Whoever, being a citizen or resident of the United States and a member of the crew or ship’s company of any foreign vessel engaged in the slave trade, or whoever, being of the crew or ship’s company of any vessel owned in whole or in part, or navigated for, or in behalf of, any citizen of the United States, lands from such vessel, and on any foreign shore seizes any person with intent to make that person a slave, or decoys, or forcibly brings, carries, receives, confines, detains or transports any person as a slave on board such vessel, or, on board such vessel, offers or attempts to sell any such person as a slave, or on the high seas or anywhere on tide water, transfers or delivers to any other vessel any such person with intent to make such person a slave, or lands or delivers on shore from such vessel any person with intent to sell, or having previously sold, such person as a slave, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than seven years, or both.
18 U.S. Code § 1585. Seizure, detention, transportation or sale of slaves
Based on title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§ 421, 422, 425 (Mar. 4, 1909, ch. 321, §§ 246, 247, 250, 35 Stat. 1138, 1139).
Section consolidates and restores three basic sections (act May 25, 1820, ch. 113, §§ 4, 5, 3 Stat. 600, 601; act Apr. 20, 1818, ch. 91, § 4, 3 Stat. 451). As reenacted in the Revised Statutes, such sections were extended and broadened beyond such basic acts. The language at the beginning, “being a citizen or resident of the United States”, was inserted from said section 425 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., as enacted originally. While the basic provisions of said sections 421 and 422 are thus broadened, their application as enacted in the 1909 Criminal Code is narrowed.
Designation in said section 421 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed., of offender as a “pirate” was omitted as unnecessary. The punishment provision of section 1582 of this title (incorporated by reference in said section 425) has been adopted as consistent with other slave-trade statutes rather than the life-imprisonment penalty contained in said sections 421 and 422 of title 18, U.S.C., 1940 ed. However, the requirement in section 1582 of this title that one-half the fine be for the “use of the person prosecuting the indictment to effect” was omitted as meaningless.
Mandatory-punishment provisions were rephrased in the alternative.
1994—Pub. L. 103–322 substituted “fined under this title” for “fined not more than $5,000”.