Under Minnesota law, sex trafficking is defined and punished separately than a standard prostitution offense. While every case is different, sex trafficking crimes tend to be more heinous because the victim is often forced into the practice against their will. That’s not to say that the same thing doesn’t happen in prostitution, but oftentimes there is a larger network at play in sex trafficking cases, and the goal of current legislation is to hold all parties involved to a significant standard. Below, we take a closer look at how sex trafficking defined and punished in Minnesota.
Sex Trafficking in Minnesota
Sex trafficking has two definitions according to Minnesota law. Sex trafficking is defined as:
1. Receiving, recruiting, enticing, harboring, providing, or obtaining by any means an individual to aid in the prostitution of an individual; or
2. Receiving profit or anything of value and knowing or having reason to know it is derived from sex trafficking.
The phrase “by any means” indicates that a person may not legally consent to sex trafficking. Consent and mistakes of age are not legitimate defenses in sex trafficking cases. As you may also notice based on how the law is written, you don’t need to be the one physically forcing the victim to do anything in order to be charged with a severe sex trafficking offense. If you collected payment or received goods, or if you knowingly provided a location for the crime to take place, you can face the same felony charges as others involved in the crime.
However, it’s also worth noting that while the victim may have taken part in the act, Minnesota’s safe harbor laws prevent them from being charged for their role. This is done to protect victims and dissuade them from opting not to come forward because of fear of repercussions.
Minnesota Sex Trafficking Attorney
Minnesota sex trafficking crimes carry significant consequences. If you are convicted, you can face a maximum of 15 years if the victim was an adult, and that only gets worse if the victim is younger or aggravating factors are present. You can be sentenced to up 20 years and receive up to a $50,000 fine if the victim is under 18 years of age, and 25 years and up to a $60,000 fine when any of the following aggravating factors are involved:
- The offender has a prior human trafficking offense.
- The sex trafficking victim suffered bodily harm during the commission of the offense.
- The sex trafficking victim was held in debt, bondage, or forced labor for more than 180 days.
- The offense involved more than one sex trafficking victim.
Needless to say, you can end up facing decades in prison if you get caught up in a sex trafficking operation, so it’s important that you consider all your options if you’re facing charges. Victims deserve justice, but so does everyone if you are wrongfully accused or facing trumped up charges. Speak to an attorney like Avery Appelman, learn about your options and decide how to best more forward with your case. For more information, give Avery and his team a call today at (952) 224-2277