As awareness of human trafficking in the U.S. has grown, law enforcement efforts to combat it have intensified. In fact, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) identifies bringing human traffickers to justice as one of its top priorities. As such, the DOJ has significantly increased investigations, prosecutions and convictions for trafficking. Between 2009 and 2016, the number of cases filed increased by 79%; the number of defendants charged increased by 71%; and the number of defendants convicted increased by 68%.
If you are being investigated or have already been charged with a federal offense related to human trafficking, you are facing severe penalties if convicted. Now is the time to protect yourself and your future.
At Haas Law, we are dedicated to aggressively defending your rights and fighting the charges against you. We have the experience and resources necessary to defend you successfully. If you are being investigated for or are facing federal human trafficking charges, the sooner we get started working on your case, the better your chances are of successfully fighting the charges.
Federal Human Trafficking Offenses
At the federal level, there are several statutes under which you could be charged for a criminal offense related to human trafficking, including:
- Sex trafficking: Section 1591 criminalizes sex trafficking, which is defined as causing a person to engage in a commercial sex act under certain statutorily enumerated conditions. A commercial sex act means any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person. The specific conditions are the use of force, fraud, or coercion, or conduct involving persons under the age of 18.
- Peonage: Section 1581 of Title 18 makes it unlawful to hold a person in “debt servitude,” or peonage, which is closely related to involuntary servitude. Section 1581 prohibits using force, the threat of force, or the threat of legal coercion to compel a person to work against his/her will. In addition, the victim’s involuntary servitude must be tied to the payment of a debt.
- Involuntary servitude: 1584 of Title 18 makes it unlawful to hold a person in a condition of slavery, that is, a condition of compulsory service or labor against his/her will. A Section 1584 conviction requires that the victim be held against his/her will by actual force, threats of force, or threats of legal coercion.
- Forced labor: Section 1589 of Title 18, which was passed as part of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA), makes it unlawful to provide or obtain the labor or services of a person through one of three prohibited means.
- Trafficking with respect to peonage, involuntary servitude, or forced labor: 18 U.S.C. § 1590 makes it a crime to knowingly recruit, harbor, transport, provide, or obtain by any means, any person for labor or services in violation of this chapter.
Penalties for Human Trafficking
The potential penalties you face if convicted of a human trafficking offense will depend on the statute under which you are convicted. For example, a conviction under 18 U.S.C. § 1590, trafficking with respect to peonage, involuntary servitude, or forced labor, carries up to 20 years. If death results from the underlying conduct, or the offense is otherwise aggravated, you could face life in prison.
The penalties for sex trafficking also vary. When the victim is under the age of 14 or when the crime involves force, fraud, or coercion, the penalty is any term of years or life. If the victim is between the ages of 14 and 18, the penalty is 40 years.
Get Help from Experienced Orlando Human Trafficking Charges Federal Defense Attorney
If you believe that you are the target of a federal human trafficking investigation or you have already been charged with a crime related to human trafficking, consult with an experienced federal defense attorney immediately to ensure that your rights are protected and to get started on your defense.
At Haas Law, we have the experience and commitment necessary to defend you. We are committed to protecting you, your rights, and your future. As a former federal prosecutor, Attorney Haas knows the strategies the government’s attorneys use to investigate and prosecute human trafficking crimes and will put his knowledge and experience to work protecting you.
Call us at 407-755-7675, chat with us online, or submit our online form today. Because we understand that time is of the essence when federal law enforcement authorities are investigating you, our calls are answered 24 hours a day. Call now for the help you need fighting human trafficking charges.
U.S. Department of Justice. (2017, Jan.). National strategy to combat human trafficking. https://www.justice.gov/humantrafficking/page/file/922791/download
U.S. Department of State. (2019, June 20). 2019 Trafficking in person report. https://www.state.gov/reports/2019-trafficking-in-persons-report/