Prince George’s County Human Trafficking Lawyer
Human trafficking has received a great deal of attention in recent years. Law enforcement officials may be quick to charge this offense in situations where it is not warranted. This is to combat not only the recent spikes in underage trafficking, but to also pimping and the exploitation of minors.
If you are facing charges involving human trafficking or if you believe you could be charged with this offense, it is a good idea to talk to a Prince George’s County human trafficking lawyer. An experienced defense lawyer could work to defend your rights at all stages of proceedings and help you reach a positive outcome.
Both the state and federal government have passed laws to penalize human trafficking. While many of the laws are aimed at sex trafficking, individuals in Prince George’s County may also be prosecuted for labor trafficking.
Because victims of sex trafficking and labor trafficking are often young girls, lawmakers and police are under increasing pressure to make arrests, and judges and prosecutors may take a harsh stand against those accused to set an example. Therefore, it is wise for anyone facing allegations to consult a Prince George’s County human trafficking lawyer for advice on how to avoid taking actions or making statements that could be used against them later.
Sex Trafficking Statute
Under Md. Code, Crim. Law §11-303, several different types of actions may be prosecuted as human trafficking.
Those who profit from human trafficking activities may be penalized as severely as those who participate in activities involving human trafficking victims. However, the person charged must “knowingly” accept financial benefits to be guilty. A Prince Georges County human trafficking lawyer could defend someone accused of “receiving anything of value from participation in a venture” by showing that they lacked awareness of the source.
Actions Connected with Human Trafficking
Md. Code, Crim. Law §11-303(a) specifically prohibits certain actions connected with prostitution and sex trafficking. These include:
- Placing someone in a location to engage in prostitution
- Persuading or encouraging someone to be taken to a place for prostitution
- Procuring prostitutes
- Engaging in a scheme to convince someone that harm would result if they do not participate in a sexually explicit performance
- Hiding or destroying immigration documents in connection with sex trafficking
- Consenting to allow someone in custody or guardianship to participate in prostitution
In addition, aiding, abetting, or conspiring to commit any type of violation is also treated with the same consequences as committing an act directly.
Penalties For Human Trafficking
State statutes refer to sex trafficking as a “misdemeanor” in some cases, but the penalties are far heavier than penalties for misdemeanors in most jurisdictions. Someone convicted of a human trafficking violation that does not involve a minor could be sentenced to up to ten years in prison and fined up to $5,000 for that misdemeanor. A Prince Georges County human trafficking lawyer could seek alternative penalties.
If human trafficking offenses involve any minors, then the crimes become felonies. The maximum sentence could be as long as 25 years and the fine as high as $15,000. Lack of knowledge of the age of a minor is not considered a valid defense.
Contact a Prince Georges County Human Trafficking Attorney
Those accused of human trafficking may also face prosecution under federal law depending on the circumstances. Therefore, it is a good idea to work with an attorney who is familiar with both state and federal prosecution of human trafficking.
Even before criminal charges are filed, allegations of human trafficking cause tremendous damage to your reputation. It is wise to take a multi-faceted approach to defend against the charges, protect your rights, and work to minimize the adverse effects. A Prince George’s County human trafficking lawyer could assist and provide representation at each step in the proceedings and help you achieve a positive outcome.