children as victims, the TVPA protects children instead of punishing
In addition, the TVPA does not require physical movement of
a person between states for successful prosecution. It is true that
under the TVPA, the prosecution has the burden of proving the crime
was “in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce.”72 However, a
victim does not need to cross state lines to prove the requisite effect
on interstate commerce.73 Thus, purely local activity can satisfy the
interstate commerce element.74
Under the TVPA, “[p]enalties for sex trafficking range up to
life imprisonment with a mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years
[imprisonment] for sex trafficking of minors and 15 years
[imprisonment] for sex trafficking . . . of minors under age 14,”72 as
well as a maximum fine of $250,000.73 These penalties are much
greater than many of those at the state level.74
72 See SMITH ET AL., supra note 12, at 5.
74 Id. This interstate commerce element of the TVPA will be discussed at a later
point in this Article by outlining U.S v. Evans, the first intrastate domestic minor
sex trafficking case successfully prosecuted under the federal TVPA. United States
v. Evans, 476 F.3d 1176 (11th Cir. 2007).
72 See TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS REPORT, supra note 7, at 372; 18 U.S.C.A. §
1591(b)(1)-(2) (West 2013).
73 18 U.S.C.A. § 3571(b)(3) (West 2013).
74 The following state statutes contain examples of penalties imposed on traffickers
that are substantially below those provided for under the TVPA: (1) In Connecticut,
commercial sexual exploitation of a minor is a Class C felony with a possible
prison sentence of only one to ten years and a maximum fine of $10,000. H.B.
5504, 2012 Leg., Reg. Sess. (Conn. 2012); CONN. GEN. STAT. ANN. §§ 53a-35a(7),
53a-41(3) (West 2013); (2) In California, human trafficking of a victim who is
under eighteen years old is punishable by a prison sentence of four, six, or eight
years and a possible fine of up to $10,000. If the trafficking of a victim under
eighteen involves a “commercial sex act,” the fine may be increased to a maximum
of $100,000. CAL. PENAL CODE § 236.1(c), (g)(1) (West 2013); (3) Lastly, in
Wyoming, until July 2013, traffickers would only be prosecuted under the statute
criminalizing promotion of prostitution. Under this statute, if the prostitute was
under eighteen years old, the crime was classified as a felony with a maximum
prison sentence of five years and maximum fine of up to $5,000. WYO. STAT. ANN.
§ 6-4-103(a)( i), (b) (West 2012), amended by H.B. 133, 62d Leg., Gen. Sess.