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Human trafficking is a crime that most people assume can never really happen to them. The truth is, it isn’t always what the public imagines. Human sex trafficking happens in many different places and it can take many forms. 

In fact, recent human trafficking convictions for the leaders of the cult, NXIVM (NEX-ee-um), show how human trafficking can sneak its way into the most unlikely places. 

In the case of NXIVM, it was under the guise of professional enrichment and self-empowerment courses whose inner-most circles were accused of participating in harmful mind control and sex cult rituals.

Here’s what you need to know about sex trafficking: What is it and what penalties are associated with it in North Carolina.

Human Trafficking: What Is It?

The idea of human trafficking may conjure images of people lurking in the shadows of shady places but the truth is that many people find themselves led down a path to sex trafficking without understanding that it was happening.


This is because often victims of human trafficking are coerced or deceived into participating in either labor or sex acts. Many victims of human trafficking are coerced to participate by:

  • Blackmail
  • Threats
  • Destruction of government-issued IDs such as passports
  • Being drugged
  • Using a weapon to ensure compliance
  • Restraining of the victim physically


They are also victims of deception. This often includes:

  • Purposefully keeping the victim in debt to someone else
  • Making promises that turn out to be false to the victim
  • Confirming or making up the victim’s belief that a story is a fact or fiction

The people who traffic other human beings can come from anywhere. They can be people that have befriended you and lulled you into a false sense of security or they can business owners who are fronting an illegal sex trade.

North Carolina Charges That Can Result From Human Trafficking

One of the most important aspects of human sex trafficking is, once a victim has been deceived and coerced into performing sex acts themselves, they are often “rewarded” by moving into a higher position, if you will, of recruiting others. 

This can often blur the line between perpetrator and victim, and these cases can become very complicated. On the surface, it can be difficult for law enforcement to determine whether someone who seems to be an offender is actually a victim themselves.

Human Trafficking is a Felony in North Carolina

Human trafficking in this state is considered a felony. Charges on multiple counts often occur, especially for those that were in charge of the operation.

Anyone found guilty of human trafficking can face penalties such as 15 years to life in prison and fines in the millions of dollars. The fines are used to help pay for services for the victims and the person convicted of human trafficking may have to register as a sex offender.

Peripheral Charges to Human Trafficking

In North Carolina, when someone is arrested for crimes that are not specifically human trafficking, but that are connected to it, criminal charges can vary widely, including:

  • Sexual servitude
  • Kidnapping
  • Prostitution
  • Pimping
  • The exploitation of a minor
  • Conspiracy
  • Sale into involuntary servitude

Every charge can result in harsh penalties, which is why it is imperative to have an experienced sex trafficking attorney on the case. 

You Don’t Have to Be the Mastermind to Face Consequences in NC

While there is usually one or two people in charge of a human trafficking operation, the truth is that anyone involved can face charges. 

Even those who were on the periphery or only participated one time in the scheme can face time in jail if convicted. This is especially true if minors were involved in the trafficking.

If prosecutors can prove that someone was in any way connected with buying another person for servitude or sex, then years in prison will be in their future.

North Carolina Human Trafficking Attorney

If you’re involved in a human trafficking case because you were originally a trafficking victim yourself, make sure to make that known to law enforcement. Help is available to those who are victims and have been caught up in human trafficking schemes.

Remember, human trafficking can happen anywhere. If you ever see it occurring or think you’re trying to be lured into it, then report it to the police.

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