Human trafficking is a term used to describe unlawful servitude and includes forced labor, commercial sex trafficking, and forced domestic service. This federal offense is investigated by the FBI and carries serious penalties for those who are convicted. To learn more about this, and other federal charges that you may be facing, please contact a member of our federal crime legal team to schedule a free consultation.
Defining Human Trafficking
All human trafficking cases involve the use of coercion, force, or fraud and fall under one of four categories:
- Domestic sex trafficking of adults, which involves compelling others to engage in commercial sex acts;
- Sex trafficking of international adults/children, which occurs when foreign nationals are forced to engage in commercial sex acts with a nexus to the U.S.;
- Forced labor, which involves compelling people to work in a service or industry; or
- Domestic servitude, which occurs when a person is compelled to engage in domestic work for a family or a household.
Allegations of human trafficking are taken very seriously and are investigated by a variety of agencies, including the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor.
The Trafficking Victims Protection Act
Human trafficking cases are prosecuted under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), which prohibits coercing or forcing another to work or to engage in commercial sex acts. The coercion does not have to be overt in order for a person to be prosecuted under this statute, but can be subtle, psychological, or physical. However, it must be used to coerce the victim into providing certain services or labor.
Those who are convicted of human trafficking face between three and eight years in prison, although if the person involved was a minor, or the offense involved kidnapping or a sexual assault, the penalty could be increased. Other aggravating factors that are taken into consideration during sentencing, include whether:
- The defendant has been convicted of committing human trafficking crimes in the past;
- The defendant demonstrated a pattern of continued violations;
- The victim suffered bodily harm when the offense was committed;
- The defendant used or threatened to use a dangerous weapon when the offense was committed;
- The offense resulted in the death or bodily injury of any person;
- The victim was held for more than 180 days;
- More than one victim was involved; and
- The defendant was a public official.
There is also no statute of limitations on federal human trafficking offenses, so charges can be raised at any time, regardless of how much time has passed since the offense allegedly occurred.
Call Today to Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Federal Crime Lawyer in Miami
Human trafficking charges are extremely serious, so if you are being investigated for this type of federal offense, please contact Jeffrey S. Weiner, P.A., Criminal Defense Attorneys in Miami at 305-670-9919 to schedule a one-on-one consultation with a dedicated federal crime attorney who can evaluate your case and explain your legal options.