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Trafficking in Minors

November 08, 2018

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

A New Jersey man has been arrested by Pennsylvania law enforcement for trafficking in minors, unlawful contact with a minor, and child pornography, according to The man was arrested in a month-long sting operation, conducted by Pennsylvania authorities, Homeland Security, and other local agencies, for his attempts to lure minors to have sex with him while being filmed, and in return he would provide them a trip to Europe where the minor would allegedly be introduced to the world of European pornography. An officer posed as a 15-year-old girl on an online dating app, and according to North Strabane police Chief Brian Hughes, the defendant “solicited her to bring the 15-year-old female with her to see him in New Jersey and start making movies and have sex and introduce her to the glamorous world of pornography in Europe.” He has been charged in Pennsylvania, and will be extradited here, because he was allegedly trafficking minors from Pennsylvania to New Jersey.

Pennsylvania Human Trafficking in Minors

Under Title 18, Chapter 30 of the Pennsylvania Crminal Code, trafficking is a second degree felony. Human trafficking is defined as the following:

  • Recruiting;
  • Enticing;
  • Soliciting;
  • Harboring;
  • Transporting;
  • Providing;
  • Obtaining; and/or
  • Maintaining an individual who will be subjected to involuntary servitude.

Involuntary servitude includes sexual acts and other forms of labor. Moreover, anyone who financially benefits or receives anything of value by helping in human trafficking in any way has also violated this statute. That means that anyone who helped set up a website, drove a car, or did any other service can be charged with human trafficking.

Human trafficking in minors is a first degree felony, and is charged even if the minor was voluntarily in the sexual servitude. For example, a defendant can be charged with trafficking in a minor if he recruited, without coercion or force, a 17-year-old girl to engage in a sexual act for pornography even if she came willingly.

Sex Trafficking is a Federal Crime

Under 18 U.S.C § 1591, sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion is a Federal crime, and there does not need to be any physical movement across state or U.S. borders for a defendant to be charged with this offense. Additionally, when the victim is a child, force, fraud, or coercion does not need to have taken place for the defendant to be charged with this crime. An attempt to commit sex trafficking, even if it was unsuccessful, is still a violation of this statute. Penalties for this crime are as follows:

  • Victim is aged 14-17: Minimum sentence of 10 years, and up to life in prison;
  • Victim is under 14 years old, or force, fraud, or coercion were used: Minimum sentence of 15 years, and up to life in prison; and
  • An attempt to obstruct or attempts to obstruct this law: Up to 20 years in prison.

Contact a Philadelphia Criminal Defense Lawyer Now

Are you facing human trafficking charges, either at the state or federal level? You need an experienced Philadelphia criminal defense attorney who will aggressively defend your rights. Call our Philadelphia law offices of van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim today at (215) 486-0123.


Crimes Against Children
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