Florida woman pleads not guilty to human trafficking charges

According to an investigation led by the Gadsden County Sheriff's Office, a woman from Tallahasee and her partner allegedly enabled the sexual abuse of a young girl for 13 years. Investigators had been tracking the woman and her boyfriend since last year. Multiple arrest warrants were eventually issued. The couple fled authorities, but law enforcement soon arrested the fugitives.

The warrants against the woman detailed accusations of two counts of sexual abuse, lewd and lascivious behavior and child cruelty. According to investigators, she had allowed people to abuse the young girl, starting when she was 3 years old, in exchange for drugs. The abuse allegedly lasted until March 2016.

Although charged with human trafficking by a parent or guardian, child abuse and sexual battery of a young child, the woman has denied her guilt. Law enforcement caught her boyfriend hiding in a boathouse on the East River. He had five warrants against him for crimes that included sex trafficking.

A conviction on human trafficking includes sometimes lifelong consequences, including the requirement to register as a sex offender. An attorney could advise a person facing serious allegations of this nature. A clear explanation of charges and potential penalties provided by an attorney could help a person choose between accepting a plea bargain or going to trial. An attorney might form a defense by questioning the validity of evidence or witness testimony and casting doubt in the minds of the jury during a trial. Alternatively, the attorney could approach the prosecutor and discuss a potential agreement in which the defendant would enter a plea of guilty to a reduced charge in exchange for a lighter penalty.

Source: FOX News, "Florida couple arrested after allegedly prostituting young girl for 13 years in exchange for drugs", Oct. 10, 2017

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