Code of the District of Columbia

§ 22–1831. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process” means the use or threatened use of law or legal process, whether administrative, civil, or criminal, in any manner or for any purpose for which the law was not designed, to exert pressure on another person to cause that person to take some action or refrain from taking some action.

(2) “Business” means any corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, firm, enterprise, franchise, association, organization, holding company, joint stock, trust, and any legal entity through which business is conducted.

(3) “Coercion” means any one of, or a combination of, the following:

(A) Force, threats of force, physical restraint, or threats of physical restraint;

(B) Serious harm or threats of serious harm;

(C) The abuse or threatened abuse of law or legal process;

(D) Fraud or deception;

(E) Any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that if that person did not perform labor or services, that person or another person would suffer serious harm or physical restraint;

(F) Facilitating or controlling a person’s access to an addictive or controlled substance or restricting a person’s access to prescription medication; or

(G) Knowingly participating in conduct with the intent to cause a person to believe that he or she is the property of a person or business and that would cause a reasonable person in that person’s circumstances to believe that he or she is the property of a person or business.

(4) “Commercial sex act” means any sexual act or sexual contact on account of which or for which anything of value is given to, promised to, or received by any person. The term “commercial sex act” includes a violation of § 22-2701, § 22-2704, §§ 22-2705 to 22-2712, §§ 22-2713 to 22-2720, and § 22-2722.

(4A) "Court" means the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

(5) “Debt bondage” means the status or condition of a person who provides labor, services, or commercial sex acts, for a real or alleged debt, where:

(A) The value of the labor, services, or commercial sex acts, as reasonably assessed, is not applied toward the liquidation of the debt;

(B) The length and nature of the labor, services, or commercial sex acts are not respectively limited and defined; or

(C) The amount of the debt does not reasonably reflect the value of the items or services for which the debt was incurred.

(5A) "Eligible offense" means any criminal offense under the District of Columbia Official Code, except an ineligible offense.

(5B) "Ineligible offense" means:

(A) Assault with intent to kill or poison, or to commit first degree sexual abuse, second degree sexual abuse, or child sexual abuse, under § 22-401; provided, that assault with intent to rob under § 22-401 shall constitute an eligible offense.

(B) Sex trafficking of children under § 22-1834;

(C) Murder in the first degree under § 22-2101;

(D) Murder in the first degree — Placing obstructions upon or displacement of railroads under § 22-2102;

(E) Murder in the second degree under § 22-2103;

(F) Murder of law enforcement officer under § 22-2106;

(G) Solicitation of murder under § 22-2107(a);

(H) Armed carjacking under § 22-2803(b)(1);

(I) First degree sexual abuse under § 22-3002;

(J) First degree child sexual abuse under § 22-3008;

(K) First degree sexual abuse of a minor under § 22-3009.01;

(L) First degree sexual abuse of a secondary education student under § 22-3009.03;

(M) First degree sexual abuse of a ward, patient, client, or prisoner under § 22-3013;

(N) First degree sexual abuse of a patient or client under § 22-3015;

(O) An act of terrorism under § 22-3153;

(P) Provision of material support or resources for an act of terrorism under § 22-3153(m);

(Q) Solicitation of material support or resources to commit an act of terrorism under § 22-3153(n);

(R) Manufacture or possession of a weapon of mass destruction under § 22-3154(a);

(S) Attempt or conspiracy to manufacture or possess a weapon of mass destruction under § 22-3154(b);

(T) Use, dissemination, or detonation of a weapon of mass destruction under § 22-3155(a);

(U) Attempt or conspiracy to use, disseminate, or detonate a weapon of mass destruction under § 22-3155(b); or

(V) Attempt or conspiracy to commit any of the offenses listed in this paragraph, except conspiracy to commit sex trafficking of children under § 22-1834.

(6) “Labor” means work that has economic or financial value.

(7) “Serious harm” means any harm, whether physical or nonphysical, including psychological, financial, or reputational harm, that is sufficiently serious, under all the surrounding circumstances, to compel a reasonable person of the same background and in the same circumstances to perform or to continue to perform labor, services, or commercial sex acts to avoid incurring that harm.

(8) “Services” means legal or illegal duties or work done for another, whether or not compensated.

(9) “Sexual act” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 22-3001(8).

(10) “Sexual contact” shall have the same meaning as provided in § 22-3001(9).

(11) “Venture” means any group of 2 or more individuals associated in fact, whether or not a legal entity.

(12) "Victim of trafficking" means:

(A) A person against whom the following offenses were committed:

(i) Forced labor under § 22-1832;

(ii) Trafficking in labor or commercial sex acts under § 22-1833; or

(iii) Sex trafficking of children under § 22-1834; or

(B) A person who has been subject to an act or practice described in section 103(9) or (10) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, approved October 28, 2000 (114 Stat. 1469; 22 U.S.C. § 7102(9) or (10)).


(Oct. 23, 2010, D.C. Law 18-239, § 101, 57 DCR 5405; Feb. 22, 2019, D.C. Law 22-214, § 2(a), 65 DCR 12951.)

Section References

This section is referenced in § 23-1331.