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Child Pornography and Child Sex Trafficking

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A Florida family fears that their nine-year-old daughter, Diana Alvarez, has become a victim of child sex trafficking after she went missing in 2016, as reported by People Magazine. Their fears are harbored by the actions of a 29-year-old man, who had earlier been living with the family in their mobile home. The man was kicked out of their home when it came to the attention of the girl’s parents that he had been having inappropriate relations with their nine-year-old daughter. When she was reported missing, authorities went to investigate the 29-year-old defendant, who had fled his home before police arrived. After tracking him down, they found pornographic images of the girl on his phone. He also admitted to police that he had sexual relations with her, roughly every week during his eight-month-long stay with the family. Just recently, the man was sentenced to 40 years in federal prison for child pornography charges. He is facing additional charges of battery of a child as well as lewd or lascivious molestation of a victim under 12 years old. He has given no information about the girl’s whereabouts, and the family believes that she is either dead or has been sold into a sex ring.

Child Sex Trafficking is a Serious Federal Offense

According to 18 U.S.C. § 1591, it is a federal offense to “knowingly recruit, entice, harbor, transport, provide, obtain, or maintain a minor,” if you know that the minor would be used to engage in commercial sex acts, or if you recklessly disregarded the fact that the victim was a minor (under 18 years of age). A commercial sex act is “any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.” In order to violate this statute, a defendant:

  • Does not need to transport, or cause to transport, the child across any state or country lines;
  • Does not need to cross state lines themselves;
  • Does not need to use “force, threats of force, fraud, or coercion, or any combination of those means, to cause the minor to engage in a commercial sex act.”

Evidence of force or coercion is not necessary because the victim is a minor.

Penalties for Child Sex Trafficking

If the victim is under 14 years of age, of if the defendant used force, fraud, or coercion, the penalty is a minimum of 15 years in federal prison, with a maximum life sentence. If the victim was 14 to 17 years old, the penalty is 10 years to life in prison. Attempting to commit or conspiring to commit child sex trafficking is also in violation of this statute. And, anyone who obstructs an investigation into child sex trafficking faces up to a 20-year sentence. U.S. citizens, residents, and any person brought into the country is protected under this law.

Contact a West Palm Beach Lawyer Today 

If you are facing child prostitution or child rape charges, you need to speak with a West Palm Beach attorney at once, because the federal government prosecutes such offenses as harshly as possible, whether you did the crime or not. Call the West Palm Beach criminal defense attorneys of the Skier Law Firm today for assistance.

Resource:

people.com/crime/florida-man-40-years-pornographic-images-diana-alvarez/

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