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2027. Mann Act

Cases arising under the Mann Act, 18 U.S.C. § 2421 et seq., are investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and are referred directly to the appropriate United States Attorneys. The Child and Exploitation and Obscenity Section of the Criminal Division is responsible for supervision of the Act.

Sections 2421 to 2423 of the Act set forth several offenses including the offense of knowingly transporting any individual, male or female, in interstate or foreign commerce or in any territory or possession of the United States for the purpose of prostitution or sexual activity which is a criminal offense under the federal or state statute or local ordinance. Section 2423 is concerned solely with the transportation of minors under the age of 18 years and provides for an enhanced penalty. This section should generally be used when minors are victims, although the other two sections also cover minors ("any individual").

Section 2423 was amended on February 6, 1978 by Pub.L. No. 95-225, on November 7, 1986, by Pub.L. No. 99-628, and again on September 13, 1994 by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. The legislative history of these amendments demonstrates Congress' special concern with the sexual exploitation of minors. Thus, cases falling under these statutes which involve minors as victims should be given special priority.

In United States v. Holte, 236 U.S. 140 (1915), the Supreme Court held that under certain circumstances a woman could be indictable as a conspirator in her own transportation. However, in Gebardi v. United States, 287 U.S. 112 (1932), the Court, while not disavowing Holte, held that a woman who merely assents to her transportation, without taking a more active role in promoting it is not guilty of a substantive offense under these statutes. The Court also held that such a woman cannot be charged with conspiracy, and that where the only coconspirator is the man who transported her or caused her transportation, a conspiracy charge against him must fall also. Gebardi has been cited and followed in more recent lower court decisions. This strongly suggests that it may be difficult to sustain a prosecution against a transportee "victim" for the substantive offense or for conspiracy, or a conspiracy case against a sole coconspirator who was the transporter, unless the "victim" was active in promoting the transportation and not merely acquiescent.

[cited in USAM 9-79.100]

Updated June 11, 2015