Human trafficking is an umbrella term for different crimes that typically involve the use of coercion or fraud to force victims to engage in labor services against their will. Considered a contemporary form of slavery, human trafficking is often associated with commercial sex but can encompass other types of forced work.
In Massachusetts, penalties for a human trafficking conviction depend on the specifics of the crime and whether the case also falls under federal laws on human trafficking. Penalties can be severe and hiring a reputable criminal defense lawyer is central to securing a positive outcome if you face any accusations of human trafficking.
Possible Penalties for a Human Trafficking Conviction in MA
Section 50 of Chapter 265 of the Massachusetts General Laws codifies human trafficking and can result in the possible penalties:
- 5 to 20 years in state prison (up to a lifetime if the victim is under 18)
- Up to $25,000 in fines (up to $1,000,000 if the convicted party is a business)
If the conviction is for sex trafficking, the law requires registration as a sex offender for 10 to 20 years. The registration may be for a lifetime in certain circumstances.
Other Consequences of a Human Trafficking Conviction
In addition to hefty fines and prison sentences, a conviction for human trafficking can severely affect your personal and professional life. It can limit your employment, educational, housing, and financial opportunities. It may also impact your ability to own a firearm.
If you have minor children, a conviction for human trafficking may interfere with custody court orders and your parental rights.
Federal Laws and Human Trafficking
If the specific human trafficking crime you are charged with violates U.S. federal laws, you may be tried by a federal court. Government agencies such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation conduct investigations and gather evidence for alleged federal offenses. More substantial resources are available for cases at the federal level and generally have a higher risk of resulting in a conviction.
Chapter 77 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code codified human trafficking. The penalties can involve more costly fines and longer prison sentences, up to a lifetime, than those at the state level. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act has also led to more and larger task forces dedicated to this type of crime. A human trafficking conviction at the federal level can result in your placement on a federal watch list.
Human trafficking offenses at the federal level include involuntary servitude, forced labor, and peonage. Federal laws can also apply to sex trafficking, including sex trafficking of children.
Hire an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney to Protect Your Interests
As soon as you face charges of human trafficking, you should hire a competent criminal defense lawyer. At Brad Bailey Law firm, we bring decades of experience advocating for our client’s rights and future. As a former state and federal prosecutor and nationally recognized defense attorney, Brad Bailey has the professional experience and successful track record you need to help you secure a positive outcome.
Although you should cooperate with law enforcement, you should not answer their questions until you have spoken with a lawyer, to which you have a legal right. We can conduct our own investigation and work with law enforcement and other professional experts to build a strong defense. Our firm strives to obtain a dismissal of charges whenever possible, and if this is not an option, we fight to get a reduction of sentence.
Brad Bailey Law offers aggressive legal representation for individuals accused of human trafficking. Contact us today at (617) 500-0252 to schedule a consultation for trusted criminal defense in Boston.