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Human Sex Trafficking
(PC 236.1)
Law, Punishment, & Defense

California law prohibiting human sex trafficking can be found at Penal Code section 236.1(b) & PC 236.1(c).


Human sex trafficking means engaging in the forced transfer and sexual exploitation of humans for commercial value (aka “sexual exploitation of humans for commercial trade” or “forced sex trafficking”).


PC 236.1 Laws

Human sex trafficking occurs when a person, deprives or violates the personal liberty of another person, for commercial value, and with the intent to effect or maintain a violation of any of the following:

  • PC 266 Enticing a Minor into Prostitution,

  • PC 266h Pimping,

  • PC 266i Pandering,

  • PC 267 Abduction of Minor for Prostitution,

  • PC 311.3 Produce Child Pornography,

  • PC 311.5 Advertising Child Pornography,

  • PC 311.6 Engage in Obscene Live Conduct

  • (PC 236.1(b) Abbrev.)

Related Crimes: PC 236.1(c)(1) Human Sex Trafficking of a Minor

PC 236.1 Penalties

PC 236.1(b) Prison Sentence: Conviction of human trafficking per PC 263.1(b) carries a state prison sentence of 8, 14, or 20 years and a fine of not more than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) [PC 236.1(b)(1)].


PC 236.1(c)(1) Prison Sentence: Conviction of human sex trafficking per PC 263.1(c)(1) carries a state prison sentence of 5, 8, or 12 years and a fine of not more than five hundred thousand dollars ($500,000) [PC 236.1(c)(1)].

Probation Sentence: A probation sentence is a period of supervision, as opposed to a prison sentence. A probation sentence is allowed in PC 236.1(b) and PC 236.1(c) cases. However, a probation sentence after a conviction for human sex trafficking is not guaranteed.

Whether the defendant receives a probation sentence after a PC 236.1 conviction depends on many factors, including egregiousness of the allegations, the defendant’s criminal history, the terms of any negotiated plea between the defendant and the district attorney, and more.

No Suspended Sentence: Neither a “suspended” prison sentence, nor a “split” prison sentence is available in PC 236.1 cases. This means that if the defendant is convicted of human sex trafficking, and he or she does not receive a probation sentence, then the defendant must serve his or her incarceration in a California state prison, as opposed to a local county jail, and no part of that prison sentence may be served out-of-custody on work release or house arrest.


Sex Offender Registration: If found guilty of PC 236.1(b) or PC 236.1(c), the defendant will be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to penal code 290.

In addition to a possible prison sentence, a criminal conviction of either PC 236.1(b) or PC 236.1(c), can result in harsh penalties, including, loss of immigration status (deportation), loss of professional license, penalty fines (up to $500,000 for PC 236.1(c)(1) and 236.1(c)(2)), restraining orders, civil lawsuits, and more.

To learn more about human sex trafficking crimes, or California penal code section 236.1(b) and 236.1(c), including defenses to human sex trafficking, contact our sex crimes criminal defense attorneys today for a free consultation. Our experienced and dedicated sex crimes defense attorneys have helped hundreds of defendants charged with felony and misdemeanor sex crimes in the Inland Empire. We can help you too. Call today!


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