There are many variables associated with human trafficking allegations, including individual circumstances and details of the case as well as the nature of the offense and the victims. These crimes are regulated by both state and federal laws, and are subject to extreme penalties for a person, if found guilty.
If you are facing accusations or charges of a human trafficking offense, it is crucial that you find highly experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense lawyers who understand both the state and federal laws and can aggressively represent you and try your case in all courts.
What is Human Trafficking? What are the Types of Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is a high-profile criminal offense that is prohibited under both federal and state laws and all types of this offense are prosecuted heavily in both jurisdictions.
There are 3 core elements to a human trafficking offense:
- the act – a trafficker either recruits, transports, transfers, harbors, or receives another person
- the means – using one or more methods to commit the act, including through threat or use of force, coercion, fraud, or deception
- the purpose – for exploitation that will benefit the trafficker or associated party
Human trafficking can take many forms, however, such as sexual exploitation, domestic servitude, forced labor or marriage, and others.
Any offense associated with human trafficking is an extremely sensitive topic and any accusation of involvement can be devastating – either financially, publicly, personally, or often all these ways. A person may be accused, for example, of sexual exploitation. What does this mean, exactly? Often, a person exploits a child (under the age of 18) through “sex trafficking,” or by coercion, fraud, or force causes a child to engage in commercial sex.
Human Trafficking Laws in Texas
Title 5 of the Texas Penal Code contains various statutes regulating the different types of forced conduct that are illegal for a person to commit in Texas. Chapter 20, entitled “Kidnapping, Unlawful Restraint, and Smuggling of Persons,” is subdivided to include §20A. that specifically defines the types of and penalties for offenses of “Trafficking of Persons.” § 20A.02 identifies four major types:
- Adult Sex Trafficking: Trafficking of adults for commercial sex by force, fraud, or coercion
- Adult Labor Trafficking: Trafficking adults for labor by force, fraud, or coercion
- Child Sex Trafficking: Trafficking children, under the age of 18, for commercial sex by any means
- Child Labor Trafficking: Trafficking children, under the age of 18, for labor by force, fraud, or coercion
Human trafficking occurs when a person knowingly and 1) intentionally “trafficking” another person or child to engage in forced labor or services AND 2) receives a benefit from participating in such a venture using fraud, force, or coercion.
Subsection A.02(a)(7) further provides that a person commits child sex trafficking by ANY means to cause the child to “engage in, or become the victim of, conduct prohibited” under other statutes in the penal code, including:
- Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Solicitation or Promotion of Prostitution
- Sexual Performance by a Child
- Possession or Promotion of Child Pornography
Consequences of a Human Trafficking Conviction
For cases involving minors, it is not necessary for law enforcement to prove force, fraud, or coercion. Sex trafficking of minors is considered child abuse under Texas law – and anyone who attempts to buy or sell a minor for sex can potentially face severe criminal penalties.
In Texas, a human trafficking offense is classified as a first-degree felony, with a punishment of 25 – 99 years or life in prison. But it can be worse, especially if a person is convicted of a human trafficking crime involving sexual abuse, kidnapping or other related elements. Then, the maximum penalty is life in prison.
In addition, Texas law requires that all individuals who are convicted of human trafficking must register as sex offenders. This registry is public information and can be accessed by anyone. By understanding the legal consequences of sexual abuse, individuals can help to protect themselves and others from this crime.
How Can Aggressive Defense Lawyers Help?
If you have been accused of a crime that is considered human trafficking under the law, our team of Plano lawyers understand the challenges you face and have decades of experience helping clients navigate these often complex, sensitive legal matters. Whether you’re dealing with public scrutiny and social stigma or simply navigating the complicated legal process, Barbieri Law Firm is here to help you every step of the way.
We understand the sensitive nature of these cases and will fight aggressively to protect your reputation, rights, and freedom. Led by renowned criminal sex defense attorney Heather Barbieri who has over 20 years of experience fighting for those accused of serious offenses like human trafficking, we want you to know that you are in good hands.
Contact our award-winning to schedule your free consultation and learn more about the defense strategies possible in your case.
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