18 USC 2423: Transportation of minors
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18 USC 2423: Transportation of minors Text contains those laws in effect on June 13, 2024
From Title 18-CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDUREPART I-CRIMESCHAPTER 117-TRANSPORTATION FOR ILLEGAL SEXUAL ACTIVITY AND RELATED CRIMES

§2423. Transportation of minors

(a) Transportation With Intent To Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.-A person who knowingly transports an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any commonwealth, territory or possession of the United States, with intent that the individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than 10 years or for life.

(b) Travel With Intent To Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct.-A person who travels in interstate commerce or travels into the United States, or a United States citizen or an alien admitted for permanent residence in the United States who travels in foreign commerce, with intent to engage in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

(c) Engaging in Illicit Sexual Conduct in Foreign Places.-Any United States citizen or alien admitted for permanent residence who travels in foreign commerce or resides, either temporarily or permanently, in a foreign country, and engages in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

(d) Illicit Sexual Conduct in Connection With Certain Organizations.-Any citizen of the United States or alien admitted for permanent residence who-

(1) is an officer, director, employee, or agent of an organization that affects interstate or foreign commerce;

(2) makes use of the mails or any means or instrumentality of interstate or foreign commerce through the connection or affiliation of the person with such organization; and

(3) commits an act in furtherance of illicit sexual conduct through the connection or affiliation of the person with such organization,


shall be fined under this title, imprisoned for not more than 30 years, or both.

(e) Ancillary Offenses.-Whoever, for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, arranges, induces, procures, or facilitates the travel of a person knowing that such a person is traveling in interstate commerce or foreign commerce with intent to engage in any illicit sexual conduct shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

(f) Attempt and Conspiracy.-Whoever attempts or conspires to violate subsection (a), (b), (c), (d), or (e) shall be punishable in the same manner as a completed violation of that subsection.

(g) Definition.-As used in this section, the term "illicit sexual conduct" means-

(1) a sexual act (as defined in section 2246) with a person under 18 years of age that would be in violation of chapter 109A if the sexual act occurred in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States;

(2) any commercial sex act (as defined in section 1591) with a person under 18 years of age; or

(3) production of child pornography (as defined in section 2256(8)).


(h) Rule of Construction.-As used in this section, the term "intent" shall be construed as any intention to engage in prostitution, sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or illicit sexual conduct, as applicable, at the time of the transportation or travel.

(i) Defense.-In a prosecution under this section based on illicit sexual conduct as defined in subsection (g)(2), it is a defense, which the defendant must establish by clear and convincing evidence, that the defendant reasonably believed that the person with whom the defendant engaged in the commercial sex act had attained the age of 18 years.

(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 812 ; Pub. L. 95–225, §3(a), Feb. 6, 1978, 92 Stat. 8 ; Pub. L. 99–628, §5(b)(1), Nov. 7, 1986, 100 Stat. 3511 ; Pub. L. 103–322, title XVI, §160001(g), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2037 ; Pub. L. 104–71, §5, Dec. 23, 1995, 109 Stat. 774 ; Pub. L. 104–294, title VI, §§601(b)(4), 604(b)(33), Oct. 11, 1996, 110 Stat. 3499 , 3508; Pub. L. 105–314, title I, §103, Oct. 30, 1998, 112 Stat. 2976 ; Pub. L. 107–273, div. B, title IV, §4002(c)(1), Nov. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 1808 ; Pub. L. 108–21, title I, §§103(a)(2)(C), (b)(2)(B), 105, Apr. 30, 2003, 117 Stat. 652 , 653; Pub. L. 109–248, title II, §204, July 27, 2006, 120 Stat. 613 ; Pub. L. 113–4, title XII, §1211(b), Mar. 7, 2013, 127 Stat. 142 ; Pub. L. 114–22, title I, §111, May 29, 2015, 129 Stat. 240 ; Pub. L. 115–392, §14, Dec. 21, 2018, 132 Stat. 5256 ; Pub. L. 118–31, div. E, title LI, §5102(c), (d), Dec. 22, 2023, 137 Stat. 934 .)

Historical and Revision Notes

Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §400 (June 25, 1910, ch. 395, §4, 36 Stat. 826 ).

Words "deemed guilty of a felony" were deleted as unnecessary in view of definition of felony in section 1 of this title. (See reviser's note under section 550 of this title.)

Words "and on conviction thereof shall be" were deleted as surplusage since punishment cannot be imposed until a conviction is secured.

Words "Possession of the United States" were inserted twice. (See reviser's note under section 2421 of this title.)

Minor changes were made in phraseology.


Editorial Notes

Amendments

2023-Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 118–31, §5102(c)(1), substituted "with intent to engage in any illicit sexual conduct with another person" for "with a motivating purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with another person".

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 118–31, §5102(d)(1), added subsec. (d). Former subsec. (d) redesignated (e).

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 118–31, §5102(c)(3), which directed substitution of "with intent to engage in any illicit sexual conduct" for "with a motivating purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct", was executed by making the substitution for "with a motivating purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct" to reflect the probable intent of Congress.

Pub. L. 118–31, §5102(c)(2), redesignated subsec. (d) as (e). Former subsec. (e) redesignated (f).

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 118–31, §5102(c)(2), (d)(2), redesignated subsec. (e) as (f) and substituted "(d), or (e)" for "or (d)". Former subsec. (f) redesignated (g).

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 118–31, §5102(c)(2), redesignated subsec. (f) as (g). Former subsec. (g) redesignated (i).

Subsec. (h). Pub. L. 118–31, §5102(c)(4), added subsec. (h).

Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 118–31, §5102(c)(2), (d)(3), redesignated subsec. (g) as (i) and substituted "(g)(2)" for "(f)(2)".

2018-Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 115–392, §14(1), substituted "with a motivating purpose" for "for the purpose".

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 115–392, §14(2), substituted "with a motivating purpose of engaging" for "for the purpose of engaging".

2015-Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 114–22, §111(a), inserted a dash after "means", designated existing provisions containing designations (1) and (2) as pars. (1) and (2), and added par. (3).

Subsec. (g). Pub. L. 114–22, §111(b), substituted "clear and convincing evidence" for "a preponderance of the evidence".

2013-Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 113–4 inserted "or resides, either temporarily or permanently, in a foreign country" after "commerce".

2006-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109–248 substituted "10 years or for life" for "5 years and not more than 30 years".

2003-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 108–21, §105(b), struck out "or attempts to do so," before "shall be fined".

Pub. L. 108–21, §103(a)(2)(C), (b)(2)(B), substituted "and imprisoned not less than 5 years and" for ", imprisoned" and "30 years" for "15 years, or both".

Subsecs. (b) to (g). Pub. L. 108–21, §105(a), added subsecs. (b) to (g) and struck out former subsec. (b) which read as follows:

"(b) Travel With Intent To Engage in Sexual Act With a Juvenile.-A person who travels in interstate commerce, or conspires to do so, or a United States citizen or an alien admitted for permanent residence in the United States who travels in foreign commerce, or conspires to do so, for the purpose of engaging in any sexual act (as defined in section 2246) with a person under 18 years of age that would be in violation of chapter 109A if the sexual act occurred in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both."

2002-Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 107–273 repealed Pub. L. 104–294, §601(b)(4). See 1996 Amendment note below.

1998-Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 105–314, §103(1), added subsec. (a) and struck out former subsec. (a) which read as follows:

"(a) Transportation With Intent To Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.-A person who knowingly transports any individual under the age of 18 years in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any Territory or Possession of the United States, with intent that such individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both."

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 105–314, §103(2), substituted "15 years" for "10 years".

1996-Pub. L. 104–294, §604(b)(33), amended directory language of Pub. L. 103–322, §160001(g). See 1994 Amendment note below.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–294, §601(b)(4), which made amendment identical to that made by Pub. L. 104–71, was repealed by Pub. L. 107–273. See 1995 Amendment note below.

1995-Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 104–71 substituted "2246" for "2245".

1994-Pub. L. 103–322, as amended by Pub. L. 104–294, §604(b)(33), added subsec. (b) and substituted "(a) Transportation With Intent To Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.-A person who" for "Whoever".

1986-Pub. L. 99–628 amended section generally, revising and restating as one paragraph provisions formerly contained in subsec. (a) and striking out subsec. (b) which provided definitions.

1978-Pub. L. 95–225 substituted "Transportation of minors" for "Coercion or enticement of minor female" in section catchline, designated existing provision as subsec. (a), substituted provisions relating to conduct prohibiting the transportation of minors for provisions relating to conduct prohibiting the coercion or enticement of a minor female, and added subsec. (b).


Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Effective Date of 2002 Amendment

Pub. L. 107–273, div. B, title IV, §4002(c)(1), Nov. 2, 2002, 116 Stat. 1808 , provided that the amendment made by section 4002(c)(1) is effective Oct. 11, 1996.

Effective Date of 1996 Amendment

Amendment by section 604(b)(33) of Pub. L. 104–294 effective Sept. 13, 1994, see section 604(d) of Pub. L. 104–294, set out as a note under section 13 of this title.

Sense of Congress

Pub. L. 118–31, div. E, title LI, §5102(b), Dec. 22, 2023, 137 Stat. 933 , provided that: "The sense of Congress is the following:

"(1) The safety of children should be a top priority for public officials and communities in the United States.

"(2) According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an individual in the United States is sexually assaulted every 68 seconds. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child. Meanwhile, only 25 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.

"(3) The effects of child sexual abuse can be long-lasting and affect the victim's mental health.

"(4) Victims are more likely than non-victims to experience the following mental health challenges:

"(A) Victims are about 4 times more likely to develop symptoms of drug abuse.

"(B) Victims are about 4 times more likely to experience post-traumatic stress disorder as adults.

"(C) Victims are about 3 times more likely to experience a major depressive episode as adults.

"(5) The criminal justice system should and has acted as an important line of defense to protect children and hold perpetrators accountable.

"(6) However, the horrific crimes perpetuated by Larry Nassar demonstrate firsthand the loopholes that still exist in the criminal justice system. While Larry Nassar was found guilty of several State-level offenses, he was not charged federally for his illicit sexual contact with minors, despite crossing State and international borders to commit this conduct.

"(7) The Department of Justice has also identified a growing trend of Americans who use charitable or missionary work in a foreign country as a cover for sexual abuse of children.

"(8) It is the intent of Congress to prohibit Americans from engaging in sexual abuse or exploitation of minors under the guise of work, including volunteer work, with an organization that affects interstate or foreign commerce, such as an international charity.

"(9) Federal law does not require that an abuser's intention to engage in sexual abuse be a primary, significant, dominant, or motivating purpose of the travel.

"(10) Child sexual abuse does not require physical contact between the abuser and the child. This is especially true as perpetrators turn increasingly to internet platforms, online chat rooms, and webcams to commit child sexual abuse.

"(11) However, a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found the use of a webcam to engage in sexually provocative activity with a minor did not qualify as 'sexual activity'.

"(12) Congress can address this issue by amending the definition of the term 'sexual activity' to clarify that it does not require interpersonal, physical contact.

"(13) It is the duty of Congress to provide clearer guidance to ensure that those who commit crimes against children are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."