Stripping Agency from Top to Bottom: The Need for a Sentencing Guideline Safety Valve for Bottoms Prosecuted Under the Federal Sex Trafficking Statutes

Crocker, Sarah | April 1, 2017

In domestic sex trafficking, the trafficker often promotes a victim to the coveted position of “lead prostitute,” or “bottom.” Once in this position, the victim engages in acts for which she can be prosecuted under federal sex trafficking statutes that carry ten- and fifteen-year mandatory minimum sentences. To recognize bottoms’ victimization and resulting lack of genuine agency, this Note proposes a Sentencing Guideline safety valve provision. Creating a safety valve would provide sentencing judges with necessary discretion to impose sentences below statutory floors in appropriate cases.