IL Sex Trafficking Laws: What You Should Know
Being accused of sex trafficking in Illinois is a serious crime. If you are convicted, you face severe penalties that can include jail time, fines, and the ruin of your reputation in the eyes of the public.
With so much at stake, it’s very important to not only understand the penalties you face but also the charges against you, as well as your rights in the situation. Here’s what you need to know about sex trafficking laws in Illinois and what you can do to fight these charges.
What Is Sex Trafficking in Illinois?
When someone intentionally recruits, entices, provides transportation, harbors, or through some other means obtains someone for the purpose of sexual servitude, they are committing sex trafficking in Illinois. Simply attempting any of these acts with the intention of obtaining a person for this purpose is considered sex trafficking, too, even if you were not successful in the endeavor.
It’s also important to note that you don’t have to transport anyone for an offense to be considered sex trafficking. The victim may stay in the same place. The key is simply that sex trafficking is defined as subjecting someone to sexual servitude, no matter where they are.
The Penalties for Sex Trafficking In Illinois
It is a Class 1 felony in the state of Illinois to sex traffick another person. If convicted of this level of crime, you can face as many as 15 years behind bars. If there are aggravating factors in the case, then you can face a Class X felony, the most serious level of felony in the state, which can send you to prison for many years.
What types of things are considered aggravating factors? Common ones include:
- Attempting to kidnap or successfully kidnapping the victim
- Attempting to sexually assault or perpetrating aggravated sexual assault on the victim
- Attempting first-degree murder
If you are found guilty of a Class X felony in Illinois, your prison sentence can be doubled, and you do face the potential of life in prison – the prosecution can seek that enhancement based on the circumstances surrounding your case. If you held the victim for longer than six months, then the court also has the discretion to add additional time to the sentence. Multiple victims will also add time.
Civil Penalties for Sex Trafficking
It’s not only the criminal penalties that you should worry about in a sex trafficking conviction. You may encounter civil penalties, as well.
If you are found guilty of sex trafficking in Illinois, you face the possibility of being required to pay restitution to the victim for their labor during the ordeal. You may be compelled to pay fines to a Human Trafficking Fund, the amount of which is at the discretion of the court. Your assets can be seized in order to pay for these civil penalties.
How to Defend Yourself
The first step to a good defense against sex trafficking charges is to enlist the help of an experienced attorney. They can determine the best way to defend you against these charges based on the circumstances surrounding your case.
The most common ways people defend against these types of charges include:
- Lack of intent to commit sex trafficking
- Lack of knowledge
- Mental incapacitation
- Police misconduct
- Duress or coercion
Every case is different, but if you understand the charges against you as well as your rights in the situation, these are the first steps toward an outcome most favorable to you.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.