used Against Allegations of Child Sex Trafficking
If you get arrested and charged with child sex trafficking, you’ll need an experienced team to help you with your defense strategy. The Pensacola child trafficking defense lawyer from The Morris Firm will begin an immediate investigation and review the evidence against you. We’ll come up with a plan to disprove the prosecution’s case or obtain supporting evidence that shows you didn’t commit the crime.
False allegation: Maybe the victim accused you to get revenge or gain sympathy from others. There are also situations where they mistake you for the real perpetrator.
Lack of evidence: The prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you’re guilty of the crime. Without adequate evidence, it will be challenging to convince a jury to convict you.
Illegal search and seizure: You have the right against illegal searches and seizures by law enforcement. If anyone involved in the investigation obtained evidence illegally, we’ll file a motion to suppress so it can’t be presented at trial.
Alibi: Proving you were nowhere near the location of the offenses at the time they were committed could get the case against you dismissed.
The Morris Firm Will Help You Fight for Justice
Our Pensacola child trafficking defense lawyer will use every resource to get your case dismissed. We believe our clients deserve a fair chance at fighting for their rights, freedom, and future. When you hire us, our legal team will review your case and find a way to poke holes in the prosecution’s theories. We’ll locate crucial evidence that proves you’re innocent or places doubt in the jurors’ minds. Depending on the circumstances of your case, we might be able to reach a plea agreement, so you receive a lesser charge and punishment.
We know you’ve been struggling ever since your arrest. When you’re facing a sex crime conviction, it’s a stressful and traumatic experience. You worry about the impact a guilty verdict could have on your family. You’ll have to live with a criminal record, which could prevent you from finding employment after serving your sentence. This is something that can upend your entire life. You can depend on us to be there for you when you need us the most to offer support, advice, and guidance.
It’s crucial that you contact us immediately after your arrest. The sooner we begin working on your case, the better. If you don’t know your rights, you could do or say something that implicates yourself in the crime. We’ll ensure everyone treats you fairly and doesn’t violate your rights while they’re investigating the alleged offense and gathering evidence against you.
If you were accused of child sex trafficking and don’t know the next steps to take, call us today at (850) 503-2626. You can schedule a case review with our Pensacola child trafficking defense lawyer to discuss your legal options.