Human trafficking is the organized criminal activity involving the sale, trade, and/or purchase of exploited people. In Texas, the criminal act of human trafficking is called smuggling of persons.

Is Selling Or Purchasing a Child the Same as Smuggling of Persons in Texas?

No. In Texas, the sale or purchase of a child involves having a child in a person’s possession. That person agrees to give the child to another in exchange for something of value, such as money or goods.

What Do Prosecutors Have to Prove to Convict Me of the Sale of a Child?

To convict someone, the state has to prove:

  1. The person had a child in their possession younger than 18 years old
  2. The person agrees to, offers to accept, or actually accepts
  3. Something of value
  4. In exchange for custody of the child

What Does It Mean to Have Possession of a Child?

Possession of a child younger than 18 years old means that the person had:

  • Parental custody
  • Conservatorship
  • Guardianship

What If the Exchange Was for the Purpose of Adoption?

It does not matter what the purpose was for the transaction. It is still a crime to offer or agree to accept something of value in exchange for the child even if the purpose of the exchange was for the purpose of adopting a child.

What Is the Punishment for the Sale or Purchase of a Child?

The sale or purchase of a child in Texas is a third degree felony punishable by:

  • Two to 10 years in state prison
  • $10,000 fine
  • Fine and prison time

Do I Need an Attorney?

A charge of selling or purchasing a child is a serious felony charge, and being convicted of it would make you a convicted felon. Contact a Texas criminal attorney about your criminal case and learn about the possible defenses that may be available to you.