Legal Information: Tennessee

Statutes: Tennessee

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Updated: 
November 27, 2023

39-13-309. Trafficking a person for a commercial sex act

(a) A person commits the offense of trafficking a person for a commercial sex act who:

(1) Knowingly subjects, attempts to subject, benefits from, or attempts to benefit from another person’s provision of a commercial sex act;

(2) Recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, purchases, or obtains by any other means, another person for the purpose of providing a commercial sex act; or

(3) Commits the acts in this subsection (a) when the intended victim of the offense is a law enforcement officer or a law enforcement officer eighteen (18) years of age or older posing as a minor.

(b) For purposes of subdivision (a)(2), such means may include, but are not limited to:

(1) Causing or threatening to cause physical harm to the person;

(2) Physically restraining or threatening to physically restrain the person;

(3) Abusing or threatening to abuse the law or legal process;

(4) Knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating or possessing any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document, of the person;

(5) Using blackmail or using or threatening to cause financial harm for the purpose of exercising financial control over the person; or

(6) Facilitating or controlling a person’s access to a controlled substance.

(c)(1) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class B felony, except as provided in subdivision (c)(2).

(2) A violation of subsection (a) is a Class A felony if the victim of the offense is a child more than twelve (12) years of age but less than eighteen (18) years of age.

(d) It is not a defense to a violation of this section that:

(1) The intended victim of the offense is a law enforcement officer;

(2) The victim of the offense is a minor who consented to the act or acts constituting the offense;

(3) The solicitation was unsuccessful, the conduct solicited was not engaged in, or the law enforcement officer could not engage in the solicited offense; or

(4) The person charged was ignorant or mistaken as to the age of a minor.

(e) Notwithstanding this section to the contrary, if it is determined after a reasonable detention for investigative purposes that a victim of trafficking for a commercial sex act under this section is under eighteen (18) years of age, then that person is immune from prosecution for prostitution as a juvenile or adult. A law enforcement officer who takes a person under eighteen (18) years of age into custody as a suspected victim under this section shall, upon determination that the person is a minor, provide the minor with the telephone number for the Tennessee human trafficking resource center hotline, notify the department of children’s services, and release the minor to the custody of a parent or legal guardian or transport the minor to a shelter facility designated by the juvenile court judge to facilitate the release of the minor to the custody of a parent or guardian.

(f) It is a defense to prosecution under this section, including as an accomplice or co-conspirator, that a minor charged with a violation of this section was so charged for conduct that occurred because the minor is also a victim of an act committed in violation of this section or § 39-13-307, or because the minor is also a victim as defined by the federal Trafficking Victims Protection Act (22 U.S.C. § 7102).

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