Attorney Eric D. Puryear

Human Trafficking Charges in Iowa

Puryear Law » Legal Blog » Iowa Criminal Law » Human Trafficking Charges in Iowa

The Iowa crime of Human Trafficking is defined by Iowa Code Section 710A.2 as follows:


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1. A person who knowingly engages in human trafficking is guilty of a class “D” felony, except that if the victim is under the age of eighteen, the person is guilty of a class “C” felony.

2. A person who knowingly engages in human trafficking by causing or threatening to cause serious physical injury to another person is guilty of a class “C” felony, except that if the victim is under the age of eighteen, the person is guilty of a class “B” felony.

3. A person who knowingly engages in human trafficking by physically restraining or threatening to physically restrain another person is guilty of a class “D” felony, except that if the victim is under the age of eighteen, the person is guilty of a class “C” felony.


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4. A person who knowingly engages in human trafficking by soliciting services or benefiting from the services of a victim is guilty of a class “D” felony, except that if the victim is under the age of eighteen, the person is guilty of a class “C” felony.

5. A person who knowingly engages in human trafficking by abusing or threatening to abuse the law or legal process is guilty of a class “D” felony, except that if the victim is under the age of eighteen, the person is guilty of a class “C” felony.

6. A person who knowingly engages in human trafficking by knowingly destroying, concealing, removing, confiscating, or possessing any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document of a victim is guilty of a class “D” felony, except that if that other person is under the age of eighteen, the person is guilty of a class “C” felony.


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7. A person who benefits financially or by receiving anything of value from knowing participation in human trafficking is guilty of a class “D” felony, except that if the victim is under the age of eighteen, the person is guilty of a class “C” felony.

8. A person’s ignorance of the age of the victim or a belief that the victim was older is not a defense to a violation of this section.

The definition of human trafficking is provided by Iowa Code Section 710A.1, which states as follows:

“Human trafficking” means participating in a venture to recruit, harbor, transport, supply provisions, or obtain a person for any of the following purposes:
(1) Forced labor or service that results in involuntary servitude, peonage, debt bondage, or slavery.
(2) Commercial sexual activity through the use of force, fraud, or coercion, except that if the trafficked person is under the age of eighteen, the commercial sexual activity need not involve force, fraud, or coercion.

“Human trafficking” also means knowingly purchasing or attempting to purchase services involving commercial sexual activity from a victim or another person engaged in human trafficking.

Human trafficking is a serious crime under Iowa law. A person convicted of the B Felony version of human trafficking faces a 25 year prison sentence.  The C Felony human trafficking charge in Iowa carries a 10 year prison sentence upon conviction, while the D Felony version carries 5 years in prison.

Any person accused of human trafficking is wise to exercise their right to remain silent, and seek an attorney at once.


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