A 32-year-old Sacramento man has recently been found guilty of sex trafficking charges after 5 different women testified against him. Local law enforcement officials alleged that this man (name withheld for reasons of privacy) had been purposefully recruiting very young women to work for him as prostitutes. They also claimed that, for about 7 years, he used both coercive force and fraud in order to convince these young ladies that prostitution was the path for them. Key witnesses say that he charmed them at first and then made use of physical force to keep them ‘in line.’
While prostitution is illegal in California, there is an entirely different set of laws that pertain to sex trafficking. California Penal Code 236-237 clearly delineates the difference between prostitution and sex trafficking. The main reason for this distinction is that sex trafficking, where victims are threatened with physical and psychological harm if they do not comply, amounts, not to a simple sex crime, but to a violation of an individual person’s liberty, in other words, enslavement. Human trafficking penalties in the sex trade include up to 12 years in state prison and a maximum $500,000 fine. If force, coercion, fraud, or threats are involved, prison sentences rise to 15 years to life. In the above case, the individual in question was convicted of 3 counts of sex trafficking involving force, coercion, and fraud. He was also found guilty of 1 count each of attempted sex trafficking of a minor and actual sex trafficking of a minor. He has yet to be sentenced.