A human trafficking story in Guildford County recently came to light after deputies from the Guildford County Sheriff’s Office, following a lead, discovered a female being held in a house against her will. The 16-year-old victim, given the alias of “Jane” for privacy purposes, moved in with her then 40-year-old boyfriend and was forced to pose for sexual pictures. Jane’s boyfriend mass-produced these pictures and sold them for a profit. She was confined to the house for 10 years until rescued by law enforcement officers.
What is human trafficking?
Under North Carolina law, you commit human trafficking if you recruit, entice, transport or obtain a person with the intent that the person be held to provide involuntary servitude or sexual servitude. Involuntary servitude means performing labor under force, deception or intimidation by another person. Sexual servitude means carrying out a sexual activity, whether for financial gain or not, which is induced by the use of force or deception, or when the victim is under 18 years old. In the case of Jane, she was a minor enticed to enter the home of the trafficker, who then induced her to comply with sexual servitude.
Human trafficking is a Class F felony if it involves adults only, but becomes a class C felony if the victim is a minor. A Class F felony carries a minimum sentence for a first offense of 13 months in prison, while a Class C felony has a minimum sentence of 58 months in prison.
Can I be convicted if I unknowingly help transport a victim?
The law clearly states that you have only committed the offense if you knowingly transport the victim with the intent that the victim will be subjected to involuntary or sexual servitude. If you are unaware of the purpose of the transportation of people, you may have a defense against a charge. However, it can be difficult to prove that you are unaware of the purpose for transporting the victim. A lawyer can help defend you against human trafficking charges.
Posted in Criminal Defense | Tagged criminal defense attorney, human trafficking, Raleigh lawyer