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The Army Lawyer


Prosecuting Human Trafficking



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(Credit: istockphoto.com/Evgeny Gromov)

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In August 2013, Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Raymond Valas was an Army War College Fellow attending Syracuse University.1 Lieutenant Colonel Valas was a member of the New Hampshire National Guard at the time, and he had recently served as the commander of an exercise in El Salvador from April to June 2013.2 Lieutenant Colonel Valas, along with members of his unit, traveled to a San Antonio hotel to review the exercise in August 2013.3 While in San Antonio, LTC Valas visited the website www.Backpage.com.4 Those within the commercial sex industry typically used Backpage to arrange commercial sex encounters, which ultimately drove the U.S. Department of Justice to seize and shut down the website in April 2018.5

Using Backpage, LTC Valas scheduled a prostitution date to occur at his hotel room while he was in San Antonio.6 T.J., a fifteen-year-old runaway, showed up at his room.7 T.J. met her trafficker, Marcus Wright, a few days earlier at a bus stop.8 Since neither LTC Valas nor T.J. had a condom, LTC Valas “instructed T.J. to perform sexual acts other than intercourse with him.”9 Lieutenant Colonel Valas gave T.J. $150, which T.J. immediately provided to Wright after she left the hotel room as Wright would beat her if she did not give him the prostitution proceeds.10

Lieutenant Colonel Valas kept in contact with T.J. over the course of the next day, and he scheduled another prostitution date with her for early the following day.11 This time, LTC Valas had a condom, and he had sexual intercourse with T.J.12 After having sex with LTC Valas, T.J. ran away from Wright because of the physical abuse he perpetrated against her.13 Law enforcement subsequently arrested Wright, two of his associates who helped recruit and train his victims, and LTC Valas.14 The government charged all four with sex trafficking of a minor in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591(a) and (b)(2).15 At trial, LTC Valas asserted that he did not have sex with T.J.16 Instead, he claimed that he merely interviewed her as part of a research project for his Army War College thesis.17 The jury found LTC Valas guilty, and the district court sentenced LTC Valas to fifteen years of imprisonment.18

The International Labour Organization estimates that nearly 40 million human trafficking victims exist worldwide.19 While there is no estimate for the number of human trafficking victims that exist in the United States, many suspect that it reaches into the hundreds and thousands.20 Human trafficking occurs within the United States in both legal and illegal industries, including “commercial sex, hospitality, traveling sales crews, agriculture, janitorial services, construction, restaurants, care for persons with disabilities, salon services, massage parlors, fairs and carnivals, peddling and begging, drug smuggling and distribution, and child care and domestic work.”21

Given its prevalence both worldwide and in the United States, military leaders and their legal advisors need to be aware of human trafficking and the tools available to prosecute it. Sadly, LTC Valas’ case is not an outlier, as recent civilian and military prosecutions have involved other Soldiers along with Airmen and Sailors.22 One recent federal prosecution even involved a Soldier as an identified victim of human trafficking.23

This article will review some of the common myths associated with human trafficking and provide background behind Congress’ enactment of the Trafficking Victims’ Protection Act (TVPA) in 2000. This article will then set forth the legal elements necessary to establish violations of forced labor and sex trafficking in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1589 and 1591. These are the primary two statutes used to prosecute human traffickers in federal court. This article will next discuss the extraterritorial provisions associated with the federal human trafficking statutes, which can be used to prosecute traffickers who commit their crimes outside of the United States. Finally, this article will include best practices to use in prosecuting human trafficking cases and additional resources that military criminal law practitioners and law enforcement can use in assessing any potential trafficking situation.

The Road to Enactment of the Trafficking Victims’ Protection Act

In 1983, authorities found two men with intellectual disabilities working on a dairy farm in Chelsea, Michigan.24 The men were “in poor health, in squalid conditions, and in relative isolation from the rest of society.”25 One of the men had previously spent several years at a state mental institution.26 The men worked every day, often up to seventeen hours a day, and eventually were not paid for their work.27 Ike Kozminski, along with his wife Margarethe and their son John, operated the farm. They physically and verbally abused the men if they failed to work and threatened to return the one to his state mental hospital if he did not work.28 The Kozminskis also failed to provide the men with adequate nutrition, housing, clothing, or medical care, and discouraged them from talking to others, including their relatives.29

The government charged the Kozminskis with violating 18 U.S.C. § 1584, which prohibited involuntary servitude, and argued that “the Kozminskis had used various coercive measures—including denial of pay, subjection to substandard living conditions, and isolation from others—to cause the victims to believe they had no alternative but to work on the farm.”30 After reviewing the language and statutory history of § 1584, the Supreme Court held that the statute “necessarily means a condition of servitude in which the victim is forced to work for the defendant by the use or threat of physical restraint or physical injury, or by the use or threat of coercion through law or the legal process.”31 The Court then reversed the convictions because the government had presented evidence at trial that the Kozminskis used additional nonviolent means of coercion, such as compulsion through psychological coercion.32 This would have been an invalid basis for the jury’s verdict, and forced the Court to clarify the law on involuntary servitude.

Ultimately, Congress passed the TVPA in 2000 to overrule Kozminski and specifically criminalize actions that compel another’s service through nonviolent coercion.33 Congress recognized that many traffickers target vulnerable victims susceptible to nonviolent coercion. Specifically, Congress found that traffickers target those who are poor, unemployed, lack education, and lack economic opportunities.34 Congress also found that traffickers excel at isolating their victims from family, friends, religious institutions, or other sources of protection and support compounding their vulnerability.35 Finally, Congress recognized the value of implementing a victim-centered approach to combating trafficking in persons, which includes “protecting rather than punishing the victims of such offenses.”36 Congress has subsequently amended the TVPA six times since first passing it in 2000.37

Despite the TVPA’s nineteen-year history and efforts to raise the awareness of human trafficking, several myths about it abound. First, many people assume that trafficking victims self-identify as victims and want to be rescued as soon as possible. The unfortunate reality is that many victims are afraid to approach law enforcement or strangers for help because they may be in the country unlawfully or have engaged in illegal acts, such as prostitution, and fear prosecution.38

Second, the term “trafficking” conjures up the idea that movement, borders, and foreign nationals must be involved.39 However, no federal human trafficking statute requires the government to show that someone moved across a state or federal border. For example, Ronald Evans Sr. received thirty years in federal prison after he recruited homeless individuals from Jacksonville, Florida, and forced them to work his potato and cabbage fields by threats of violence, actual violence, and imposing a series of never-ending debts.40 None of the victims ever left St. Johns County in Florida, and all victims were U.S. citizens, yet the government still secured a conviction because none of the federal statutes are dependent upon movement across state lines or status as a foreign national.

Third, many people assume that human trafficking involves “chains, bars, and beatings.”41 This mindset could inhibit a layperson or untrained law enforcement officer from identifying a potential case.42 The passage of the TVPA reflected Congress’ view that chains, bars, and beatings are not required for a successful prosecution, and that traffickers can be convicted for employing nonviolent coercion upon their victims to compel their service.

The Federal Human Trafficking Statutes

While Chapter 77 of the United States Code contains several statutes that can be used to prosecute human trafficking, the primary ones used are 18 U.S.C. § 1589, which prohibits forced labor, and 18 U.S.C. § 1591, which prohibits sex trafficking of a minor or by force, fraud, or coercion.

Sex Trafficking

The government must satisfy the following three elements to convict someone of sex trafficking: (1) the defendant knowingly recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, obtained, advertised, maintained, patronized, or solicited by any means a person, or benefitted financially from participating in a venture that did so; (2) the defendant did so knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact, except for advertising, that means of force, threats of force, fraud, coercion, or any combination of such means would be used to cause the person to engage in a commercial sex act, or that the person had not attained the age of eighteen and would be caused to engage in a commercial sex act; and (3) that the defendant’s acts were in or affected interstate or foreign commerce.43

First, the ten verbs listed in § 1591 are not further defined, which means that courts are to give them their ordinary, everyday meaning.44 The ten verbs contained in the first element are relatively broad and encompass conduct typically associated with trafficking, such as recruiting, housing, driving, and advertising victims. However, the first element also attaches criminal liability to consumers or buyers who patronize and solicit trafficking victims, such as LTC Valas.45

Moreover, those who are aware that a trafficker has engaged in the prohibited ten verbs listed above and benefit financially are also subject to criminal liability. For example, the government convicted a New Orleans motel owner under this theory after the evidence showed that he knew the traffickers compelled the victims to prostitute from his motel.46 In that case, the owner charged the traffickers inflated room prices to conduct prostitution-related activities from his hotel, and he knew that the traffickers used violence against their victims to compel them to engage in commercial sex acts.47

Second, the government can either show that the defendant used a minor under the age of eighteen, or used force, fraud, or coercion to cause another to engage in commercial sex acts. As far as sex trafficking of a minor, the government can convict a defendant under any of the three following theories: (1) the defendant knew the victim was under eighteen; (2) the defendant recklessly disregarded the fact that the victim was under eighteen; or (3) the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the victim.48

Reckless disregard essentially means that the defendant consciously and carelessly ignored facts and circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to question whether the victim was actually eighteen years old.49 For example, the fact that a person was still attending high school would cause a reasonable person to inquire whether they were under eighteen.

If the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to see the victim, strict liability essentially follows per 18 U.S.C. § 1591(c).50 Thus, if the defendant saw the victim and developed an intimate relationship with him or her, this would satisfy the “reasonable opportunity to observe” requirement.51 Consent is also not a defense to sex trafficking of a minor, as minors cannot legally consent to sexual contact under the law.52

While force and fraud are undefined under § 1591 (and thus given their ordinary, everyday meanings), coercion is specifically defined in § 1591(e)(2). Congress defined coercion as “(A) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; (B) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or (C) the abuse or threatened abuse of law or the legal process.”53 Congress further defined “serious harm” as “any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue performing commercial sexual activity in order to avoid incurring that harm.”54 Finally, Congress defined “abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process” as “the use or threatened use of a law or legal process, whether administrative, civil, or criminal, in any manner or for any purpose for which the law was not designed, in order to exert pressure on another person to cause that person to take some action or refrain from taking some action.”55

For example, imagine that a trafficker recruited a nineteen-year-old specialist to prostitute off Backpage and provide half of the proceeds to him. The specialist agreed to do so at first; however, she changed her mind after one week and informed her trafficker that she no longer wished to engage in commercial sex activity. In response, the trafficker threatened the specialist that he would inform her commander of her prostitution activities unless she agreed to continue prostituting. The specialist then relented and did so because she did not want her commander to find out. In this hypothetical situation, the trafficker’s threat could constitute a threat of serious harm since disclosure to the commander could result in various psychological, financial, and reputational harm to the specialist. In particular, the specialist may fear that disclosure of her secret could subject her to discipline under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), separation from the military, and/or embarrassment and humiliation within her unit. This is precisely the type of nonviolent coercion that Congress sought to eradicate by passing the TVPA.

Finally, the government must show that the defendant’s acts were in or affected interstate or foreign commerce. This is typically not a difficult element for the government to satisfy, as courts have expansively interpreted this element. For example, the use of any of the following have been held sufficient to satisfy the interstate commerce requirement: hotels that serve out-of-state customers, condoms manufactured out-of-state, the internet, cellular telephones, illegal drugs, and products that moved in interstate commerce, such as nail or hair extensions.56

Forced Labor

The government must satisfy the following three elements to convict someone of forced labor: (1) the defendant acted knowingly; (2) the defendant obtained the labor or services of another; and (3) the defendant did so 

[A] by means of force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of physical restraint to that person or another person; [B] by means of serious harm or threats of serious harm to that person or another person; [C] by means of the abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process; or [D] by means of any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause the person to believe that, if that person did not perform such labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint.57

“Serious harm” and “abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process” have the same definition for forced labor as sex trafficking.58

First, while direct evidence of the defendant’s mens rea rarely exists, circumstantial evidence can be gathered to prove that the defendant acted knowingly. Such evidence could include physical assaults such as slapping, punching, choking, burning, or raping the victim. It could also include nonviolent means such as debt manipulation, verbal abuse, demeaning conduct, onerous living or working conditions, ominous comments, isolation, and withholding pay. Also, individuals who benefit financially by receiving anything of value from participating in a venture knowing that one’s labor or services are compelled can also be liable for forced labor much like sex trafficking.59

Second, courts broadly interpret the term “labor or services” since the statute does not define it. For example, one court defined “labor” as “the expenditure of physical or mental effort.”60 The same court defined “services” as “conduct or performance that assists or benefits someone or something.”61 Thus, the broad definitions of labor and services included mentally disabled farm workers who were forced to perform videotaped sex acts62 and a woman whose domestic partner required her to perform recorded acts of bondage, domination, and sadism.63

Finally, “serious harm” can again include “psychological, financial, or reputational” harm. Common nonviolent serious harm in the context of forced labor typically includes financial harm, such as threats not to pay the victim or his or her family members, or placing the victim in never-ending debt over food, housing, or travel.64 Abuse of law or legal process is also frequently used in cases involving foreign nationals who may be in the country unlawfully, as the trafficker typically threatens victims that they will be turned over to immigration officials if they do not work as they are told.65

Comparing Sex Trafficking to Forced Labor

While forced labor and sex trafficking share many similarities, there are a few differences between them that are worth highlighting. First, fraud alone can serve as a prohibited means in a sex trafficking prosecution; however, fraud alone cannot legally serve as a prohibited means to support a forced labor conviction.66 For example, if a sex trafficker lies to a victim and falsely promises that the victim will keep half of the proceeds earned from prostitution, the trafficker can be convicted of sex trafficking by fraud.67 However, false promises as to the amount of money a worker may earn in a restaurant, for example, cannot serve as a basis for a forced labor conviction alone. Nonetheless, such false promises are typically made as part of a broader coercive scheme, pattern, or plan intended to compel the worker’s labor or services. In addition, false promises alone could serve as the basis for other, related federal law violations, such as wire fraud, fraud in foreign labor contracting, or visa fraud.68

Second, the sex trafficking statute treats one’s status as a minor differently than the forced labor statute. For example, the government does not need to prove that a trafficker used force, fraud, or coercion to compel a minor to engage in commercial sex acts. The fact that a minor engaged in commercial sex acts alone is sufficient for the government to prove that sex trafficking occurred. If the government does prove that a trafficker compelled a minor to engage in prostitution via force, fraud, or coercion, the mandatory minimum sentence that must be imposed rises from ten years to fifteen years.69 In contrast, the government must show that a trafficker coerced the labor or services of minor labor trafficking victims, and there are no mandatory minimum sentences for labor traffickers.70

Third, the sex trafficking statute requires the government to show that a trafficker’s acts were in or affected interstate or foreign commerce.71 There is no such requirement in order to prove a forced labor violation.72 This is because Congress implemented the statute prohibiting forced labor pursuant to their ability to eliminate the vestiges and badges of slavery under the Thirteenth Amendment.73

Extraterritorial Jurisdiction

Generally speaking, federal criminal statutes do not apply outside of the territorial limits of the United States unless Congress has specifically authorized otherwise.74 Human trafficking is one area where Congress has specifically authorized extraterritorial jurisdiction as long as the offender is (1) a U.S. citizen; (2) a lawful permanent resident; or (3) present in the United States, regardless of nationality.75 Thus, the government can prosecute those who fall into these three categories, even if the trafficking conduct occurred entirely overseas.76

For example, assume a civilian contractor, who is a U.S. citizen, lives in South Korea and works on Yongsan Garrison. Further, assume that the contractor is friends with a Thai national, who tricks Thai women into entering South Korea on the promise of legitimate, lawful employment. Upon arrival, the contractor is aware that the Thai trafficker takes the victims’ passports and imposes a significant debt upon them for helping them travel to South Korea. The trafficker then tells the victims that they must prostitute in order to obtain their passports back and pay off their debt. The contractor is aware of this and aware that the trafficker threatened to harm the victims’ families back in Thailand if they did not repay their debt via commercial sex. Finally, assume that the contractor assisted the trafficker by renting an apartment in Seoul to house the victims. Under these circumstances, the contractor may be criminally liable for benefitting financially from participating in a venture knowing that force, fraud, or coercion would be used to cause the victims to engage in commercial sex acts. The government can prosecute the contractor because he is a U.S. citizen, regardless of the fact that all of the criminal conduct at issue occurred entirely outside of the United States.77

If a Soldier was assisting the trafficker in the above scenario instead of a civilian contractor, they could be prosecuted under Article 134, UCMJ.78 One of the most challenging aspects of extraterritorial investigations is the lack of subpoena power over victims and witnesses who are foreign nationals.79 A potential solution to this problem is deposing cooperative victims and witnesses.80 In the above hypothetical example, a deposition could capture a victim’s account prior to leaving South Korea to return to Thailand. The best practice would be for a deposition to occur after preferral of charges and exchange of discovery with the accused’s defense counsel, as the defense attorney would have the same incentive and information to cross-examine the witness as they would at trial. Further, the deposition could then be admitted into evidence at trial to be used to convict the trafficker.81

In addition, the government may prosecute individuals who commit human trafficking outside of the United States while employed by or accompanying the Armed Forces or federal government.82 Congress defined “employed by the Armed Forces” to cover civilian employees, contractors, or subcontractors of the Department of Defense (DoD), or similar federal agencies, who are present outside of the United States in connection with their employment and who are not nationals or ordinarily resident in the host nation.83 Accompanying the Armed Forces includes dependents residing with members of the Armed Forces, civilian employees, or contractors (including subcontractors) who are not nationals or ordinarily resident in the host nation.84 Similar definitions exist for those employed by or accompanying the federal government.85

For example, assume a Kuwaiti national is a DoD subcontractor who is responsible for providing janitorial services on a U.S. facility in Qatar. To staff his cleaning service, further assume that the Kuwaiti subcontractor recruits janitors from Nepal and the Philippines by false promises. The Kuwaiti subcontractor falsely promised his potential workers that they would receive $1,000 a month, and that transportation would be provided to and from their country of origin every six months so they could go back and visit their families. However, upon arrival in Qatar, assume that the Kuwaiti subcontractor informed the workers that they would actually only receive $100 a month for their services, and that they owed him for all transportation and any visa processing expenses. Finally, assume that the subcontractor threatened the workers with death and dishonor if they did not repay him by working for his janitorial services company. Under these facts, the United States could prosecute the Kuwaiti subcontractor for forced labor assuming he was not ordinarily residing within Qatar, despite the fact that all criminal conduct occurred outside of the United States.


Human trafficking occurs across the globe because it is such a lucrative crime.86 It is also a devastating crime, and requires tremendous resources and patience to properly investigate. Often, multiple interviews are required to gain the trust and confidence of potential victims who may still be terrified of the treatment they received at the hands of their trafficker or of the lies and threats their traffickers made. After gaining the victims’ trust, more work is required to corroborate the victims’ account and bring their traffickers to justice. Nonetheless, successful convictions can lead to a sentence of life imprisonment, and under federal law, an individual convicted of sex trafficking of a minor has a mandatory minimum sentence of at least ten years’ confinement while an individual convicted of sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion has a mandatory minimum sentence of at least fifteen years of confinement.87 For additional information related to combating human trafficking, see the November 2017 edition of the Department of Justice’s United States Attorneys’ Bulletin.88 TAL


Major Grady formerly served as an Associate Adjunct Professor with the Administrative and Civil Law Department at TJAGLCS and is also a Special Litigation Counsel within the Department of Justice’s Human Trafficking Prosecution Unit.


1. Guillermo Contreras, Lawyer: Lt. Col. Accused in Sex Trafficking Case was Working on War College Thesis, mySA (Oct. 16, 2014, 8:41 PM), https://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local/article/Lawyer-Lt-Col-accused-in-sex-trafficking-case-5827928.php.

2. United States v. Valas, 822 F.3d 228, 235 (5th Cir. 2016).

3. Id.

4. Id.

5. Press Release, The United States Department of Justice, Justice Department Leads Effort to Seize Backpage.Com, the Internet’s Leading Forum for Prostitution Ads, and Obtains 93-Count Federal Indictment (Apr. 9, 2018), https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-leads-effort-seize-backpagecom-internet-s-leading-forum-prostitution-ads.

6. Valas, 822 F.3d at 234.

7. Id.

8. Id.

9. Id. at 235.

10. Id.

11. Id.

12. Id.

13. Id.

14. Id. at 234-35.

15. Id. at 234.

16. Id. at 240-41.

17. Id. at 240-42.

18. Id. at 234.

19. The Facts, Polaris, https://polarisproject.org/human-trafficking/facts (last visited Feb. 3, 2019) [hereinafter Polaris Facts].

20. Id.

21. Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 448 (June 2018), https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/282798.pdf.

22. United States v. Culp, No. 201400258, 2015 WL 721081, at *1 (N-M. Ct. Crim. App. Feb. 19, 2015) (upholding appellant’s plea to committing one specification of attempted sex trafficking of a minor); United States v. Washington, Case No. 1:17-CR-00035-GMS (D. Del. Mar. 6, 2018) (imposing ten years confinement upon airmen who pleaded guilty to sex trafficking of a minor); Gina Harkins, NCIS Nabs 5 Sailors on Charges of Sex Crimes, Human Trafficking in Bahrain, Military.com (Aug. 31, 2018), https://www.military.com/daily-news/2018/08/31/ncis-nabs-5-sailors-charges-sex-crimes-human-trafficking-bahrain.html; Alex Horton, He Returned from Afghanistan to Applause. Then He Resumed a Dark and Violent Trade, Wash. Post (Oct. 15, 2018), https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2018/10/15/he-returned-afghanistan-applause-then-he-resumed-his-violent-prostitution-ring/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.083f7eb30e37.

23. United States v. Thomas, Case No. 1:16-CR-00035 (M.D. N.C. Sept. 21, 2016); Fayetteville Observer, Investigators: Fayetteville Man Forced Fort Bragg Soldier into Prostitution, Times-News (Feb. 5, 2016, 9:23 AM), https://www.thetimesnews.com/news/20160205/investigators-fayetteville-man-forced-fort-bragg-soldier-into-prostitution; Monica Vendituoli, Warrant: Man Accused of Sex Trafficking Soldier Threatened to Tell Her Commander, Stars & Stripes: Guam (June 8, 2016), https://guam.stripes.com/community-news/warrant-man-accused-sex-trafficking-soldier-threatened-tell-her-commander.

24. United States v. Kozminski, 487 U.S. 931, 934 (1988).

25. Id.

26. Id. at 935.

27. Id.

28. Id.

29. Id.

30. Id. at 934-35.

31. Id. at 952.

32. Id. at 953.

33. See 22 U.S.C. § 7101(b)(13) (2000).

34. See 22 U.S.C. § 7101(b)(4) (2000).

35. See 22 U.S.C. § 7101(b)(5) (2000).

36. See 22 U.S.C. § 7101(b)(24) (2000).

37. See, e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 1591 (Oct. 28, 2000); 18 U.S.C. § 1591 (Dec. 19, 2003); 18 U.S.C. § 1591 (Jul. 27, 2006); 18 U.S.C. § 1591 (Dec. 23, 2008); 18 U.S.C. § 1591 (May 29, 2015); 18 U.S.C. § 1591 (Apr. 11, 2018).

38. Maureen Q. McGough, Ending Modern-Day Slavery: Using Research to Inform U.S. Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts, Nat’l Inst. Just., Feb. 2013, at 26, https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/240701.pdf.

39. John Cotton Richmond, Human Trafficking: Understanding the Law and Deconstructing Myths, 60 St. Louis U. L.J. 1, 21 (2015).

40. Associated Press, Labor Camp Owner Sentenced, Ocala.com (Jan. 27, 2007, 12:01 AM), https://www.ocala.com/news/20070127/labor-camp-owner-sentenced.

41. Richmond, supra note 39, at 22.

42. Id. at 24.

43. Eleventh Circuit Pattern Jury Instructions (Criminal Cases), Instr. 63 (2010 Ed.) (Modified).

44. Smith v. United States, 508 U.S. 223, 228 (1993).

45. See also United States v. Cook, 782 F.3d 983 (8th Cir. 2015) (successful prosecution of a customer seeking to have nonconsensual commercial sex with a tortured victim); United States v. Jungers, 702 F.3d 1066, 1069 (8th Cir. 2013) (successful prosecution of a customer seeking commercial sex with a minor).

46. Richmond, supra note 39, at 9.

47. Id.

48. United States v. Robinson, 702 F. 3d 22, 32 (2d Cir. 2012).

49. See United States v. Phea, 755 F. 3d 255, 261 (5th Cir. 2014).

50. In essence, § 1591(c) “creates strict liability where the defendant had a reasonable opportunity to observe the victim.” Robinson, 702 F. 3d at 32.

51. Id. at 35-36.

52. United States v. Elbert, 561 F.3d 771, 776 (8th Cir. 2009).

53. 18 U.S.C. § 1591(e)(2).

54. 18 U.S.C. § 1591(e)(5).

55. 18 U.S.C. § 1591(e)(1).

56. See United States v. Phea, ٧٥٥ F.٣d ٢٥٥, ٢٦٣ (٥th Cir.٢٠١٤) (holding interstate commerce element satisfied by evidence of the use of a mobile phone, advertisement for prostitution services on the internet, and a customer from out of state); United States v. Todd, ٦٢٧ F.٣d ٣٢٩, ٣٣١, ٣٣٣ (٩th Cir.٢٠١٠) (holding interstate commerce element satisfied by evidence of advertisements in Craigslist and Seattle Weekly); United States v. Evans, ٤٧٦ F.٣d ١١٧٦, ١١٧٩–٨٠ (١١th Cir.٢٠٠٧) (“Evans’s use of hotels that served interstate travelers and distribution of condoms that traveled in interstate commerce are further evidence that Evans’s conduct substantially affected interstate commerce.”); United States v. Flint, ٣٩٤ Fed. Appx. ٢٧٣, ٢٧٧ (٦th Cir. ٢٠١٠) (holding interstate commerce element satisfied by evidence that “Flint purchased drugs, clothing, hair extensions, and fake nails, arguably to further the prostitution activity; and Flint rented a room in a hotel that serves out-of-state travelers”).

57. United States v. Dann, 652 F.3d 1160, 1167 (9th Cir. 2011); 18 U.S.C. § 1589.

58. Cf. 18 U.S.C. § 1589(c)(1) & (2) with 18 U.S.C. § 1591(e)(1) & (5).

59. See 18 U.S.C. § 1589(b).

60. United States v. Kaufman, 546 F.3d 1242, 1260 (10th Cir. 2008).

61. Id.

62. Id. at 1246, 1248-50, 1262-63.

63. United States v. Marcus, 487 F. Supp. 2d 289, 292-304 (E.D.N.Y. 2007).

64. Dann, 652 F.3d at 1170, 1171 (sufficient evidence of serious harm where victim was “an immigrant without access to a bank account and not a dollar to her name, [and] a juror could conclude that the failure to pay her—and thus the lack of money to leave or live—was sufficiently serious to compel [the victim] to continue working”); United States v. Calimlim, 538 F.3d 706, 711 (7th Cir. 2008) (threat to stop paying victim’s family members supported finding of serious harm); United States v. Nnaji, 447 Fed. Appx. 558, 559 (5th Cir. 2011) (“Serious harm can include psychological coercion”); United States v. Paulin, 329 Fed. Appx. 232, 234 (11th Cir. 2009) (“Serious harm can include psychological coercion”).

65. See, e.g., Dann, 652 F.3d at 1172.

66. Cf. 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a) with 18 U.S.C. § 1589(a).

67. See, e.g., United States v. Maynes, 880 F.3d 110, 114 (4th Cir. 2018) (finding the defendant’s sex trafficking convictions legally sufficient, in part, because he “convinced women to work for him through a variety of material misrepresentations, such as false promises to provide the women with homes and incomes”).

68. See 18 U.S.C. § 1343; 18 U.S.C. § 1351; 18 U.S.C. § 1546.

69. See 18 U.S.C. § 1591(b).

70. See 18 U.S.C. § 1589.

71. See 18 U.S.C. § 1591(a).

72. See 18 U.S.C. § 1589(a).

73. Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 439-41 (1968); 22 U.S.C § 7101 (2000); Alexander Tsesis, The Thirteenth Amendment and American Freedom: A Legal History 3 (2004) (“The Court’s holding in Jones enables Congress to pass statutes against present-day human rights violations, such as the trafficking of foreign workers as sex slaves and the exploitation of migrant agricultural workers as peons.”).

74. See WesternGeco LLC v. ION Geophysical Corp., 138 S.Ct. 2129, 2136 (2018); Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 569 U.S. 108, 115-16 (2013).

75. See 18 U.S.C. § 1596.

76. See, e.g., United States v. Baston, 818 F.3d 651, 656-657, 667-70 (11th Cir. 2016) (upholding the sex trafficking convictions of a Jamaican national arrested in the United States for trafficking women around the world, from Florida to Australia to the United Arab Emirates, and finding 18 U.S.C. § 1596 to be a valid under the Foreign Commerce Clause).

77. Venue would be proper in any of the following three places: (1) the district in which the contractor is arrested or first brought; (2) the district containing the last known address of the contractor; or (3) the District of Columbia. 18 U.S.C. § 3238.

78. See 10 U.S.C. § 934.

79. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States, R.C.M. 703(g)(3)(A) Discussion (2019) [hereinafter MCM] (“A witness must be subject to United States jurisdiction to be subject to a subpoena. Foreign nationals in a foreign country are not subject to subpoena. Their presence may be obtained through cooperation of the host nation.”).

80. MCM, supra note 79, R.C.M. 702(a)(1)-(2).

81. MCM, supra note 79, R.C.M. 702(a) Discussion (“Part o[r] all o[f] a deposition . . . may be used on the merits . . . as substantive evidence if the witness is unavailable under Mil. R. Evid. 804(a)” In turn, Mil. R. Evid. 804(a) provides that a declarant is unavailable when the witness “has previously been deposed about the subject matter and is absent due to military necessity, age, imprisonment, non-amenability to process, or other reasonable cause.”). See also United States v. Matus-Zayas, 655 F.3d 1092 (9th Cir. 2011); United States v. McGowan, 590 F.3d 446 (7th Cir. 2009); United States v. Cannon, 539 F.3d 601 (7th Cir. 2008); United States v. Abu Ali, 528 F.3d 210 (4th Cir. 2008); United States v. Siddiqui, 235 F.3d 1318 (11th Cir. 2000).

82. See 18 U.S.C. §§ 3261, 3271.

83. 18 U.S.C. § 3267(1).

84. 18 U.S.C. § 3267(2).

85. 18 U.S.C. § 3272.

86. Polaris Facts, supra note 19 (“The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human trafficking is a $150 billion industry worldwide.”).

87. 18 U.S.C. § 1591(b)(1) & (2).

88. United States Department of Justice, Attorneys’ Bulletin (Nov. 2017), https://www.justice.gov/usao/page/file/1008856/download.