Houston Human Trafficking Lawyer
What is Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is the intentional exploitation of another human being for profit by forcing or coercing them to engage in sexual conduct or forced labor. Sadly, it happens every day in the United States. In Texas alone, there are over 313,000 victims including 79,000 who are just children. If you or your child is a victim of human trafficking, consult a human trafficking lawyer to discuss whether you may have legal recourse against the persons and/or corporations who profited from the exploitation. Call Simmons and Fletcher, P.C, today to discuss your legal rights at (713) 932-0777.
Who is Liable for Human Trafficking?
Now, pretty much anyone that has a hand in the human trafficking process can be held liable for personal injuries and damages caused to the trafficked victim. For several years, there have been State Laws that extend liability to individuals involved in the exploitation of people for sex or services. Many states, including Texas, have enacted their own laws to hold persons and companies liable who not only promote human trafficking but also those that reap a monetary benefit or service. Under the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 98, any person or organization that engages in the trafficking of persons or knowingly receives a benefit by way of profit or services rendered from the trafficking of persons is potentially liable for it. Furthermore, in 2017, the federal government passed a law making it a crime to” own, manage or operate a website with the intent to promote or facilitate prostitution” thereby opening the door for websites who promote or facilitate prostitution to be held accountable for their actions.
Who are the Potential Defendants in Sex and Labor Trafficking Cases?
In light of the advancements in the legal world by both states and the federal government to hold those who exploit others accountable, there are many potential defendants who may be held liable for their role in the trafficking of humans including:
- Hotels, motels or other businesses that benefit indirectly from room rentals used for human trafficking.
- Restaurants, warehouses and other places where human trafficked labor provides a direct service to the business.
- Web personals, online dating sites or other websites that knowingly facilitate human trafficking.
- Newspapers, magazines or other print sources that facilitate human trafficking for sex or labor.
- Persons and/or organizations involved in placing kids/students in homes where exploitation has been reported to have previously occurred.
- Companies involved in providing transportation and/or travel services to places for the purpose of engaging in human trafficking.
- Johns and pimps directly involved in human trafficking.
In addition to the above, there may be other potential defendants since anyone who knowingly reaps a benefit from the trafficking of another person can be held liable. Courts have indicated that the laws are to be construed liberally to deter this sort of conduct.
How do You Prove Liability for Human Trafficking?
Liability for human trafficking is largely based upon proving awareness and either actively participating or turning a blind eye. Some persons who engage in the process of trafficking others clearly have knowledge of the crime being committed. Pimps are an example of this. However, proving that the various other organizations and entities that profit from it have knowledge that a human is being trafficked can be more complex. Some of the evidence lawyers may look for to prove these cases are actions that demonstrate that someone knew or should have realized that criminal exploitation was taking place and they chose to take their money and turn a blind eye. Some things we might look for include:
- Was the entity used as a location for the forced prostitution regularly rented to a person who brought many different victims in and/or had many different “johns” coming and going during each rental session?
- Was the victim a minor so that when they went into a hotel or motel regularly it should have raised a red flag that something was not right?
- Were there employees who saw the underage victim with a pimp and/or john regularly?
- Did anyone check IDs?
- Was there a procedure for monitoring who came and went into the building?
- Were there obvious signs of hiding illegal conduct in a landlord/tenant situation such as a strip mall “business” with blacked-out windows and no signs?
- Were there prior complaints about the place facilitating prostitution and/or exploitation?
- Did a website have reason to know that the site was being used for illicit purposes?
Attorneys for Human Trafficking Victims
Attorneys for human trafficking victims can help you determine who was aware of the criminal exploitation that was occurring and chose to turn a blind eye. Every case is unique. If you have questions about whether you may have a potential case, contact the Houston law office of Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. for a free consultation today. We understand that dealing with the aftermath of human trafficking can be scary. Take the first step and speak with a human trafficking lawyer today. The consultation is free and will be kept confidential.
Related topics: Sexual Abuse/Molestation Law