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Sexual Servitude

In Victoria, section 53C of the Crimes Act 1958 is the offence of keeping someone in Sexual Servitude which is threatening or using actual force or detaining another against their will to provide sexual services.

Do the Police say that you held someone in Sexual Servitude? Please call and speak with one of our lawyers so you can be advised of everything you need to know before you go to the interview.

Victim of Sexual Servitude
Police interview for Sexual Servitude
The Police treat the interview as a very important step in the process because they hope to get you to say things or make mistakes which will help their case.

We can help you by answering your important legal questions about charges in confidence. We can advise you on how to deal with the Police. It is important not to say anything to the Police which can harm your defence.

If the Police want to speak with you about an allegation of Sexual Servitude, it is important to the success of your case that you speak with us before the Police. We will prepare you for:

  1. The Police interview,
  2. The Police investigation,
  3. The stages of Court and, if necessary
  4. Your trial.
Our lawyers can also attend the Police station with you for the Police interview. This will make sure that you do not do anything that will hurt your case at a later point.

Pleading not guilty to charge of Sexual Servitude
Our lawyers are experienced in representing people charged with the offence of Sexual Servitude. You want a lawyer who is going to ask the Police – who are the witnesses? Are there people the Police have not spoken to? Is there evidence that proves you are not guilty? Are there people we can take statements from? Do we need a private investigator to do some work?

You need a lawyer who is going to prepare a defence strategy for you. Preparing your case early is the key to a great outcome.

We work closely with our clients to ensure that they get the best outcome. The key to a good plea is making sure that you gather material so the Judge understands your story. This will give them a reason to reduce the penalty you receive. This is done through gathering mitigating material and making sure that the Judge hears everything relevant to you.

  • Contact an expert in charges of Sexual Servitude on (03) 9670 5111.
  • We provide a free first phone conference.
  • Download our free booklet to learn more about the Investigation and Court process.
In a case of Sexual Servitude, the following defences may be applicable to the charge:

You can also defend the charge on the basis that there was no commercial element. You can also defend the charge on the basis that there was no threat, force, fraud or misrepresentation.
 
This is a serious offence that will almost always mean that you serve a prison term if you are found guilty. It is an indictable charge which means that your case must be heard in the County Court. If you defend the charges, then it will be heard before a jury.

What penalties can be imposed for a charge of Sexual Servitude?
  • Adjournment of the Charges on Undertaking (Good Behaviour Bond)
  • Fine
  • Community Corrections Order
  • Suspended Prison Sentence
  • Detention in Youth Residential Centre or Youth Training Centre
  • Term of Imprisonment
 
The legislation for this offence can be found on section 53C-53D of Crimes Act 1958:

Section 53C of the Crimes Act 1958
Causing Another Person to Provide Commercial Sexual Services in Circumstances Involving Sexual Servitude
  1. A person (A) commits an offence if—
    1. A causes or induces another person (B) to provide, or to continue to provide, commercial sexual services; and
    2. B is not free to stop providing those services, or to leave the place or area where B provides those services, because A or another person (C)—
      1. uses force against B or another person (D); or
      2. makes a threat to, or against, B or D; or
      3. unlawfully detains B or D; or
      4. engages in fraud or misrepresentation (including by omission) in relation to B or D; or
      5. uses a manifestly excessive debt owed, or purportedly owed, by B or D; and
    3. A knows that engaging in the conduct referred to in paragraph (b) will, or probably will, cause B—
      1. to provide, or to continue to provide, commercial sexual services; or
      2. to not be free to leave the place or area where B provides commercial sexual services.
  2. A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable to level 4 imprisonment (15 years maximum).1
Section 53D of the Crimes Act 1958
Conducting a business in circumstances involving sexual servitude
  1. A person (A) commits an offence if—
    1. A conducts a business that involves the provision of commercial sexual services by another person (B); and
    2. B is not free to stop providing those services, or to leave the place or area where B provides those services, because A or another person (C)—
      1. uses force against B or another person (D); or
      2. makes a threat to, or against, B or D; or
      3. unlawfully detains B or D; or
      4. engages in fraud or misrepresentation (including by omission) in relation to B or D; or
      5. uses a manifestly excessive debt, or purported debt, owed by B or D; and
    3. A knows that engaging in the conduct referred to in paragraph (b) will, or probably will, cause B—
      1. to provide, or to continue to provide, commercial sexual services; or
      2. to not be free to leave the place or area where B provides commercial sexual services.
  2. A person who commits an offence against subsection (1) is liable to level 4 imprisonment (15 years maximum).
  3. For the purposes of subsection (1), conducting a business includes—
    1. taking any part in the management of the business; or
    2. exercising control or direction over the business; or
    3. providing finance for the business.2
The Prosecution need to show that you caused someone, by threat, force, fraud or misrepresentation, to provide sexual services for commercial benefit.


[1] Australian legal Information Institute. “Crimes Act 1958 – Section 53C: Causing another person to provide commercial sexual services in circumstances involving sexual servitude.” Austlii.edu.au. http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s53c.html (accessed June 22, 2020).
[2] Australian legal Information Institute. “Crimes Act 1958 – Section 53D: Conducting a business in circumstances involving sexual servitude.” Austlii.edu.au. http://classic.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/vic/consol_act/ca195882/s53d.html (accessed June 22, 2020).

 
If you plead guilty to subjecting someone to Sexual Servitude, you may be sentenced to a term of imprisonment. However, there are also other options available to the Sentencing Judge, such as a Community Correction Order, Fine or Adjourned Undertaking. The penalty you receive will depend on the seriousness of the offending, the circumstances of the offending, your prior criminal history (if any), your personal circumstances, and steps you have taken to address the offending.

Therefore, our experienced lawyers are pro-active and organise the following well in advance of your plea hearing:

  • Character references from your social network,
  • An expert psychological report,
  • Therapy,
  • Considered submissions which distinguish your offending from more serious examples.