Houston Human Trafficking Charges Lawyer
Texas law enforcement officials are on the lookout for human trafficking in the Houston area. Houston is an ideal location for trafficking humans due to the area’s easy access to water and air transportation. The high incidence of human trafficking charges and prosecutions frequently leads to false allegations and unsubstantiated convictions. When someone is facing a criminal investigation for trafficking, the legal representation of a qualified human trafficking defense lawyer is vital.
Criminal Charges for Human Trafficking
Thousands of individuals become the victims of human slavery, also known as human trafficking, each and every year in the state of Texas. Traffickers of humans use various means of coercion, fraudulent acts or force to trap their unsuspecting victims. Human trafficking victims, including minor children under the age of 18, are often used for child labor or commercial sex acts. Texas law expressly prohibits the following activities for the purpose of trafficking humans:
Child Sex Trafficking
Human trafficking becomes child sex trafficking when a child under the age of 18 is involved. These young victims, often between the ages of 12 and 13, are commonly subjected to many other forms of abuse, including false imprisonment, sexually abusive acts, sexual assault, labor code violations and kidnapping.
Even though many of these activities do not constitute a sexual offense, overzealous prosecutors may charge a suspect with child sex trafficking anyway. A trafficking humans defense lawyer with experience defending clients against the trafficking of human beings understands Texas human trafficking laws and the most effective means of avoiding a conviction.
Section 20A.02 of the Texas Penal Code prohibits the following child trafficking activities:
- Knowingly trafficking with the intent to involve a child in forced labor
- Benefitting in any way from an activity that involves trafficking
- Benefitting from or engaging in sexual activity with a child trafficking victim
- Using a trafficked child for prostitution, sexual assault or continuous sexual abuse
- Causing a child to engage in harmful employment
- Committing indecency, promoting pornography or sexual performance with a trafficked child
Trafficking Humans Penalties
The punishment for a child trafficking conviction depends on the previous criminal record of the defendant and whether a weapon was used to commit the crime. As a general rule, a child sex trafficking conviction is a first-degree felony in the state of Texas. A defendant can receive a sentence of five years to life in prison and a fine up to $10,000.
Speak to a Human Trafficking Charges Attorney in Houston, TX
Even a false allegation of human trafficking can result in a damaging criminal record. Convicted felons can lose their eligibility to participate in certain occupations, vote or own a firearm. A child sex trafficking conviction can also result in a requirement to register as a sex offender. If you are facing human trafficking charges, you can lessen your chances of being convicted by making the prosecution prove every element of their case.
To speak to Houston attorney Brett Podolsky about your human trafficking charges, call 713-227-0087 to set up an appointment.