What is Sexual Exploitation?
It can be terrifying to be accused of sexual exploitation and abuse or any other type of sexual assault, mainly if it is untrue. A sexual assault conviction attracts harsh punishment, including a prison sentence with a maximum life sentence, hefty fines, lifetime electronic monitoring, probation, and mandatory sex offender registration.
A sexual offense conviction also has a significant adverse effect on the offenders’ lives. They have to deal with the stigma and shame of being convicted of a sex crime, and their criminal records are also made public. A public criminal record can make securing gainful employment or housing opportunities more difficult. It could also cause some lifestyle restrictions, such as being unable to live within a certain distance of a school.
If you have been accused of a sex offense, contact a sex crimes defense lawyer in your city. Sexual exploitation is a severe crime, and you need legal assistance immediately. It would be best if you had an aggressive defense strategy to beat the criminal charges you face.
At Blank Law, PC, we fight for those accused of sex crimes. We help them navigate the criminal justice system and build solid sexual assault defense strategies. We handle sexual abuse cases involving defendants in Macomb County, Wayne County, Oakland County, Ingham County, Livingston County, Lapeer County, along with all other areas in Michigan, and throughout the United States. You can rely on our legal team to support you if you face sex crime allegations. Reach out to us right away to schedule a Michigan criminal defense attorney free consultation.
What is Sexual Exploitation?
Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual violence. It refers to attempted or actual abuse of a person‘s position of vulnerability (such as someone who depends on you for food rations, school, books, transportation, or other services), trust, or differential power to obtain sexual services or favors.
The UN Secretary-General’s Bulletin on Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse defines sexual exploitation as “any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially, or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.”
In addition, it occurs when a person in a position of authority or influence, like an employer, teacher (see: teacher sexual misconduct), or clergy member (see: priest abuse lawyer), misuses their position to get someone else to perform sexual acts. It also includes inappropriate sexualized behavior or financial abuse to gain sexual services.
Examples of acts amounting to sexual exploitation include:
- Invading another person’s sexual privacy
- Administering alcohol or date rape drugs to a person without their consent for sexual purposes (assuming a sexual act has not been completed)
- Sexually-based bullying or stalking
- Sexual voyeurism, which involves watching a person while they are undressing or engaged in sexual activity without their consent
- Refusing to implement safe sex practices during sexual acts (including engaging in sexual activity with someone else without disclosing you have a disease that can be transmitted via sexual intercourse)
Sexual exploitation is a global issue that adversely affects people’s health and general well-being. As with any other form of sexual assault, victims of sexual exploitation often suffer from anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol or drug addiction. In addition, the victims deal with sexually transmitted infections, illnesses, and physical injuries.
It also causes social isolation among the victims, which results in harmful habits such as an inability to sustain gainful employment or meaningful relationships with others. Some sexual violence victims also find it challenging to fit into society and engage in criminal activities to support themselves.
Although children and young people are more at risk of sexual exploitation, adults are also victims of sexual exploitation. In many cases, sexual exploitation is typically committed alongside other crimes such as human trafficking, prostitution, producing child pornography, child molestation, and kidnapping.
Several organizations and response programs have been developed to help sexual assault victims and younger children subjected to human trafficking. For example, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline, which assists victims of sexual abuse. By calling the national hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), anyone sexually abused can report the occurrence.
Sexual violence victims can reach the national network at any time. Once they call the national hotline, the national network links them with expert personnel from their neighborhood sexual violence support provider. Multiple callers contact the national network daily, and anyone who reaches out to them is kept anonymous to protect their safety and identity.
Commercial Child Sexual Exploitation
Although sex crimes affect people of all ages, races, gender, and sexual orientations, children and young people face the highest risk of sexual exploitation worldwide. For example, in the United States, over 300,000 children are at risk of sexual exploitation.
Commercial child sexual exploitation refers to situations in which children or young people under 18 years old are sexually exploited by an adult. It also covers a wide range of criminal sexual activities involving the sexual exploitation or abuse of children or young people for another person’s financial benefit or in exchange for a valuable thing, such as a monetary or non-monetary benefit which may be given or received by any person.
There are different forms of commercial child sexual exploitation, including early marriage, prostitution, sex trafficking, child pornography, sex tourism, forcing a child to engage in inappropriate activities of a sexual nature, and production, possession, or distribution of child pornography.
Several risk factors exist at the relationship, societal, community, and individual levels, which increase young people’s vulnerability to criminal sexual abuse. Examples include sexual or physical abuse or maltreatment, homelessness, and involvement in government systems like child welfare and juvenile systems. Other factors include sexual orientation, early exposure to adversity, substance abuse, and poverty.
Also, the environment in which a child is raised can contribute to a higher risk of sexual exploitation. Children raised in places notorious for community violence, higher prostitution rates, and a large transient male population are more predisposed to being sexually exploited. In addition, disabled children are three times more likely to be subjected to sexual abuse than their peers.
The legal system seeks to protect children from being abused, exploited, harassed, or assaulted. As a result, the laws against child sexual abuse are strict and firmly upheld against offenders. Those convicted of a crime of a sexual nature involving a minor face severe punishments. In some cases, they are sentenced to life imprisonment.
Sex offenders against child victims are also placed on the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry. Under Michigan’s new laws, the registry publicizes convicted offenders’ records, so anyone can access them whenever possible. The offenders may also be subjected to compulsory sex offender registration, which could be permanent.
How is Sexual Exploitation Different from Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is also referred to as sexual abuse. It describes a broad range of sexual offenses, including felony crimes like rape, and misdemeanor sex crimes like indecent exposure. It refers to any sexual act done to someone else without their consent.
It also involves sexual coercion, sexual penetration and unwanted sexual contact (see: what is offensive touching?) for sexual gratification. Sexual violence includes inappropriately touching another person for sexual gratification, rape, child sexual abuse, and criminal sexual contact with another person’s private parts without permission.
On the other hand, sexual harassment includes any inappropriate sexual behavior or non-consensual sexual conduct that is frightening, embarrassing, or offensive. Unwanted sexual remarks, solicitations for sexual favors, and unwanted sexual advances are all examples of sexual harassment. Other examples include leering at another person and showing sexually graphic images or videos.
The primary difference between sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and sexual harassment lies with the victim. While these terms refer to non-consensual sexual misconduct, sexual harassment differs from the other terms because it evokes feelings of fear, humiliation, and offense. However, acts involving violence, unequal or coercive conditions, sexual contact or sexual penetration can be categorized as sexual assault or sexual exploitation.
Sexual exploitation is a form of sexual violence. However, it differs from sexual harassment in that the perpetrator occupies a position of authority, differential power, or trust over the victim, which is taken advantage of to obtain sexual services. Sexual harassment often occurs in the workplace, although it is not limited to a professional environment. With that being said, sexual exploitation and abuse often occur outside the workplace.
You need a criminal sexual conduct attorney if you have been accused of any crime of a sexual nature. Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is a renowned Michigan sex crime defense lawyer with experience defending those accused of sexual assault of all forms. She is available and ready to work with you to develop aggressive criminal sexual conduct defense plans in your case. Contact her to arrange your free case evaluation.
Can You Be Charged with Sexual Exploitation Under Michigan Criminal Law?
In Michigan, sexual offenses are referred to as criminal sexual conduct (CSC). It is a broad term covering any non-consensual sexual contact gotten through unequal or coercive conditions, intimidation, or the threat of physical injury.
According to Michigan law, there are four degrees of criminal sexual conduct covering various sexual acts and levels of sexual compulsion or intimidation. In Michigan, criminal sexual conduct includes, among other things, statutory rape, internet sex crimes, domestic violence involving a sex offense, child molestation, and indecent exposure.
Sexual penetration-related crimes frequently fall under criminal sexual conduct 1st degree and criminal sexual conduct 3rd degree charges. Crimes involving unwanted sexual contact are classified as either criminal sexual conduct 2nd degree or criminal sexual conduct 4th degree offenses. Therefore, sexual exploitation is not charged under Michigan law. The act amounting to sexual exploitation is classified under a degree or different CSC degrees. The defendant is charged with criminal sexual conduct instead.
CSC 1st Degree
CSC 1st degree charges cover the most severe forms of sexual assault. Any crime under this CSC degree involves sexual penetration, including vaginal, oral, or genital penetration. Examples of 1st degree CSC include rape and child sexual abuse. First degree CSC may have also occurred where aggravating circumstances exist, such as:
- The alleged victim is a person under 13
- The victim is a minor under 13 and related to the criminal defendant
- The defendant forced sexual intercourse on the victim by utilizing their position as a school official, teacher, staff member, volunteer, or contractor
- The defendant used a weapon, or what the victim considered to be a weapon, while engaging in sexual penetration
- The criminal has physically hurt the victim, who was already mentally or physically incapable
CSC 2nd Degree
CSC 2nd degree refers to the most severe non-consensual sexual contact crimes. A person who touches another person for sexual gratification or arousal without the other person’s consent may be charged with 2nd degree CSC. However, second degree CSC does not include crimes involving sexual penetration. Examples of 2nd degree CSC include sexual battery, intimate partner sexual abuse, and child molestation.
CSC second degree offenses occur when:
- The alleged victim is a minor under 13
- The victim suffers a physical or mental handicap
- The defendant used their position of authority over the victim, such as that of a teacher, school official, substitute teacher, or another staff member to coerce the victim into the sexual misconduct
- The victim is related to the defendant and is between the ages of 13 and 16
- Unwelcome sexual contact with another person occurs while a felony offense is being committed
- The offense resulted in physical injury to the victim
- The perpetrator used force or coercion to carry out the sexual activity
- The perpetrator had a weapon, or what the victim believed to be a weapon, during sexual contact
CSC 3rd Degree
CSC 3rd degree is similar to 1st degree CSC as it includes crimes involving non-consensual sexual penetration. The main difference between both degrees of criminal sexual conduct is the victim’s age and the severity of the offense. An example of 3rd degree CSC is statutory rape. A person may be charged with this crime in the following situations:
- The defendant knew that the victim was physically or mentally unable to give consent at the time of the sexual penetration
- The alleged victim, who is a person 13 thru 15 years old, was subjected to sexual penetration or sexual battery
- The perpetrator used excessive force to engage in unwanted sexual activities
- The victim is between the ages of 16 and 26 and is enrolled in special education
- The perpetrator is a family member of the victim
- The victim is between 16 to 18 years old, and the offender works at the victim’s school as a teacher, administrator, employee, contractor, or substitute teacher
- The offender works at a daycare center or foster home where the victim resides
CSC 4th Degree
Unwelcome sexual contact offenses that do not fall under second degree CSC are considered CSC 4th degree. It carries the least severe charge of all the degrees. Fourth degree CSC occurs when there is non-consensual sexual contact with another person’s anus, penis, inner thighs, breasts, or vagina. Close family members, adults, or those who cannot consent due to physical or mental impairments are typically the targets of this kind of crime.
What Should You Do if You Have Been Accused of Sexual Exploitation?
In Michigan, you should seek legal counsel if you are the subject of sexual misconduct accusations. Many individuals frequently believe that most sex crime allegations are not serious, mainly if they are untrue. If you are found guilty of any sex offense, you could receive a jail sentence, a fine, lose your job, or have your reputation damaged as a result.
Therefore, if you are under police investigation for a sex crime, your first step is to hire a CSC defense attorney (learn more about what to look for in a criminal defense attorney here). It is easier to beat criminal charges if a lawyer guides you in creating a defense and interacting with the prosecution.
Avoid speaking with the detective or other law enforcement officer because anything you say could be misconstrued and used against you in court (see: what happens if I don’t talk to a detective). Also, refrain from discussing the incident with your friends and coworkers. Additionally, avoid defending yourself in front of others or confronting the alleged victim physically or online. Your prospects of escaping a conviction are higher the less you talk about the case.
Michigan criminal defense attorney Nicole Blank Becker has handled numerous sex crime cases over the years. She can represent you if you or a loved one faces criminal charges for a sex crime. Once you establish an attorney-client relationship with us at Blank Law, PC, we will assist you in developing a tenacious criminal sexual conduct defense. Call us right away for a free case evaluation at (248) 515–6583.
Potential Penalties for a Sexual Exploitation Conviction
If you have been accused of a sex crime, you risk being severely punished under Michigan criminal law. The severity of the penalty is determined by the severity of the offense and the degree of criminal sexual conduct.
Misdemeanors typically carry a jail term penalty of one or two years, while felonies sometimes attract lengthy prison sentences, even life sentences. You may pay a fine instead of a prison sentence and other court costs. However, sometimes the judge requires a convicted offender to serve a prison sentence and pay a fine.
All sex offenders in Michigan are subjected to mandatory sex offender registration on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry. You may also face probation, lifelong electronic monitoring, and community service. In cases involving a minor, you could be placed on the Child Abuse and Neglect Central Registry and lose full or partial parental rights.
Are Convicted Offenders Required to Register as Sex Offenders?
In Michigan, anyone found guilty of a sex offense is required to register as a sex offender. The Michigan Sex Offender Registry keeps track of sex offenders’ personal and public criminal histories. The records include information about the offenses and the offenders’ names, addresses, photos, and registration numbers. When you have a criminal history of sexual offenses, finding employment, housing, or integrating into society can be challenging.
The law permits the erasure of sex offenders’ records from the registry under rare circumstances. However, the procedure is time-consuming and complicated, so you would benefit with assistance from an experienced criminal defense lawyer.
After 15 years, you may delete your record if you were found guilty of a Tier 1 sex offender offense. After 25 years, your record for Tier 2 sex offender offenses can be erased. However, you cannot delete your criminal record if your offense is considered a Tier 3 sex offender offense.
Therefore, discussing your case with a CSC defense lawyer in Michigan would be advisable to ascertain which category your offense belongs to. Your rape defense attorney will advise you on the expungement procedure if the option is available. Find out more about how to get off the sex offender registry in Michigan here.
Defending Yourself Against a Sexual Exploitation Charge
Sex crime allegations are serious, and a conviction may alter your life. Therefore, you must respond to any criminal charges of a sexual nature in a timely and efficient manner. Sexual offense charges do not go away on their own; therefore, you must take quick action to safeguard yourself.
The prosecution has the burden of proof in any criminal case. Therefore, the prosecution must prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to successfully secure a conviction. However, the prosecution’s case is weakened once an element of doubt is introduced.
Therefore, it is best to focus on weakening the prosecution’s case. You accomplish this by employing excellent defense tactics. You need a criminal defense attorney to build a solid defense. A skilled attorney can assist you in creating a solid defense customized to your particular case. Hiring a sex crime defense lawyer also improves your chances of avoiding jail time or paying a hefty fine. Learn how to hire a criminal defense lawyer here.
Contact Blank Law, PC to Speak with a Michigan Sex Crime Defense Attorney
Michigan criminal sexual conduct laws are designed to protect young people and punish sex offenders severely. Therefore, you need a seasoned criminal defense lawyer if you have been accused of exploiting children or young people to obtain sexual services.
Nicole Blank Becker is an experienced CSC defense attorney in Michigan, with an advantage over other sexual assault lawyers because she formerly worked as a prosecutor. Attorney Nicole Blank Becker is ready to fight for you if someone claims you sexually assaulted them. Reach out to her today!