Fort Worth Human Trafficking Lawyer
There are few crimes that have such an ugly connotation connected to them than human trafficking. Texas has the second highest number of reported cases of human trafficking in the United States by state, according to the National Human Trafficking Hotline. Unfortunately, sometimes police charge someone with human trafficking based on a custody dispute or simple misunderstanding, which could have lasting unwarranted consequences for the person the police accuse. If you are facing such charges, a Fort Worth human trafficking lawyer’s representation could be vital. You have the right to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney no matter what you are charged with, and you may find doing so to be invaluable.
What Constitutes Human Trafficking?
Texas Penal Code §20A.02 defines the various ways in which a resident of Fort Worth may “traffic” a human being. These include:
- Moving another person against their will—or “trafficking” them—for the purpose of making them “engage in forced labor or services”
- Knowingly receiving services from a trafficked person
- Tricking or forcing a person through trafficking into some form of prostitution or an activity that supports prostitution
- Trafficking a child on the presumption that another person will force the child into labor
- Trafficking a child into forced prostitution or harmful work
The government can also charge someone with trafficking if they receive some benefit from working in a venture that participates in any of the above-described activities. For further clarification about the law defines these particular acts, it may be best to speak to a Fort Worth human trafficking lawyer.
Potential Penalties for Human Trafficking
At its most basic level, human trafficking is charged as a second-degree felony. If the victim is a child, the government would upgrade the charge to a first-degree felony regardless of whether the alleged trafficker knew the person trafficked was underage. Trafficking is also a first-degree felony if the victim dies or an unborn child of the trafficked person dies, whether through natural causes, untreated illness, or abortion.
Continuous Trafficking of Persons
If the police believe someone has engaged in at least two incidents of trafficking within a thirty-day period, the court may be able to convict that person of continuous trafficking of persons under TPC §20A.03. The prosecution in such cases does not need to prove the exact dates that the trafficking occurred, just that the defendant engaged in the alleged acts during a thirty-day period.
Continuous trafficking of persons is a first-degree felony, the minimum sentence for which is 25 years in prison up to a maximum of life imprisonment. In order to minimize potential charges, getting help from a human trafficking lawyer in Fort Worth to contest the applicability of this charge may be essential.
Forced Witnesses to Human Trafficking
If the government forces a witness to testify in a human trafficking case, the government must grant that person immunity in exchange for their testimony at court, as stated in TPC §20A.04. However, if the witness commits perjury, a prosecutor may pursue claims for that act.
Work with a Fort Worth Human Trafficking Attorney Today
Human trafficking is one of the most severely punished crimes in the Texas Penal Code. If the police have accused you of such an act, assistance from an attorney who has worked in the court system and knows how the process usually proceeds may make all the difference in your situation.
A seasoned Fort Worth human trafficking lawyer could advise you about your rights, possible defenses, and the best strategy moving forward. Do not face prosecution for such a serious allegation alone. Find out what your options are by calling today.