Sensational headlines abound when the police bust a sex trafficking ring. They usually name the leader as the pimp in charge and also mention his enforcers, often females called madams. These arrests often involve the seizure of drugs and money. There is a specific emphasis on the drugs, as will be explained, which may be the lynchpin in the prosecutor’s case against the alleged pimp and madam.
If you are arrested and accused of sex trafficking, the world can seem against you. The prosecutor will exploit the findings and speak freely with the media. Until you are given your day in court, people will assume that you are guilty as charged. Do not speak with the police or the media; speak with your lawyer who will devise a strategy for your defense.
As mentioned in a previous post, the Texas Attorney General’s office defines human trafficking as “a relationship in which one person is controlled through violence, the threat of violence, or psychological coercion, has lost free will and free movement, is exploited economically, and paid nothing beyond subsistence.” It is viewed as modern day slavery.
The two types of trafficking, in this context, are for forced labor and as sex slaves. Sexual slavery is unfortunately prevalent across the United States.
As referenced earlier, drugs are a significant part of the sex trade. The common depiction of a sex slave is one who is a minor and is held in shackles during the day. The pimp keeps the minor in line by the threat of violence.
While this is sometimes the case, it is by no means the most common prevalent case of sex trafficking.
Many sex workers are in their 20s and 30s. They own their own cars and live in their own apartments. In theory, they are free to go and find another avenue of bringing in income. However, many pimps and madams utilize drugs as a way of controlling sex workers.
According to studies, sex workers often grow up in difficult circumstances. They meet pimps who are charming, clean cut, drive nice cars, and say that they can get them steady jobs. The pimps will be nice at first. Part of this show is to supply the sex workers with drugs. Once the sex worker is addicted, he or she will feel compelled to do the pimp’s bidding or else risk not getting a drug fix. This provides the pimp with all the power.
Upon arrest, the prosecutor will look for drugs and use that as evidence of psychological coercion. This can be strong, damning evidence against someone accused of sex trafficking.
Remember, if arrested, you are innocent until proven guilty. The strategy is to undermine the drug angle. The prosecutor will need the drugs to show coercion. If there is no link between the drugs and the sex, there is no coercive element. In turn, the prosecutor will be unable to satisfy the coercion element.
Accused of a crime? Contact the law firm of Christopher Abel, a board-certified criminal defense attorney.
(image courtesy of Pina Messina)