The Commonwealth of Virginia takes the crime of sex trafficking very seriously. In recent years these crimes have received more and more attention from the media, especially with so many cases created from sites like Craigslist or Backpage. It is always important to understand each state’s laws when it comes to sex trafficking, as they can vary from one state to another. For more information on sex crimes generally, visit this page.
Virginia state laws on sex trafficking are considered Substantive Criminal Laws and are found in Title 18 Chapter 4 of the Commonwealth’s laws, under the general section heading of Crimes Against the Person. The section 18.2-48 deals specifically with the many different actions that fall under the general umbrella of sex trafficking, which includes multiple felonies as well as misdemeanor counts.
Abduction is one of the most serious counts of sex trafficking punished in the state of Virginia and is considered a Class 2 felony that can result in 20 years to life in prison in addition to a $100,000 fine. Abduction covers a variety of crimes including:
The law clearly lays out several different scenarios that constitute a sex trafficking offense in the state of Virginia. While multiple elements are listed, it is important to understand that a crime does not have to meet all of them to fall under the severe abduction category for sex trafficking in the state of Virginia. Meeting even one of those criteria can result in an abduction and/or sex trafficking charge.
The main elements that constitute abduction under Virginia law include:
Abduction is not the only crime that qualifies as sex trafficking in the Commonwealth, though it carries many of the harshest penalties due to the nature of the crime.
Prostitution falls under the sex trafficking laws in Virginia, and there are several different misdemeanors and felonies provided for by this section of the code. Under state law § 18.2-355, taking a person for prostitution or other illegal sexual acts is a felony that can result in two to 10 years in prison and up to a $100,000 fine.
This particular section of the code refers to the crime of encouraging, supporting, or convincing a person of legal age into prostitution or working in a brothel. This can even apply to encouraging someone on your behalf to lure someone into the illicit activity.
Section 18.2-356 deals with the related sex trafficking crime of procurement. Procurement refers to receiving money or anything of value in exchange for helping a person commit an illegal sexual act. The person assisted can be on either side of the illegal sexual act – so in the case of prostitution, might be the person who pays for the illicit sexual services or the person who receives money for them.
Possible examples of procurement include getting money for helping provide a brothel-type business with a new worker, or agreeing to point an individual to a prostitute or house of ill repute in exchange for a tip or any type of compensation.
There are two other main types of felonies that fall under the sex trafficking laws for Virginia. The first is anything having to do with production or creation of child pornography. This is covered in the Code of Virginia from 18.2-374.1 to 18.2-370(B), which also covers indecent liberties with minors, including providing sexually explicit materials.
Both of these acts are felonies. Taking indecent liberties with children can result a prison sentence of one to 10 years for the convicted party, while the child pornography sentences vary based on the age of the victim.
Pornography involving victims under 15 will result in five to 30 years in prison, while for cases involving victims from the ages of 15-17, punishments are one to 20 years in prison. If, in the latter instance, the defendant is seven years older than the victim, then the possible prison sentence gets bumped up to a minimum of three years and a maximum of 30.
Under Virginia state sex trafficking laws, there are multiple crimes that are classified as Class 1 misdemeanors. These crimes include (but are not limited to):
The attorney general’s office and other executive powers within Virginia government have made fighting human trafficking, including sex trafficking, a top priority in the Commonwealth. If you are accused of sex trafficking in Virginia, you can be sure that any possible infractions will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent the law allows. In this situation, you must protect yourself with top-quality legal representation.
A Virginia sex trafficking attorney with Karin Riley Porter Attorney at Law will fight diligently to preserve your rights and maximize your chance of securing a favorable legal outcome. Call us today for a free initial consultation.
If you are seeking information or representation regarding DC sex trafficking charges, please visit David Benowitz Attorney at Law’s website – here.
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