Prostitution and Human Trafficking: When Victims are Treated as Criminals

Throughout the United States, human trafficking is a very real problem, one that Minnesota isn’t immune from. A number of men and women that become prostitutes were groomed to the lifestyle from a very early age. Some may have been taken from the street or walked willingly into the life as children with the premise of drugs or money. They were then beaten, sexually assaulted, and groomed by pimps or other keepers to have sex in exchange for money that went not to those prostituting themselves, but into the hands of their pimps and tormentors.

However, when they are arrested by law enforcement on charges of prostitution, these abused victims get treated as criminals. Furthermore, they have to suffer the punishments of criminal charges often sometimes because they don’t realize that they are actually victims of a much larger federal crime. The sad truth is that a number of arrested prostitutes may fear their pimps enough to not speak up or simply don’t realize they have been victimized for much of their life.

There have been some cases in the past throughout the United States where prostitutes were arrested and later it was discovered that they had been a long time victim of human trafficking. While some may choose to engage in prostitution willingly due to the prospect of making money, often those individuals find themselves in a chaotic whirlwind of violence and fear while still being made to commit sex for money that they don’t even get to keep. These individuals are victims of human trafficking too.

However, the unfortunate reality is that when these individuals are arrested, they may never be recognized as the victims they are and the true criminals, their pimps or handlers, will get away and keep victimizing others while they rot away in prison. This is because the victims live in fear of snitching or don’t otherwise realize they are victims.


Often the only help that someone charged with prostitution can receive is from their defense lawyer. Even if you reveal a moving sob story of long-term abuse to law enforcement, they may still charge you with prostitution and many not even go after the abusers because of a lack of evidence. However, if you can document a period of abuse that constitutes as human trafficking, your defense lawyer can help limit the charges of prostitution and even make sure that the real villains are pursued.

To this effect, if you were recruited into prostitution at a young age, particularly if you were kidnapped or lured in, this human trafficking situation can work to your benefit in a prostitution defense. Your defense attorney can argue that you were forced to commit these acts under threat of violence and too frightened to say no or run away. Often stories of human trafficking are particularly harrowing and can have a huge effect on juries who wouldn’t want the same to ever happen to their children or loved ones. By telling your tale in court, it will strongly work in your favor.

Have you been arrested for prostitution in Minnesota and need help? Whether you willing chose the lifestyle or not, we can help you. You don’t need to have a terrible tale of sexual assault from a young age to be a victim of human trafficking. If you were under the employ of a pimp who used fear and violence to in order to coerce you to have sex for money, you are a victim and you shouldn’t have to face criminal charges for your victimization. If you are facing prostitution charges, contact us today. Let the professional criminal defenders at the Speas Law Firm make sure you don’t have to endure criminal charges for prostitution.