DC Federal Human Trafficking Penalties


Do you need help avoiding DC federal human trafficking penalties? Attorneys from Scrofano Law PC can offer information and advice. Contact us for a consultation.

Common Human Trafficking Tactics


Human trafficking, the illegal exploitation of people for sex or labor, affects millions yearly. Anybody can be a victim, regardless of age, race, gender, or country. Some of the most common tactics that traffickers use to lure victims include:

  • Violence

  • Manipulation

  • Empty promises of high-paying jobs

  • Romantic relationships


What Is Federal Human Trafficking?


The federal government defines human trafficking as “the recruiting, housing, transportation, furnishing, or procuring of a person or minor children for work or commercial sex act services using force, coercion, or deception with the intent to commit such person to involuntary servitude, debt bondage, peonage, or slavery.”

Human trafficking is often underreported because victims are too afraid to report it, or there’s a language barrier between them and the authorities. It is important to note that human trafficking is a serious offense under U.S.A. federal law and comes with severe consequences.

Human Trafficking Laws


The Trafficking Victims Protection Act helps to protect victims of human trafficking on a federal level. Sex trafficking and forced labor are considered serious crimes subject to federal charges. Engaging child victims in any commercial sexual act through force, deception, or coercion is considered sex trafficking and is punishable by law under Section 7102 of Title 22 of the U.S. Code.

A human trafficking operation is a crime under state and federal laws. It is a serious crime in the District of Columbia and carries severe penalties, including a maximum fine and lengthy prison sentences.

If you are the subject of a human trafficking investigation or have been arrested on sex trafficking charges such as first-degree sexual abuse of a child, consult a federal criminal lawyer to learn the legal options available in human trafficking cases.

DC Federal Human Trafficking Statute


Federal prosecutors use several statutes to prosecute perpetrators of this federal offense. Anyone found guilty of forced labor trafficking or commercial sex trafficking faces dire consequences regardless of age. Some of the statutes used to prosecute human traffickers in D.C. include the following:

  • 1581, 1584, 1589, 1590, 1591, and 1592 18 U.S.C sections.

  • TVPRA (Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act) of 2003. This statute establishes trafficking as a chargeable crime and provides a civil right for victims of trafficking to sue their traffickers. It also aims to protect human trafficking victims from deportation. It also requires the Attorney General to report to Congress all activities of trafficking.

  • TVPRA of 2005.

  • William Wilberforce’s TVPRA of 2008.

  • The Mann Act. This act made the interstate transportation of women for commercial sexual activity a felony crime. It aims to protect against human trafficking, sexual exploitation, child pornography, and commercial sex acts.

  • JVTA (Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act) of 2015. Under this act, a person who purchases sexual acts from a sex trafficking victim may be arrested and convicted for human trafficking. Since it was established under the Domestic Trafficking Victims’ Act, it allows finances from human traffickers to help human trafficking victims.

Additionally, there are secondary laws that help law enforcement officers fight human trafficking, such as:

Human Trafficking Punishments in DC


The law prohibits human trafficking and related sex acts crimes. Almost every human trafficking violation carries a potential sentence of several years in jail or even life imprisonment. According to Title 18 of the United States Code, if you are found guilty of kidnapping and selling young girls into slavery or contributing to their enslavement, you could be sentenced to 20 years in prison.

If the trafficking victim loses their life or sustains a serious bodily injury during the trafficking, the suspect may have to pay restitution to the victim’s family and could spend the rest of their life behind bars.

Anyone convicted of human trafficking must register as a sex offender. If you’re a registered sex offender, you are obligated to reveal details about your Internet use and any aliases you use for your online activity.


What Is the Federal Punishment for Human Trafficking?

The consequences of federal human trafficking in DC are jail and imprisonment. Commercial sex trafficking carries a punishment of at least 15 years in prison. The punishment for sex trafficking of children or labor trafficking is a 20-year imprisonment term and fines of several thousand dollars.

Find out what penalties a person convicted of human trafficking violations may face by consulting one of the most competent and experienced white-collar lawyers. Contact Scrofano Law today for a consultation!

DC Human Trafficking Sentencing Guidelines


Prior to 2004, sentencing guidelines necessitated a sophisticated mathematical calculation. The defendant’s criminal records, the specifics of the offense, and any relevant mitigating or aggravating circumstances had to be thoroughly investigated. However, after the Supreme Court ruled that some of these guidelines were illegal, they reduced the guidelines to advisory status.

Nevertheless, human trafficking charges still carry severe legal consequences. A judge can go below or above the guideline ranges based on the specifics of the case. For example, a judge may impose a lesser term if the defendant only had a minor involvement in the human trafficking case.


Determination of Jail Time for Human Trafficking Conviction

There are certain circumstances when the judge can lengthen your sentence during the ruling. However, before they adjust your sentence, they’ll typically consider the following:

  • The number of victims involved

  • The age of the alleged victim

  • The total money that was at stake

  • The amount of physical harm

  • The use of weapons

In cases where multiple victims were involved, excessive force was used on the victims, abuse was threatened, or a large sum of money was at stake, the punishment could be severe. However, the judge will also check the circumstances surrounding the case. The defendant’s age and circumstances that led to human trafficking can impact the final verdict.

If you were pressured into committing or engaging in human trafficking, the punishment may be less severe. The judge will ascertain your level of involvement and the extent to which you benefited from the crime.

Human Trafficking Attorneys


Identifying the legal options available to you is essential if you face human trafficking charges. An experienced federal human trafficking lawyer in Washington, DC, may be able to negotiate for a dismissal of the charges or, at the very least, a reduction in the charges against you and supervised release.

After the initial consultation, our defense team will work to develop a solid defense strategy for you. Our plan of action could shift as new details come to light, and our defense strategy may evolve progressively as new data becomes available.

Depending on the specifics of your case, a skilled criminal defense attorney can present plausible counterarguments to your charges in a superior court and hold your hand throughout the court process.

Make sure you contact a skilled criminal defense attorney as soon as you become aware that you are being investigated for trafficking offenses or after a law enforcement officer contacts you.

Get in touch with a federal criminal lawyer in Washington, D.C., today to learn about your legal options!


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