This case concerns the meaning of “commercial sex act,” in subdivision (e)(3) of 18 U.S.C. § 1591, titled “Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion.” A “commercial sex act” is defined as “any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person.” 18 U.S.C. § 1591(e)(3).
The Appellant argued that the phrase “anything of value” must mean “‘economic benefit[ ].’” The Circuit holds, however, that the phrase isn’t restricted to monetary or financial benefits but can include “intangibles,” such as maintaining or improving a person’s position within the hierarchy of a group. Raniere, 2022 WL 17543156 at *4-*8. The focus is on the value that the recipient “subjectively attaches to what is sought to be received.” Id. at *5.
Appellant Keith Raniere was the leader of an executive coaching and self-help organization called NXIVM that he started …