CHAPTER TWO - OFFENSE CONDUCT


PART G - OFFENSES INVOLVING COMMERCIAL SEX ACTS, SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF MINORS, AND OBSCENITY

1.PROMOTING A COMMERCIAL SEX ACT OR PROHIBITED SEXUAL CONDUCT

§2G1.3. Promoting a Commercial Sex Act or Prohibited Sexual Conduct with a Minor; Transportation of Minors to Engage in a Commercial Sex Act or Prohibited Sexual Conduct; Travel to Engage in Commercial Sex Act or Prohibited Sexual Conduct with a Minor; Sex Trafficking of Children; Use of Interstate Facilities to Transport Information about a Minor

(a)Base Offense Level:

(1)34, if the defendant was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 1591(b)(1);

(2)30, if the defendant was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 1591(b)(2);

(3)28, if the defendant was convicted under 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) or § 2423(a); or

(4)24, otherwise.

(b)Specific Offense Characteristics

(1)If (A) the defendant was a parent, relative, or legal guardian of the minor; or (B) the minor was otherwise in the custody, care, or supervisory control of the defendant, increase by 2 levels.

(2)If (A) the offense involved the knowing misrepresentation of a participant’s identity to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, a minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct; or (B) a participant otherwise unduly influenced a minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct, increase by 2 levels.

(3)If the offense involved the use of a computer or an interactive computer service to (A) persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct; or (B) entice, encourage, offer, or solicit a person to engage in prohibited sexual conduct with the minor, increase by 2 levels.

(4)If (A) the offense involved the commission of a sex act or sexual contact; or (B) subsection (a)(3) or (a)(4) applies and the offense involved a commercial sex act, increase by 2 levels.

(5)If (A) subsection (a)(3) or (a)(4) applies; and (B) the offense involved a minor who had not attained the age of 12 years, increase by 8 levels.

(c)Cross References

(1)If the offense involved causing, transporting, permitting, or offering or seeking by notice or advertisement, a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, apply §2G2.1 (Sexually Exploiting a Minor by Production of Sexually Explicit Visual or Printed Material; Custodian Permitting Minor to Engage in Sexually Explicit Conduct; Advertisement for Minors to Engage in Production), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(2)If a minor was killed under circumstances that would constitute murder under 18 U.S.C. § 1111 had such killing taken place within the territorial or maritime jurisdiction of the United States, apply §2A1.1 (First Degree Murder), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

(3)If the offense involved conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241 or § 2242, apply §2A3.1 (Criminal Sexual Abuse; Attempt to Commit Criminal Sexual Abuse), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above. If the offense involved interstate travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor who had not attained the age of 12 years, or knowingly engaging in a sexual act with a minor who had not attained the age of 12 years, §2A3.1 shall apply, regardless of the "consent" of the minor.

(d)Special Instruction

(1)If the offense involved more than one minor, Chapter Three, Part D (Multiple Counts) shall be applied as if the persuasion, enticement, coercion, travel, or transportation to engage in a commercial sex act or prohibited sexual conduct of each victim had been contained in a separate count of conviction.

Commentary

Statutory Provisions: 8 U.S.C. § 1328 (only if the offense involved a minor); 18 U.S.C. §§ 1591 (only if the offense involved a minor), 2421 (only if the offense involved a minor), 2422 (only if the offense involved a minor), 2423, 2425.

Application Notes:

1.Definitions.——For purposes of this guideline:

"Commercial sex act" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 1591(e)(3).

"Computer" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(1).

"Illicit sexual conduct" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2423(f).

"Interactive computer service" has the meaning given that term in section 230(e)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(2)).

"Minor" means (A) an individual who had not attained the age of 18 years; (B) an individual, whether fictitious or not, who a law enforcement officer represented to a participant (i) had not attained the age of 18 years, and (ii) could be provided for the purposes of engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or (C) an undercover law enforcement officer who represented to a participant that the officer had not attained the age of 18 years.

"Participant" has the meaning given that term in Application Note 1 of the Commentary to §3B1.1 (Aggravating Role).

"Prohibited sexual conduct" has the meaning given that term in Application Note 1 of the Commentary to §2A3.1 (Criminal Sexual Abuse; Attempt to Commit Criminal Sexual Abuse).

"Sexual act" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2246(2).

"Sexual contact" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2246(3).

2.Application of Subsection (b)(1).—

(A)Custody, Care, or Supervisory Control.—Subsection (b)(1) is intended to have broad application and includes offenses involving a victim less than 18 years of age entrusted to the defendant, whether temporarily or permanently. For example, teachers, day care providers, baby-sitters, or other temporary caretakers are among those who would be subject to this enhancement. In determining whether to apply this enhancement, the court should look to the actual relationship that existed between the defendant and the minor and not simply to the legal status of the defendant-minor relationship.

(B)Inapplicability of Chapter Three Adjustment.—If the enhancement under subsection (b)(1) applies, do not apply §3B1.3 (Abuse of Position of Trust or Use of Special Skill).

3.Application of Subsection (b)(2).—

(A)Misrepresentation of Participant’s Identity.—The enhancement in subsection (b)(2)(A) applies in cases involving the misrepresentation of a participant’s identity to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, a minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct. Subsection (b)(2)(A) is intended to apply only to misrepresentations made directly to a minor or to a person who exercises custody, care, or supervisory control of the minor. Accordingly, the enhancement in subsection (b)(2)(A) would not apply to a misrepresentation made by a participant to an airline representative in the course of making travel arrangements for the minor.

The misrepresentation to which the enhancement in subsection (b)(2)(A) may apply includes misrepresentation of a participant’s name, age, occupation, gender, or status, as long as the misrepresentation was made with the intent to persuade, induce, entice, coerce, or facilitate the travel of, a minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct. Accordingly, use of a computer screen name, without such intent, would not be a sufficient basis for application of the enhancement.

(B)Undue Influence.—In determining whether subsection (b)(2)(B) applies, the court should closely consider the facts of the case to determine whether a participant’s influence over the minor compromised the voluntariness of the minor’s behavior. The voluntariness of the minor’s behavior may be compromised without prohibited sexual conduct occurring.

However, subsection (b)(2)(B) does not apply in a case in which the only "minor" (as defined in Application Note 1) involved in the offense is an undercover law enforcement officer.

In a case in which a participant is at least 10 years older than the minor, there shall be a rebuttable presumption that subsection (b)(2)(B) applies. In such a case, some degree of undue influence can be presumed because of the substantial difference in age between the participant and the minor.

4.Application of Subsection (b)(3).—Subsection (b)(3) is intended to apply only to the use of a computer or an interactive computer service to communicate directly with a minor or with a person who exercises custody, care, or supervisory control of the minor. Accordingly, the enhancement in subsection (b)(3) would not apply to the use of a computer or an interactive computer service to obtain airline tickets for the minor from an airline’s Internet site.

5.Application of Subsection (c).—

(A)Application of Subsection (c)(1).—The cross reference in subsection (c)(1) is to be construed broadly and includes all instances in which the offense involved employing, using, persuading, inducing, enticing, coercing, transporting, permitting, or offering or seeking by notice, advertisement or other method, a minor to engage in sexually explicit
conduct for the purpose of producing any visual depiction of such conduct. For purposes of subsection (c)(1), "sexually explicit conduct" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 2256(2).

(B)Application of Subsection (c)(3).—For purposes of subsection (c)(3), conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241 means conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a), (b), or (c). Accordingly, for purposes of subsection (c)(3):

(i)Conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a) or (b) is engaging in, or causing another person to engage in, a sexual act with another person: (I) using force against the minor; (II) threatening or placing the minor in fear that any person will be subject to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping; (III) rendering the minor unconscious; or (IV) administering by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of the minor, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance and thereby substantially impairing the ability of the minor to appraise or control conduct. This provision would apply, for example, if any dangerous weapon was used or brandished, or in a case in which the ability of the minor to appraise or control conduct was substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol.

(ii)Conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241(c) is: (I) interstate travel with intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor who has not attained the age of 12 years; (II) knowingly engaging in a sexual act with a minor who has not attained the age of 12 years; or (III) knowingly engaging in a sexual act under the circumstances described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a) and (b) with a minor who has attained the age of 12 years but has not attained the age of 16 years (and is at least 4 years younger than the person so engaging).

(iii)Conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2242 is: (I) engaging in, or causing another person to engage in, a sexual act with another person by threatening or placing the minor in fear (other than by threatening or placing the minor in fear that any person will be subject to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping); or (II) engaging in, or causing another person to engage in, a sexual act with a minor who is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct or who is physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, the sexual act.

6.Application of Subsection (d)(1).—For the purposes of Chapter Three, Part D (Multiple Counts), each minor transported, persuaded, induced, enticed, or coerced to engage in, or travel to engage in, a commercial sex act or prohibited sexual conduct is to be treated as a separate minor. Consequently, multiple counts involving more than one minor are not to be grouped together under §3D1.2 (Groups of Closely Related Counts). In addition, subsection (d)(1) directs that if the relevant conduct of an offense of conviction includes travel or transportation to engage in a commercial sex act or prohibited sexual conduct in respect to more than one minor, whether specifically cited in the count of conviction, each such minor shall be treated as if contained in a separate count of conviction.

7.Upward Departure Provision.—If the offense involved more than ten minors, an upward departure may be warranted.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 664). Amended effective November 1, 2007 (see Appendix C, amendment 701); November 1, 2009 (see Appendix C, amendments 732 and 737).