Category: Human Trafficking
Human Sex Trafficking in Arizona
Arizona is one of the harshest, if not the harshest State when it comes to prosecuting sex trafficking cases. Partly the result of government grants, partly the result of strong lobbying efforts, and partly the result of a push by the media, sex trafficking now a priority of law enforcement. If you follow the news, you have probably noticed an increasing number of sex-related, human trafficking arrests being reported as Phoenix law enforcement has stepped up enforcement of Arizona’s sex trafficking laws. Just recently, Arizona made national headlines when announcing they had arrested more than 30 individuals on human trafficking charges. Under Arizona’s harsh sex trafficking laws, those facing human trafficking charges are looking at possibly decades behind bars.
What is Sex Trafficking in Arizona?Trafficking is a crime related to human labor trafficking and other forms of human trafficking. In general, “trafficking” is to entice, recruit, harbor, provide, transport, or otherwise obtain another person by deception, coercion, or force. According to Arizona Revised Statute A.R.S. 13-1308, it is unlawful for a person to either:
- Knowingly traffic another person with the intent to or knowledge that the other person will be subject to forced labor or services
- Knowingly benefit, financially or by receiving anything of value, from participation in a venture that has engaged in an act of human trafficking
What are the Penalties for Human Trafficking and Sex Trafficking in Arizona?Penalties and prison sentences for human traffickers are harsh. Human Trafficking is a Class 2 Felony in Arizona. If convicted, even a first offense, you could receive up to 12.5 years in prison and receive a fine of up to $150, 000 plus surcharges. You could also face forfeiture of your property including your vehicles and home. But if we are speaking of Sex Trafficking involving minors, the penalties are substantially worse: Depending on which part of the law you are prosecuted, the law requires you receive a mandatory prison term of 10-24 years, 7-21 years, or 13-27 in prison. Please note the operative word is “shall serve.” The judge has NO discretion. You will go to prison. Any additional sentence MUST be consecutive to any other sentence. (If convicted of multiple crimes, it means your prison term adds up the first sentence PLUS the second sentence, etc…) In most cases, the accused accepts a plea bargain to a lengthy prison term followed by probation. As the conviction is a sex crime, it means registering as a sex offender and abiding by lifetime probation with sex terms and conditions. It is very restrictive. Even if your children were not the victims, the probation terms can prohibit contact with any children: including your own children and grandchildren. It means no computer usage without permission. It means you may be monitored by GPS and limited as to where you can live and where and when you can travel.
Penalties for “Johns” in Sex Trafficking CasesThe law used to go a little easier on “Johns” than it did on sex traffickers, but in an effort to reduce sex trafficking in Arizona by cutting off the demand, the law now may charge “Johns” with a Class 2 Felony.
- The recently revised statute added the language “or should have known” to the section of the existing statute regarding a john who engages in prostitution with a minor who is fifteen, sixteen or seventeen.
- The law now punishes anyone who knew “or should have known” the prostitution was a minor. As a result, they are facing prosecution for Class 2 Felonies. In addition to the sex trafficking charges, the person will likely face charges of sexual conduct or molestation of a minor.