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Apr 25
2016

Human Trafficking

Law enforcement in Texas, and around the nation, has begun to crack down on human trafficking. Human trafficking demeans and exploits its victims. Perpetrators of this crime frequently prey upon vulnerable populations, such as the young, the transgendered, and illegal aliens hoping to come to the U.S., among others. Many are lured through social media and are fooled by people pretending to be someone else. The victims are essentially slaves, forced to live and work in deplorable conditions that are unfit for animals, let alone humans. While police are taking a hard stand and fighting to stop this scourge on today’s society, law enforcement can rush to judgment and accuse innocent people of wrongdoing in the name of eradicating this horrible crime. Fort Worth criminal defense attorney Brandon Fulgham has seen innocent people accused of crimes they did not commit because law enforcement rushed to judgment and prematurely arrested people without knowing all of the facts.

Texas takes a hard stand against human trafficking. Trafficking of humans is defined as enticing, recruiting, or transporting a person with the intent to force the person to perform labor or services. A person is guilty of human trafficking if they are part of a venture and not the principal actor. Additionally, human trafficking can be receiving a benefit from the forced labor or service. Furthermore, a person can commit human trafficking by using the threat of force against someone to engage in prostitution services. Although, the victims may not necessarily be forced into sexual abuse or prostitution. They may be forced to smuggle drugs or other humans, or to perform labor for free.

The penalty for human trafficking is severe. Generally, human trafficking is a second-degree felony. A person convicted of a second-degree felony may be incarcerated for up to 20 years but no fewer than 2 years. The crime becomes a first-degree felony if a child is the victim of the human trafficking. A first-degree felony is punishable by a life sentence or a term of years not to exceed 99 but no less than 5 years. As a result, a person faces life in prison if they are convicted of human trafficking involving sexual assault, indecency, child pornography, prostitution, forced labor that is harmful to a child, or receives a benefit from these services. Also, a person faces a first-degree felony if the person receives a benefit from a venture involved in human trafficking or engages in sexual contact with a child who is the victim of human trafficking. Believing the child to be older than 18 does not reduce this charge to a second-degree felony.

Engaging in a human trafficking operation that lasts longer than 30 days is also a first-degree felony.  This is known as “continuous human trafficking.” To be continuous, the operation must involve at least two instances of conduct that constitutes human trafficking for 30 days or longer with one or more victim. The sentence may be life or any term of years not to exceed 99 but may not be any less than 25 years’ incarceration.

A recent investigation by Dallas police puts the crime into perspective. According to the Dallas Morning News, two young men were charged with trafficking a child, among other offenses, and arrested. They allegedly lured a 15-year-old girl who was a runaway to a particular location. There, she was forced to engage in sexual conduct for a fee with at least six men per day. The abuse lasted for approximately two weeks. The accused allegedly lured the young girl through Facebook. The girl reported the abuse to police after they took her into custody for being a runaway. Now the two young men face first-degree felony charges.

An Experienced Defense Attorney Will Perform A Thorough Investigation To Build Your Defense

While the police are prone to rushing to judgment and charging people, Fort Worth criminal defense attorney Brandon Fulgham knows the importance of a thorough investigation to mount a successful defense. Attorney Fulgham will work with you to find out all of the facts involved in your case. Armed with all of the facts, Fulgham will present your side of the story to the jury and try to convince them you are innocent. Call Attorney Brandon Fulgham today at 817-764-1392 to make an appointment to discuss your case with him.

Sources:

1. Tx. Penal Code 20A.01 et seq.

2. Tx. Penal Code 12.01 et seq.

3. Assessing the Threat of Human Trafficking in Texas, Texas Dept. of Safety, April 2014

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