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While awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, millionaire financier Jefferey Epstein is believed to have committed suicide in his jail cell at New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center on August 10.
Epstein, aged 66, had been incarcerated since early July when he was arrested on charges of operating a sex trafficking ring of teenage girls – some as young as 14 years old. He allegedly sexually abused dozens of young girls in New York, Florida, and other locations.
Officials report Epstein committed suicide by hanging, though his death is currently under investigation.
Of course, the sex trafficker’s death does not mean the death of human trafficking nationwide, and in Colorado, recent reports indicate the state’s dealing with sex trafficking and other sex crimes with a heavy hand.
Sex trafficking is a nationwide issue, and Colorado’s figures seem to mirror that. According to an analysis of human trafficking-related charges between 2012 and 2017, more than 350 cases were found statewide.
In an effort to do its part, Colorado is taking its cues from a federal crackdown. Earlier this summer, for instance, federal officials worked with local law enforcement to rescue four minor and eight adult victims of sex trafficking in Denver.
This effort was one of 161 operations part of Operation Independence Day, a nationwide human sex trafficking target operation. The FBI recovered 100-plus victims and arrested nearly 70 offenders.
As Colorado tackles its serious sex trafficking problem, authorities lean on those accused of sex crimes harder than ever before. To learn more about what constitutes sex trafficking offenses in Colorado, read on.
Colorado law defines sex trafficking as knowingly selling, recruiting, harboring, transporting, transferring, isolating, enticing, receiving, or obtaining another individual in order to cause them to perform commercial sexual activity.
These illicit activities are also broadly known as human trafficking for sexual servitude, and under Colorado law, any of the following are considered “commercial sexual activities:”
There must also be something of value given to, promised to be given or actually received in exchange for the acts to qualify.
When the victim is an adult, sex trafficking is considered a Class 3 felony. When the victim is a minor, sex trafficking is a Class 2 felony.
As felony-level offenses, all sex trafficking convictions regardless of whether victims are adults or minors can carry hefty penalties.
When the crime involved adult victims, an offender may face a 16-year prison term plus $750,000 in fines — per count. Sex trafficking a minor can quadruple that term, and increase fine to a $1,000,000.
Further, because federal sex trafficking statutes simply exist, you may find yourself at the center of a federal case in addition to your state charges. Federal-level convictions can garner a life sentence.
All sex-trafficking convictions carry an additional requirement — perpetrators must register as sex offenders in the Colorado Sex Offender Registry (SOR).
Information in the Colorado SOR is actually shared with the National Sex Offender Registry’s public website, and both sites contain personal information on sexually violent predators, adults convicted of felony sex offenses, adults convicted of multiple felony sex offenses, and sex offenders who have failed to register.
This information is available to anyone who has internet access.
As law enforcement continues to work toward extinguishing the illegal sex trade, beware. If you are currently involved in any activities, legal or otherwise, which could be misconstrued in any way as human sex trafficking in Colorado, it is imperative you understand the laws surrounding potential charges.
If you have questions about anything you’ve read or are currently facing state or federal sex trafficking charges, reach out to a seasoned Denver sex trafficking defense attorney for advice.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.