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Human trafficking is considered a modern day form of slavery, and generally involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to control victims for the purpose of having them engage in commercial sex acts or labor services against their will.
There are several crimes that fall under the umbrella of human trafficking, both in state and federal courts. If you or a loved one is under investigation for, or charged with, a human trafficking crime, it’s important to know what you are being charged with and the penalties you are facing.
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Human Trafficking According to Federal Law
Human trafficking crimes are codified in Chapter 77 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code (§§1581 – 1597). Each of these carries with them the possibility of substantial fines and/or lengthy terms of incarceration if a person is convicted of violating any one of them.
Since the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s inception, there has been a concerted effort by the US Government to stop human trafficking: 42 task forces have been dedicated to stopping these crimes, bringing together local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. As a result, the number of investigations, prosecutions, and convictions have dramatically increased in recent years.
Some of the most often charged federal human trafficking crimes include:
- Peonage 18 U.S.C. § 1581
- Involuntary Servitude 18 U.S.C. § 1584
- Forced Labor 18 U.S.C. § 1589
- Trafficking for Peonage, Slavery, Involuntary Servitude, or Forced Labor 18 U.S.C. § 1590
- Sex Trafficking of Children by Force, Fraud, or Coercion 18 U.S.C. § 1591
- Transportation for Illegal Sexual Activity Chapter 117 of Title 18 (§§ 2421 – 2428)
What are the Penalties for Human Trafficking?
On the state side, Human Trafficking is codified at Section 50 of Chapter 265 of the Massachusetts General Laws. The possible penalties in state court include a mandatory minimum state prison sentence of at least 5 years, and up to 20 years and a fine of up to $25,000. If the victim is under 18 years old, the possible punishment increases, beginning with the same mandatory minimum 5 years sentence, but the incarceration may be for any term of years, up to and including life. If the convicted entity is a business, the fine is up to $1,000,000.
Because human trafficking allegations usually include for profit clubs, spas, brothels and massage parlors, state prosecutors often accompany these indictments with state money laundering charges, which in Massachusetts carry a penalty of up to 6 years in state prison.
Also, it is important to note that a human trafficking conviction is considered a sex crime requiring sex offender registration for a presumed minimum of 10 years, and up to 20 years, with the Massachusetts SORB, and in some cases, lifetime registration.
In sum, Human Trafficking offenses are very serious matters. If you or a loved one is under investigation for, or charged with, any human trafficking offense, whether in federal or state court, it is imperative that you hire the most experienced criminal defense attorney you can.
Schedule a Consult with Brad Bailey Law
With over 33 years of experience on both sides of the aisle as a former (state and federal) prosecutor and long-time state and federal criminal defense attorney, Brad Bailey has the precise experience needed to successfully defend these types of charges. More importantly, he actually has defended these types of charges.
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