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Published On: Wed, Jun 5th, 2019

Human Trafficking Attorney: Understand the Roles and Benefits

Human trafficking is a misunderstood concept. Nowadays, awareness of this concept is increasing among lawyers and ordinary people. A human traffiking attorney is responsible for representing the victim of human trafficking.

Remember, human trafficking is a modern form of slavery. It involves exploitation of children, women, and men for sex or forced labor by a 3rd party for a gain or profit. In sex trafficking, the commercial sex act is induced by coercion, fraud, or force. Moreover, labor trafficking involves harboring, recruitment, provision, obtaining, or transportation of a person for services or labor through force, coercion, or fraud. They need a workforce for subjection to peonage, involuntary servitude, debt bondage, slavery, or peonage.

Sex Trafficking Places

Some common sex trafficking venues are:

  • Residential brothels
  • Strip/hostess club-based
  • Street-based
  • Commercial fronted brothels
  • Online advertisements

Venues for Labor Trafficking

These are some potential venues for labor trafficking:

  • Traveling sales crew
  • Domestic work
  • Food service and restaurants
  • Agriculture
  • Health and beauty services
  • Commercial-fronted brothels

Some common trafficking activities include selling, harboring, recruiting, isolating, transporting, enticing, holding, receiving, providing, confining, purchasing, soliciting, profiting, and depriving liberty.

Photo/Sawso.org

Legal Opportunities for Human Trafficking Victims

State and federal laws exist for traffickers to support victims. As per federal laws, the TVPA (Trafficking Victims Protection Act) makes tracking a crime. The trafficking victims can get access to services and benefits, such as immigration visas and health benefits. Moreover, the victims can get the advantage of a civil action cause against defendants.

Trafficking victims can get financial compensation. They are qualified for civil damages and criminal restitution awards. Sometimes, victims may receive restitution for losses and value of their work. The payment can be controversial in specific cases, such as sex trafficking. It involves compensation for sex work that is illegal. Several federal courts may hold a victim that can’t deny restitution because for illicit activities.

Calculating the value of work labor trafficking can be simple than the cases of sex trafficking. Some victims may receive compensation. Remember, suits are common for civil labor trafficking and sex trafficking cases. Sex victims can get restitution awards. Sometimes, they can’t take traffickers to court. Damages and restitution can compensate for a victim and convict traffickers. Several trafficking victims face legal obligations to recover and move on from trafficked life.

Legal Requirements for Human Trafficking Victims

Along with some civil actions, recovering human trafficking victims may have a legal issue of several kinds. These issues can become an obstacle for recovering victims in moving forward. See some common barriers:

Family Law

Challenges of family law include child support, custody, and divorce issues. These are common obstacles. In numerous cases, the trafficker can be a co-parent or spouse of the victim.

Criminal Law

Expungement for criminal records is also essential. It decreases barriers to future employment. Several victims are qualified to expunge their criminal records. In some states, it is easy to expunge a criminal record for trafficking crimes.

Immigration Law

Several trafficking victims face immigration issues. Traffickers withhold their immigration documents and passport. They try to control the victims by keeping his/her papers. Victims often encounter urgent migration issues after successfully escaping a trafficking situation.

Tax Laws and Civil Laws

Public and tax benefit issues may surface when a victim receives restitution funds or settlement. He needs guidance for financial management. Victims often need civil advocates to obtain restitution awards during a criminal case.

These legal issues can become a common hindrance for victims when they try to leave a trafficked life. A human trafficking attorney can help them to start a new life.

Role of Every Bar Association to Help Human Trafficking Victims

To help human trafficking victims, an attorney will need specialized training on human trafficking needs, legal issues, and remedies. Not only human trafficking lawyer, but every bar association is responsible for helping them.

Pro Bono Lawyers

They can represent trafficked people in different cases. For instance, assist with motions to evacuate trafficking criminal convictions. They may offer immigration representation to provide specialized relief for trafficking victims. Victims without any immigration status need your help. Different state and federal laws offer private action causes for trafficked people to sue traffickers.  

Other than these cases, these attorneys need training for human trafficking to identify actual trafficked victims. The victims should be able to access comprehensive protection from the law.

Prosecutors

They will need the training to represent trafficked people after improving collaboration and coordination with service providers. Prosecutors should expand essential skills to identify victims. He has to develop large victim cases, the immigration process, and prosecute significant trafficking victims. Prosecutor can deal with numerous issues for human trafficking prosecutions.

Defense Attorneys

These lawyers can play an important role to identify a wrongly treated perpetrator or offenders as compared to victims. It is common in sex trafficking and labor trafficking. For instance, undocumented victims may enter the system because of immigration violation charges or other trafficking crimes. Defense attorneys should represent these victims.

Immigration Attorneys

They will need training for human trafficking to improve and develop screening tools. With these tools, undocumented individuals can access special immigration reliefs available for trafficking victims. They may offer immigration representation via specialized relief. This relief is available for trafficking victims without immigration status.

Family Law Lawyers

They may need extra training to classify trafficked folks from their domestic law clientele to link them with augmented defenses for trafficking victims.

Plaintiff trial lawyer also needs the training to recognize human trafficking in the experience of their clients. They may acclimatize their pleadings for action causes of human trafficking in employment cases.        

Corporate Counsel

They receive consultation and training for human trafficking to decrease corporate hazard in criminal accountability. Corporate counsel must adhere to necessary compliance requirements related to slavery in supply chains. It can help companies to preserve their reputation in public.

Slavery Laws   

Human trafficking and slavery are prohibited in the USA. Federal laws address human trafficking and slavery along with forced labor, involuntary servitude, sex trafficking, and labor trafficking. Along with outlawing slavery and human trafficking, federal laws punish and prohibit some acts related to human trafficking. These acts include:

  • Enticing and luring a person to board a vessel or visit a place to confine people as slaves.
  • Carrying away or kidnapping a person to sell or hold them in captivity
  • Transporting people with the intent or knowledge that a person must be sold or kept as a slave
  • Selling people into involuntary bondage
  • Concealment, removal, confiscation or destruction of a passport or other documents with the intention of trafficking or preventing or restricting their travel
  • Earning from slavery, trafficking or peonage in persons

Penalties for Human Trafficking Slavery

People involved in human smuggling may face severe penalties. A sentence for holding people in peonage may carry a potential fine. A trafficker may face a prison sentence for almost 20 years. Sexual abuse, kidnapping, and several aggravating factors can increase the punishments of traffickers. They have to spend their lives in custody.

Children’s sex trafficking by fraud or force may carry harsh penalties. Prison sentences for these crimes may carry a life sentence or 10 years of prison. The sentence may depend on the details of victims and offenses.

The law punishes and prohibits conspiracies and attempts related to human trafficking. It may order the forfeit of property utilized in violation of the law. The law may include clauses for principal payments to recompense the victim for a full amount of losses. This amount is often determined by the court.     

Difference Between Federal and State Statutes

The government may take a firm stance against human trafficking within its border. In the USA, human trafficking becomes a federal crime under 18 Title. Section 1584 prohibits anyone from forcing a person to work against his/her will. You can’t sell a person for involuntary servitude.

Numerous state governments take action for human trafficking inside their borders. They may prefer prevention or legislation activities. State law of Florida strictly prohibits sex trafficking, domestic servitude, and forced labor.

Crimes Related to Human Trafficking

Trafficking must be comprehended as a procedure instead of a sole offense. It starts with recruitment or abduction of a person. The process continues with the transportation and entry of this individual into a new location. After transportation, an exploitation phase is started. During this phase, the person is forced for labor or sexual servitude.

Sometimes, this process includes an offender. Based on the sophistication and size of trafficking operations, the criminals may prefer to launder the proceeds of crime. Trafficking process may force offenders to perpetrate some offense. Sometimes, trafficking operations link with other crimes, such as smuggling of drugs and weapons. Assaults are committed in protection or furtherance of trafficking operations.

Tax evasion and money laundering are some common crime. The main motive of these criminals is to protect their illicit procedure of human trafficking. Sexually exploited people are arrested for trafficking-related crimes like prostitution. States are focusing on addressing youngsters because they are the primary target. They are taking the necessary steps to protect youth. With these actions, minors may get freedom from prosecution.

Author: Michael Wright

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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