Super Bowl Prostitution Ring Busted: Consequences of Sex Trafficking in California, Pimping & Pandering (Penal Code Sections 266i and 266h, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 117)
Trafficking minors for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity can be prosecuted under state or federal law. You can be charged under federal law if your sex trafficking involved interstate or international travel, among other reasons.
Alternatively, you may be prosecuted according to California’s laws prohibiting activities associated with prostitution. Pimping and pandering are among California’s prostitution laws, which prohibit soliciting prostitution and procuring someone to become a prostitute, respectively. Sex trafficking in California is a serious crime.
A recent story out of New York illustrates the tragedy of coercing someone into prostitution.
Sex Trafficking Ring Busted in New York during Super Bowl
Alleged sex traffickers nabbed recently in New York were accused of pimping out women and children during Super Bowl XLVIII. 1
According to federal authorities, more than a dozen teenagers aged 13 to 17 were rescued, including high school students and children that had been reported missing from their families. Some of the victims were allegedly part of an international human trafficking scheme. 2
The FBI sting was the result of a six-month long investigation involving the arrests of more than 45 pimps and their accomplices. Authorities said pimps forced their victims to come to the New York City area from 13 states to engage in coerced prostitution. The arrest was the latest in a string of other prostitution busts during Super Bowl week. 3
In a separate incident, a Florida woman was arrested at a Manhattan hotel — where she was allegedly pimping out her 15-year-old daughter to Super Bowl fans. Her arrest came as a result of a citywide crackdown of prostitution by the NYPD, netting the arrest of nearly 90 people who were allegedly using the services of prostitutes. 4
What is Pimping? (PC 266h)
Pimping under California Penal Code Section 266h means receiving compensation from the solicitation of a known prostitute. Typically, a pimp receives a cut of the prostitute’s payment for sexual services by supplying the prostitute with a customer (“john”). Pimping can also mean collecting a fee from the customer. However, whether or not you were involved in providing a john is irrelevant in order for you to be convicted of pimping.
You can be found guilty of pimping if a prosecutor can prove beyond a reasonable doubt that you intentionally:
- Solicited prostitution – meaning you provided customers for a prostitute and received payment for the prostitute’s services either from the prostitute, the customer, or both; or
- Collected some or all of a prostitute’s pay even though you had nothing to do with supplying the customer.
What is Pandering? (PC 266i)
Pandering is very similar to pimping. You violate California Penal Code Section 266i if you procure another person for the purpose of prostitution by intentionally encouraging or persuading another person to become or continue being a prostitute.
Pandering can be accomplished through use of intimidation, promises, threats, fraud, or other deceptive or abusive means. Additionally, whether you give or receive money for giving, transporting or providing a prostitute is not what matters. To find you guilty of pandering, a prosecutor must prove that you:
- Encouraged or persuaded someone to engage in prostitution, and
- Made that person available for the purposes of prostitution.
Punishment for Pimping and Pandering in California
If you are arrested for either pimping (PC 266h) or pandering (PC 266i) in California, you face felony charges.
If you are convicted in California of pimping or pandering anyone 16 years of age or older, you face a prison sentence of three, four or six years. You can also be fined up to $10,000.
If your victim was under the age of 16, you face three, six or eight years in prison plus the same fine.
Federal law and Sex Trafficking (18 U.S.C. Chapter 117)
Remember that the Super Bowl sex traffickers were arrested by the FBI. They could face federal felony charges pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Chapter 117, a body of federal law prohibiting the transportation of persons for illegal sexual activity.
If convicted under federal laws, they face as much as 30 years in prison per victim because their alleged offenses involved child prostitution.
A Sex Trafficking in California Conviction will Result in Sex Offender Registration (PC 290)
If your sex trafficking in California conviction involved a minor victim (under 18 years old), in addition to a prison sentence and fine, you will be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of your life.
It was alleged that some of the victims of pimping in the Super Bowl sex trafficking bust were children as young as 13. In addition to state laws, the federal government also requires sex offender registration if you are convicted of certain illegal sexual activity. Trafficking in child prostitution most certainly qualifies for federal sex offender registration which, like California, can last for the remainder of your life.
Call the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Today
If you or someone you care about has been accused of unlawful solicitation due to pimping or pandering, you should immediately contact one of our experienced criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich. We can help you avoid the serious consequences of a pimping or pandering conviction such as imprisonment, fines and lifetime registration as a sex offender.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, the skilled and aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients charged with prostitution-related offenses. We can help you get the best possible result in your case.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free telephone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [New York Daily News: “Feds rescue 16 juveniles in Super Bowl prostitution sting;” http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/feds-rescue-16-juveniles-super-bowl-prostitution-sting-article-1.1601685]↩