Human trafficking has become a widespread issue throughout the United States — and Florida is no exception to this trend. Human trafficking occurs when someone uses force or fraud to exploit another person for labor or sexual acts.
Those who engage in this so-called “modern-day slavery” trade are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But just because someone is accused of Human trafficking doesn’t mean that they are guilty of this crime or that the government can prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Even those accused are still entitled to a fair trial and must be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Anyone under investigation or accused of human trafficking must protect their rights immediately – even a mere accusation can have lasting effects. Any conviction for human trafficking carries a lengthy prison sentence and a sexual offender designation.
Overzealous prosecutors and law enforcement officers often label individuals as trafficking victims when they are not actual victims. Many times, human trafficking allegations involved organized groups of individuals who agreed to act as a team to sell sexual services online. These “victims’ can be actual victims, or they can be willing participants who want fast money. Sometimes, these “victims” are runaways. But usually, they are nothing more than transient sex workers who use “pimps” for protection. These allegations are not always what they seem.
If you have been charged with human trafficking, you may need to hire an attorney specializing in criminal defense with experience successfully defending people against human trafficking charges. Brian Kirlew, Esq. and the Kirlew Law Firm offers experienced, knowledgeable, and tailored defense for clients facing severe human trafficking charges.
Do not let a human trafficking charge result in a lengthy prison sentence and ruin your or a loved one’s life — call us today to take that first step toward protecting your rights and freedom.
What Does Human Trafficking Mean in Florida?
According to F.S. § 787.06 and contrary to popular belief, human trafficking is not only a form of sexual exploitation but also a means of exploitation of labor, which may include domestic servitude, restaurant work, janitorial work, sweatshop work, and migrant agricultural work.
The law requires that the alleged perpetrator recruited, enticed, harbored, transported, provided, or obtained another person through any means, including force, fraud, or coercion for forced labor or services. An individual who aids and abets trafficking is also guilty of human trafficking.
Human trafficking can take many forms, including:
- Confining the victim
- Isolating the victim from the general public and close family members
- Confiscating the victim’s passport
- Threatening to harm or harass the victim’s family members
- Threatening to imprison or deport the victim if they contact authorities
- Not releasing the victim’s funds
A conviction is generally obtained based on simple exploitation when the victim is a minor. The prosecution does not have to prove that the defendant coerced the individual into forced labor or sexual exploitation. Prosecutors will, however, have to provide evidence of coercion if the victim is an adult.
What are the Penalties for Human Trafficking in Florida?
An individual convicted of human trafficking faces penalties based on the victim’s age and whether the victim was trafficked for labor or sexual exploitation. The sentence can be 30 years in state prison if charged as a first-degree felony or up to life in state prison if charged as a life felony. Additionally, human trafficking charges can be brought in federal court instead of Florida state court.
Under F.S. § 775.082, engaging or attempting to engage in human trafficking can be charged as a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. No matter whether the defendant participated in a venture in which another person was subjected to human trafficking, this remains true.
In addition, defendants may be charged with a first-degree felony for the following:
- Coercing an adult into performing labor or services or engaging in commercial sexual activity
- Forcing an unauthorized immigrant minor to perform labor or services
- Coercing an unauthorized adult immigrant to perform labor services or engage in commercial sexual activity
- Transporting minors into Florida for labor or services
- Coercing someone across the state line to gain that person’s compliance in various situations, including labor and sexual activity
It is possible, however, for defendants to be charged with a life felony if they are accused of:
- Coercing a minor across the state line to gain their compliance in commercial sexual activity
- Recruiting a minor or someone who is mentally incapacitated for commercial sexual activity
- Transferring custody of a minor as a parent or legal guardian, knowing that the child will be subject to human trafficking as a result of the transfer
- Causing great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability to another person during the commission of a human trafficking offense
Act Quickly to Defend Your Rights — Contact the Kirlew Law Firm NOW!
The penalties in human trafficking cases can be severe, so if you have been accused of any offense involving trafficking in Florida, it is imperative that you contact an experienced defense attorney as soon as possible. Our team at the Kirlew Law Firm will be able to evaluate your case and help you build a strong defense strategy. Call (305) 521-0484 or contact us online for a free case evaluation.
Heidi S. Kirlew
Our Areas of Specialty
The fact is, there’s always something going on in a thriving metropolis like Miami. That means it’s easier than you might imagine to find yourself facing criminal charges. Given the dynamic nature of our city, it only makes sense for Brian Kirlew and his defense team to be flexible and responsive to the needs of his clients.
Our firm represents clients charged with any and all types of offenses in Miami and the greater South Florida area. The skills of an intelligent and experienced Miami criminal defense lawyer translate to all areas of criminal law. Therefore, we do not like to be bound by one or two particular areas as our “specialty.” We find defending against a broad spectrum of crimes to be more interesting and enjoyable to our practice.
Brian Kirlew, Esq. is experienced in defending all kinds of criminal felony and misdemeanor charges in the greater Miami area, including:
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When you’re facing criminal charges in Miami, time is of the essence. It’s important that you have the proper legal representation to ensure that you get the best outcome possible from your trial. At the Kirlew Law Firm, you, your family, and your business are what matter most to us. We want to ensure that you enjoy every advantage that our thorough and collaborative approach to criminal defense has to offer.
Brian Kirlew is here to represent you. You can schedule your free phone consultation with our criminal defense lawyers today to begin building a sound defense strategy.