Most people consider sex trafficking to be a far-away concept, not something that could occur right in their back yard. North Carolina law enforcement, however, knows that sex trafficking happens all around us.
Case in point: A woman was convicted last year in Raleigh for promoting prostitution and contributing to the delinquency of a minor in the human trafficking of her younger sister. That’s just one example of sex trafficking in North Carolina – it’s easy to find more.
Here’s what you need to know about sex trafficking in North Carolina, what it is, and what penalties can be imposed if found guilty of one or more of the four primary sex trafficking charges in the state.
Sex Trafficking: What is it?
Sex trafficking is a form of human trafficking that involves using force, coercion, or fraud to induce commercial sex acts. It can also include forcing minors to engage in commercial sex acts, even if there is no fraud or coercion involved.
Those considered victims of human trafficking often claim to have been coerced and deceived into the position. An act is considered coercion when:
- The victim is threatened or blackmailed
- A weapon is used to ensure compliance
- The victim is physically restrained
- Drugs or other controlled substances are used on the victim
- A passport or other official identification document is destroyed
Deception in human trafficking is considered:
- Confirming the victim’s belief in a false fact or story
- Making false promises to the victim, such as green cards for immigrants
- Keeping a victim purposefully in debt to someone else
Sex trafficking can take many forms.
Human trafficking can happen to men, women, and children. It is a crime that occurs when someone abducts, recruits, or kidnaps victims to force into prostitution or labor. They are not permitted to leave the situation of their own free will.
If found guilty of the human trafficking of adults, it’s a Class F felony. That is punished by up to 41 months in prison. If found guilty of the human trafficking of minors, then it is a Class C felony, punished by up to 182 months in prison.
Each violation is a separate offense.
Involuntary servitude occurs when a person is forced to perform services or labor through abuse such as threats and physical harm. If a person is found guilty of involuntary servitude of adults, it is a Class F felony. A Class F felony is punished by up to 41 months in prison. If the victim is a minor, then it’s a Class C felony, punished by up to 182 months in prison.
Sexual servitude is defined when a person knowingly or in disregard of the consequences of the action maintains, subjects, or obtains another person for the purpose of sexual servitude.
The sexual servitude of an adult is a Class D felony, punished by up to 160 months in prison. If the victim is a minor, it becomes a Class C felony, punishable by up to 182 months in prison.
Unlawful Sale, Surrender, or Purchase of a Minor
Unlawful sale, surrender, or purchase of a minor is defined as an act where a person willfully or recklessly without regard to the safety of the minor, participates in the solicitation, payment, transfer, or acceptance of money, property, or something of value for the transfer of physical custody of the minor.
This is a Class F felony in North Carolina, punished by up to 41 months in prison. Each violation is a separate offense charged as a Class F felony, too.
Sex trafficking is a serious crime and something you don’t want to be accused of in North Carolina.