Do you have a teenager at home who is active on social media platforms? Do you fear that they are talking to strangers or falling prey to bad people? This might happen both online or outside in person.
The legal system of the USA aims to protect minors from threats and exploitation. For that, different Federal and state laws have provisions to punish wrongdoers.
Among the many aspects, they deal with the specific issue of enticement of a minor. These laws punish any individual who grooms, solicits, or exploits minors through various means.
In this article, we will talk about the laws that deal with the legal aspects of enticing a minor.
What Is Enticing A Minor?
For starters, let us first find out what enticing a minor means. The enticement of a minor is a crime of a sexual nature. It is one of the most frequently committed crimes against children. Due to its grave nature, it comes with extreme penalties. Different states of the US have different ways of addressing it. However, enticing a minor meaning is standard throughout the nation.
So, What Does Enticing Mean?
First, let us get to know what enticing a minor means legally.
Legally, “Enticement” in its legal sense comes under Chapter 18 of the United States Code. Paragraph number 2422 talks about Coercion and Enticement. It talks about what the enticement of a minor truly entails.
So, What Does The US Law Consider As Enticement?
The Code states the following.
“People who knowingly coerce, entice, induce, or persuade anyone else to travel in foreign or interstate commerce, or in any Possession or Territory of the country, or attempts to do so, to engage in any sexual activity, including prostitution, for which they can be charged, may face enticement charges.”
Now, let us break it down for you.
- Firstly, the individual carries out the action knowingly.
- The action can include coercion, enticement, inducing, or the persuasion of a minor.
- Such action could be to make them travel to a foreign place or to any part of the country.
- This act of enticement may be to sway the minor to engage in sexual activity.
- The sexual activity in question can include prostitution.
All of these points will lead to charges of enticing a minor in a court of law. Once the prosecution proves guilt and motive, the court will declare an enticing a minor sentence, which can be upto several years.
In the section above, certain phrases need an explanation to enable your complete understanding of “enticing a minor”. Let us find out what the phrases mean.
A. Foreign or Interstate Commerce
This phrase refers to the use of sources like the internet, phone calls, or even letters across state borders. Such communication can also occur across nations.
B. Coerce, Entice, or Induce
To coerce means to persuade or force someone to do something. In this case, it is when an adult tries to persuade a child or a teen under 18 to do sexual things (like prostitution).
C. Individuals Under 18
For the authorities to consider an action to be “enticing a minor,” the victim has to be under 18 years of age.
D. Engaging in Sexual Activity or Prostitution
Enticing means to persuade the minor in activities related to sex. For example, if the individual tries to get the minor involved in prostitution.
E. Enticement Charges
So, keeping the explanations above in mind, if someone tries to involve a minor in sexual activities or prostitution, they will face enticement charges in court.
Can Anyone Carry Out Enticement Online?
Enticing a minor by computer, internet or online is definitely a crime under US law. 18 U.S. Code § 1470 is the legal statute in the United States that deals with enticing minors online. According to this statute, it is illegal to use the internet along with all methods of online communication to carry out the enticement of minors. Enticing a minor can take the form of persuasion, inducing, or coercion to engage in unlawful sexual activity.
Social Media Platforms
The statute covers all online platforms. Twitter (X), Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok, and all social media platforms fall under the purview of this statute.
We have seen influencers expose adult men preying on underage teens online (Omegle mostly). This statute makes that sort of enticement online completely illegal. The law also includes messaging apps, websites, or emails to communicate and entice a minor.
Enticing Minor Laws And Penalties By State
In the United States, it’s against the law to entice minors online. The punishment for enticement of a minor can depend on the facts of your case. It will depend on which state you live in, whether you are a repeat offender, and the severity of the action.
In the state of Connecticut, enticement of a minor is a felony under the law. If the prosecution proves the charges against the felon, they could face a prison sentence of up to 20 years. This also includes the enticement of a minor online.
According to Enticing a minor Utah Code, if someone faces a felony conviction for enticement of a minor, the state will register them as a sex offender for life.
If it’s not a felony but a class A misdemeanor, the registration will be there for ten years after they are done with the sentence.
How Long Does It Take To Be Arrested For Online Enticing A Minor?
For authorities to arrest a person for enticement of a minor online in the USA can depend on several factors. The time can vary because law enforcement agencies may have other pressing issues at hand or huge caseloads. Other factors that play a part in the time of arrest include the following.
Complications In The Case
If the police find out that the enticement is part of a larger investigation, it could take them time to build a case. The more complications, the more time it will take to build a case. Some cases involve ongoing communication with the suspect to collect more evidence.
Digital And Forensic Evidence
The authorities will take their due time to get hold of digital evidence. They will be sifting through chat logs, emails, and all forms of online communication. Additionally, gathering forensic data from digital devices is also time-consuming.
Moreover, the location of the crime, the availability of resources, and support from social media platforms are some other factors.
The laws in the US make enticement of a minor to be one of the most serious types of crime. A person facing these charges can choose to contact a criminal defense lawyer to represent them in trial. It is important to note that the laws relating to minor enticement have evolved over time.
These regulations play a crucial role in the protection of minors from predatory individuals. They help in deterring potential offenders and provide a legal framework for victims to seek justice. Federal laws maintain a consistent structure throughout the state. These laws have helped authorities bridge legal gaps to hold offenders accountable who want to evade justice.