New York Sex Trafficking charges are located in Article 230 of the New York Penal Law. Importantly, there are two different Sex Trafficking charges:
- Sex Trafficking (PL 230.34)
- Sex Trafficking of a Child (PL 230.34-a)
Prevalence of New York Sex Trafficking
According to the 2018 Annual Report by New York State Interagency Task Force Report on Human Trafficking, there were 1,252 victims of Human Trafficking in New York in 2018.
- 64% of confirmed victims are victims of Sex Trafficking, 20% are victims of Sex Trafficking and Labor Trafficking, while 16% are victims of Labor Trafficking only
- 43% of the confirmed victims are from New York City, 40% are from Upstate and 17% are from the Metro Area (Dutchess, Nassau, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties).
The District Attorney’s Offices and the New York State Attorney General’s Office have been prosecuting these New York Sex Trafficking charges with greater frequency.
Investigations into New York Sex Trafficking Charges
New York State Police, New York City Police Department, federal agencies as well as the New York State Attorney General’s Office all investigate and prosecute New York Sex Trafficking Matters. New York State Attorney General’s Office has formed an Upstate Task Force to investigate and prosecute sex traffickers. Sometimes the New York Sex Trafficking investigations conducted by local and state law enforcement end up being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office (federal prosecutors). Other times, investigations conducted by the federal agents turn into New York Sex Trafficking charges on the state level.
Whether the case is handled by the federal or state prosecutors generally depends on whether there is an inter-state transportation of an individual for the purposes of prostitution. However, some federal investigations are handled by the state prosecutors
Federal Sex Trafficking Charges
Under a federal law called the Mann Act, it is illegal to transport an individual across state lines for the purpose of engaging in prostitution. Federal Human Trafficking Laws are located in 18 United States Code Section 1580, specifically:
- 18 U.S.C. Section 1583 – Kidnapping of a person with intent to hold as a slave or sell into indentured servitude
- 18 U.S.C. Section 1584 – Holding or Selling a person into indentured servitude
Additionally, The Victims of Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 (TVPA) also allows for prosecution of human trafficking as a federal crime, subject to grave penalties.
New York Sex Trafficking (PL 230.34)
Under New York Law, this charge requires intentional advancement or profit from prostitution AND:
- With intent to impair judgment, unlawfully provides to a person who is patronized:
- A narcotic drug or preparation;
- Concentrated cannabis;
2. Making material false statements, misstatements, or omissions to induce or maintain the person being patronized to engage in or continue to engage in prostitution activity;
3. Taking away or destroying a passport, any other travel or immigration document;
4. Requiring that prostitution be performed to repay a real or purported debt;
5. Using force or engaging in a pattern of instilling fear in the person being patronized. Specifically, the fear that if the demand is not complied, then the actor or another will:
- Cause Physical injury, serious physical injury or death to a person,
- Cause Damage to property, other than the property of the actor,
- Engage in a felony, or unlawful imprisonment in the second degree,
- Accuse someone of a crime, or cause criminal charges or deportation proceedings to be instituted;
- Expose a secret or publicize a fact, whether true or false, which is likely to subject some person to hatred, contempt or ridicule;
- Testify, provide information or withhold testimony or information with respect to another’s legal claim or defense;
- Use or abuse his or her position as a public servant by performing some act within or relating to his or hers official duties
- Perform any other art which is calculated to to harm the person patronized materially with respect to his or her health, safety or immigration status.
Statutory Defenses to NY Sex Trafficking Charges
The New York Sex Trafficking statute contains two defenses:
- Taking away someone’s passport is not a crime if it is done for the purpose of correcting a social security number or another immigration agency record. So long as it is not done as a threat.
- Also, if the defendant reasonably believed that the threatened charge is true and his purpose was to induce the victim to take reasonable action to right the wrong which was the subject of a threatened charge.
New York Sex Trafficking Sentences & Penalties
This New York Sex Crime is a Class B violent felony. As such, it is punishable by 5 to 25 years in prison. Additionally, this New York Sex Trafficking charge is subject to SORA Registration.
New York Sex Trafficking of a Child (PL 230.34-a)
New York has another Sex Trafficking charge, that specifically relates to the Sex Trafficking of Children. This law was only recently enacted as it passed in June of 2018. Prior to June 2018, it was a separate crime to traffic children, unless the conduct fell under the Sex Trafficking statute of PL 230.34. As explained above, Sex Trafficking under New York Penal Law 230.34, requires physical force, intimidation or coercion. Absent those factors, Sex Trafficking of Children prior to June 2018 could not be prosecuted in New York on the state level.
Elements of New York Sex Trafficking of a Child (PL 230.34-a)
Under New York Penal Law 230.24-a, a person is guilty of Sex Trafficking of a Child when he or she:
- Being 21 years old or more,
- Intentionally advances or profits from prostitution of another person,
- Such person is a child less than 18 years old.
Importantly, knowledge of the child’s actual age is not required. That is to say, that even if someone truthfully believes that the individual being patronized is over the age of 18, when they are really 17 years old, that is not a defense to Sex Trafficking of a Child.
NY Sex Trafficking of a Child Sentences & Penalties
New York Sex Trafficking of a Child is a Class B Felony. As such, it is punishable by 5 to 25 years. This New York Sex Crimes charge is also subject to SORA Registration.
Additionally, an individual can be charged with both New York Sex Trafficking and New York Sex Trafficking of a child, so long as the conduct satisfies the elements of both crimes.
Examples of New York Sex Trafficking Charges
PSNY v. Arthur Dawson (NY County)
One of the first cases brought under the Child Sex Trafficking Law by the New York County District Attorney’s Office against Arthur Dawson. In February 2020, the Grand Jury returned an indictment against Dawson for a child trafficking conspiracy of a 17 year old for the purposes of the prosecution. The charges contained in the Indictments are merely allegations, and individuals are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty.
PSNY v. Abiodun Adeleke (Suffolk County)
Another example of New York Sex Trafficking charges is the case of People of the State of New York v. Abiodun Adeleke. Mr. Adeleke was prosecuted by the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office for being a part of a Sex Trafficking operation in Suffolk County from 2014 to 2018. In December 2019, Mr. Adeleke was convicted by a jury of:
- Two counts of Sex Trafficking (class B violent felony),
- Three counts of Sex Trafficking (class B felony),
- Promoting Prostitution in the Third Degree (class D felony), AND
- Assault in the Third Degree (class A misdemeanor).
In January 2020, Mr. Adeleke was sentenced to 25 years in prison followed by 20 years of post release supervision.
Contact a New York Sex Trafficking Charges Attorney Today
New York’s Sex Trafficking charges are some of the most high-stakes cases. They are punishable by significant jail time and SORA Registration. It is important that you have an experienced New York Sex Trafficking Charges Criminal Defense attorney representing you. Please call us at 212-729-9494 or contact us today for your free initial consultation.