18 U.S. Code § 2422 - Coercion and Enticement
Under federal laws, a wide range of activities would be considered a sex crime, including coercing or enticing someone to engage in illegal acts. Suppose you are convicted of trying to convince another person to commit unlawful sex acts. In that case, you are facing severe federal penalties.
Federal law makes it a crime to attempt to persuade others of unlawful behavior. 18 U.S. Code 2422(a) says that anyone who knowingly induces or coerces someone to travel across state lines or international borders is guilty of a federal offense called “coercion and enticement,” a prostitution-related crime.
Attempting to engage in behavior barred by section 2422(a) is also illegal. Section 2422(b) makes it illegal to use the mail, internet, or other means of interstate commerce to intentionally persuade, coerce, or entice a minor to engage in unlawful sex acts.
To convict you, the federal prosecution must prove all the elements of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, it must be shown that you persuaded someone to travel out of the state or the country or used a means of interstate commerce to persuade them to engage in an illicit act.
Perhaps you engaged in illegal acts, but we can avoid a conviction by establishing entrapment. This means law enforcement unlawfully persuaded you to commit a crime you would have otherwise not committed.
In other words, maybe we can prove you lacked a predisposition to commit the charged crime and that federal law enforcement agents induced you to engage in the illegal acts that form the basis of the charges. Suppose we can show that a law enforcement agent persuaded you to engage in criminal activity. In that case, the burden shifts back to the government to show no entrapment.
What Does Federal Law Say?
As noted, the federal sex crime of “coercion and enticement” is defined by law.
18 U.S.C. 2422(a) says, “Whoever knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual to travel in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, to engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both.”
18 U.S.C. 2422(b) says, “(b)Whoever, using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years, to engage in prostitution or any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than ten years or for life.”
18 U.S.C. 2423(a) says, “A person who knowingly transports an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any commonwealth, territory or possession of the United States, with the intent that the individual engages in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than ten years or for life.”
Coercion and Enticement – Quick Facts
There are some essential quick facts you should know about the federal offenses of 18 U.S. Code 2422 coercion and enticement, such as the following:
- When prostitution-related activity crosses state lines or employs the U.S. mail, it falls under federal jurisdiction and becomes a federal crime.
- The law is severe when it involves coercing or enticing minors.
- This law penalizes knowingly persuading, inducing, enticing, or coercing someone to engage in prostitution or any illegal sexual activity.
- This law also covers making obscene proposals, using the internet for grooming potential victims, child pornography, etc.
- Section 2422(a) targets people who persuade others to cross state lines intending to engage in prostitution or other criminal sexual conduct.
- Section 2422(b) targets people who attempt to persuade minors under 18 into illegal sexual activities.
- The law also targets people using the mail to conduct this activity and extends to United States vessels on international waters, U.S. aircraft, etc.
- Mere preparation to commit this crime is not sufficient. A defendant's actions must demonstrate the crime would occur unless interrupted.
- Some related crimes include forced labor, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, and transporting minors for sexual activity.
What Factors Must Be Proven for a Conviction?
To convict for violating 18 U.S.C. 2422, prosecutors must prove the following factors beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You knowingly persuaded, induced, enticed, or coerced an individual;
- The coercion or enticement must involve using interstate or foreign commerce, including mail, wire, radio, or other facility.
- The induced act must be an illicit sexual activity for which someone can be charged with a state law crime.
What Are the Related Federal Statutes?
18 U.S. Code Chapter 117 Transportation for illegal sexual activity and related crimes has some federal laws that are related to 18 U.S.C. 2422 coercion and enticement, such as the following:
- 18 U.S.C. 2421 - Transportation generally;
- 18 U.S.C. 2421A - Promotion or facilitation of prostitution and reckless disregard of sex trafficking;
- 18 U.S.C. 2423 - Transportation of minors;
- 18 U.S.C. 2424 - Filing factual statement about alien individual;
- 18 U.S.C. 2425 - Using facilities to transmit information about a minor;
- 18 U.S.C. 2426 - Repeat offenders;
- 18 U.S.C. 2427 - Inclusion of offenses relating to child pornography in the definition of sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense;
- 18 U.S.C. 2428 - Forfeitures;
- 18 U.S.C. 2429 - Mandatory restitution.
What Are the Penalties
Suppose you are convicted of violating Title 18 U.S.C. 2422. In that case, the penalties will depend on the case details, such as the following:
- For Section 2422(a) violations, enticing someone into illegal sexual activity, you could face 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250K.
- For Section 2422(b) violations, coercing minors, you will face a minimum of 10 years up to life imprisonment.
What Are the Legal Defenses?
The legal defenses for coercion and enticement will often depend on challenging the elements of the alleged crime. Our federal criminal defense lawyers could use different strategies, as discussed below.
Maybe we can argue you did not knowingly entice the victim into illegal sexual activity. Perhaps we can say that there was no enticement or coercion.
Maybe the alleged victim voluntarily participated in illicit sexual activity without any coercion, which might lead to other less serious charges.
Maybe we can argue that the alleged victim was not a minor or that you did not reasonably know they were under 18. While this could still lead to convictions for other offenses, you could avoid the most severe penalties.
You can contact our law firm for a free case review by phone or via the contact form. The Hedding Law Firm has offices in Los Angeles, California.
- How Can You Avoid Jail Time in a Federal Child Porn Case?
- Seizure of Home Computers in a Child Pornography Investigation
- 18 U.S. Code Chapter 117 Transportation for illegal sexual activity
- Section 2422 - Coercion and enticement
- Coercion and Enticement (18 U.S.C. 2422)
- Is Lolicon Illegal in the United States?