Human trafficking has become a serious issue in the United States in recent years. It’s such a problem that Washington became the first state to criminalize this type of offense in 2003. Many other states have followed suit since then. There are two primary types of human trafficking. There’s forced labor and sexual servitude.
Forced laborers are employed in any number of industries including the agricultural, domestic work, health and beauty, travel, restaurant and foodservice ones. Many of the individuals who have been brought here against their will also work in commercial brothels.
Sex traffic workers may work in places like strip clubs, massage parlors or residential or commercial brothels. Some of these individuals also work as streetwalkers or are offered up on the internet through online advertisements.
A variety of activities fall under the definition of human trafficking. Anyone who recruits, transports, transfers, receives or harbors individuals to exploit them can be charged with human trafficking. Someone who sells individuals, entices, isolates, confines or otherwise deprives them of their liberties or makes money off of them may also be charged with this crime.
Human trafficking laws vary by jurisdiction. States such as Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi don’t just prosecute private citizens who commit this crime, but also business owners that engage in such illicit activity as well. Lawmakers in Vermont may classify anyone who engages in a commercial sex business venture as engaging in human trafficking.
Human trafficking can be either a state or federal offense depending on if the crime crossed borders. Each jurisdiction has its definition of fraud, coercion and force as it relates to human trafficking. Some defendants may face enhanced penalties for transporting vulnerable populations such as children, undocumented immigrants and those with mental disabilities.
If you’ve been charged with human trafficking, then you’re likely facing some serious penalties. Businesses can be assessed up to one million dollars in fines per offense and their owners be sentenced up to 10 years in prison.
Human trafficking may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or felony depending on the state in which the charges are waged. This type of crime can lead to many other charges too. This is why you’ll want to have a sex offenses attorney representing your interests if you’ve been charged with such a crime here in Tampa or anywhere else in Florida for that matter.