Under Investigation For Human Trafficking In Houston?
Human trafficking is the phrase normally used to refer to sexual or forced labor slavery. In the United States, victims who were recruited, transported and coerced into sexual prostitution or forced labor are protected by The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA).
Outside of the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1865, prohibiting slavery and indentured servitude, the TVPA is the first comprehensive federal package to define and levy harsh sanctions against human trafficking.
If you were charged or indicted for human trafficking under federal law (18 U.S. Code § 1584-1591), you could be looking at life in prison.
What Is Human Trafficking?
The U.S. Code, Chapter 77, Title 18, defines human trafficking and its statutory consequences. The two main forms of human trafficking are sex slavery and work slavery. The modern term is human trafficking because slavery almost always involves removing the victim from his or her home to another location where they will be forced to perform the desired duties of their handlers.
Sex trafficking defined as the recruiting, transporting, harboring, patronizing or soliciting an individual for the purposes of carrying out sexual acts for commercial gain. In everyday language, this means using deception, making false promises and/or kidnapping someone, holding them in bondage, and forcing them to have sex in exchange for money or anything else of value.
Labor trafficking is the recruiting, transporting or obtaining a person for labor or other services by fraud (false promises) or force, and then subjecting the person to debt bondage, involuntary servitude or slavery.
These trafficking definitions are designed to strengthen existing laws to deter human trafficking rings and their growth in the U.S. Because human trafficking frequently involves kidnapping or a change in the victim’s residence, these charges usually are also violations of U.S. interstate commerce and/or maritime laws. There are few locations in the U.S. that lend themselves geographically to being an interstate commerce hub, but Houston is one of them. In Houston, law enforcement and federal prosecutors know that human sexual slavery is no longer a third-world problem, but a local one that results in many arrests. Some properly executed, while others, wrongfully.
Houston, Texas: A Haven For Sex Trafficking
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Texas is the number two sex trafficking state in the nation. Just as disturbing is the fact that Houston has emerged as one of the nation’s largest human trafficking hubs.
Houston has grown into a major hub for sexual slavery and forced indentured labor for three reasons:
- Houston is close to the Mexican border
- Its population is racially diverse
- It’s easily accessible from Mexico and to east/west traffic via the I-10 highway corridor
Criminal Penalties For Sex Trafficking
Criminal penalties vary widely for human trafficking offenses. They depend on the sections of the code violated, how the trafficking occurred and the characteristics of the victim.
The penalties are devastating if kidnapping, aggravated sexual assault, a child under age 14, or a teen aged 14-18, are involved. If the victim was under age 14, a conviction can result in life in prison, and up to 40 years if aged 14-18. If kidnapping, attempted kidnapping, aggravated sexual abuse or attempted aggravated sexual abuse, are part of the charge, a conviction carries not only fines but also the possibility of life in prison. Only occasionally will sex and labor trafficking offenses carry 5-10 or 25-year sentences.
Fighting Federal Human Trafficking Charges — Contact Attorney Paul Morgan
Federal DA’s dig deep and prosecute human trafficking charges tenaciously. They bring the entire weight of the United States of America against the accused. Frequently other criminal violations join the human trafficking charge, including money laundering, kidnapping and RICO violations.
Paul Morgan will provide strong legal guidance and a no-holds-barred defense on behalf of defendants facing charges that can result in life in prison. Paul Morgan Law Office, PLLC, is located in Houston and serves clients in Harris County, as well as Galveston, Fort Bend, Brazoria, Montgomery and Chamber counties.