Exploitation is defined as the use of another person for your own advantage. In the US, many of child sexual exploitation cases involve minors who have no home and find themselves more or less captives of adults who either use the children for sex themselves, or for pornographic material to make money. Runaways, undocumented immigrants, and children from dysfunctional, and often desperately poor, families are common victims.
Texas, unlike some other states, has no specific law that prohibits sexual exploitation. Instead, several different laws target sex-related activity that may be considered exploitative.
Texas prohibits several different types of sexual abuse, such as sexual conduct, or failure to use reasonable efforts to prevent sexual conduct, that is harmful to the child’s welfare. The law also equates child sex abuse to various crimes that can be considered the exploitation of children by encouraging or compelling them to engage in sexual conduct or prostitution, or in activity that amounts to sex trafficking.
Promotion is defined very broadly to include, among other things, advertising, exhibiting, transferring, mailing, selling, and giving. The intention to promote is presumed whenever you have 6 or more images that are identical.
Texas law prohibits the use of a child to engage in conduct or a performance that is sexual, and the direction, production or promotion of such a performance. It defines “performance” to include all visual representations capable of being exhibited to an audience.
It’s a crime to traffic any child under 18 by any means when the trafficking causes the victim to engage in or become the victim of sexual crimes, such as sexual abuse, prostitution, and indecency with a child. Evidence and proof necessarily has to be presented for both the trafficking charge and the “underlying” sex crime.
Under Texas law, “improper” relationships between students and educators are a crime. Sexual conduct that occurs between an educator and a student may also amount to a violation of several other laws that protect children from sexual activity, such as child sexual abuse and indecency with a child.
The crime of online solicitation of a minor involves electronic (internet, email, texting, etc) by a person over 17 for sexual purposes. A person is considered a minor if they are under 17, or if the adult believes them to be under 17 (which accommodates sting operations carried out by law enforcement).
Prohibited actions include:
Texas law prohibits the facilitation of prostitution, compelling prostitution, and making money from a prostitute’s activities (pimping). Compelling prostitution, which is a common form of sexual exploitation, is the most severely punished of these crimes.
Apart from the Texas laws that punish exploitation, there are a variety of federal laws that, under the appropriate circumstances, can be applied to exploitative acts in the state or even to exploitative acts by state residents that occurred in foreign countries. The acts criminalized by federal laws are largely the same ones criminalized by the state of Texas. Federal laws on child pornography are particularly extensive and severe.
Federal law criminalizes creating, possessing and distributing child pornography, as well as conspiring with pornographers and failure of internet providers to notify the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children once they know about a potential violation of the laws.
The Department of Justice has initiated “Project Safe Childhood” that coordinates federal, state and local resources improve the efforts to combat people who exploit children by means of the Internet. Texas has created a task force on Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) recognized by the United States Department of Justice.
Every sexual exploitation charge in Texas is extremely serious and carries significant penalties that can completely change the rest of your life. Whatever the specific charge, Houston sex crimes attorney Mary E. Conn can help you through the proceeding and see to it that you get the best result possible. Mary has more than 30 years of experience in defending the accused and has earned the highest possible ratings from Martindale-Hubbell and AVVO for her ethics, professionalism, and the results she consistently obtains for her clients.
Call the attorneys at Mary E. Conn Law today for your free consultation and get your defense started now.