Have you Been Charged with Trafficking of Persons for Labor or Sexual Servitude?
Trafficking people for labor or sexual servitude is one of those crimes that is frequently discussed on news stations, talk radio, and on college campuses. It receives negative connotations and Georgia is known for Highway 20, also known as the sex trafficking superhighway. Georgia has been trying to crack down on trafficking for labor and sexual servitude, so it is important to know the intricacies of the law. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Trafficking Attorneys are experts in their field and are prepared to help you or your loved one with your case. You need representation from the very beginning to help you formulate the best defense possible so do not wait to call.
Georgia law breaks down trafficking of people into two categories: labor and sexual. Both categories are heavily penalized, but it is also important to know the difference between the two.
Georgia law defines labor servitude as work or service of economic or financial value which is performed or provided by another individual and is induced or obtained by coercion or deception. O.C.G.A. §16-5-46(a)(5)
Therefore, the crime of labor servitude is when a person knowingly subjects another person to or maintains another person in labor servitude or knowingly recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means another person for the purpose of labor servitude. O.C.G.A. §16-5-46(b)
Sexual servitude means any sexually explicit conduct or performance involving sexually explicit conduct for which anything of value is directly or indirectly given, promised to, or received by any individual, which conduct is induced or obtained:
- By coercion or deception;
- From an individual who is under the age of 18 years;
- From an individual whom the accused believes to be under the age of 18 years;
- From an individual who has a development disability; or
- From an individual from whom the accused believes to have a development disability. O.C.G.A. §16-5-46(8).
Therefore, Georgia outlines the crime of sexual servitude as when a person knowingly subjects another person to or maintains another person in sexual servitude or knowingly recruits, entices, harbors, transports, provides, or obtains by any means another for the purpose of sexual servitude. O.C.G.A. §15-5-46(c)
Corporations Involved with Trafficking of Persons
Georgia law has a specific section, O.C.G.A. § 16-5-46(j), dedicated to corporations if an agent performs the conduct, which is an element of the crime of trafficking while acting within the scope of his or her office of employment. The crime could also be committed if the conduct was committed on behalf of the corporation and the commission of the crime was either authorized, requested, commanded, performed, or within the scope of his or her employment or constituted a pattern of illegal activity that an agent of the company knew or should have known was occurring.
Consequences for Being Convicted of Trafficking in Georgia
Any person who commits the offense of trafficking an individual for labor or sexual servitude will be guilty of a felony and will be punished by a prison term of ten to twenty years and a fine not to exceed $100,000.00.
The penalty is escalated if the person has a developmental disability or was under the age of 18 and was coerced or deceived into being trafficked for labor or sexual servitude. Upon conviction, the accused will be guilty of a felony and will receive a fine up to $100,000.00 and a prison term between twenty-five and fifty years.
Defenses to Trafficking
Lack of Knowledge: If you were unaware you were subjecting someone to labor or sexual servitude; then that would be taken into consideration by the Court. Your Attorney would work with you to thoroughly develop this defense.
Trafficking for sexual servitude has a couple of affirmative defenses that apply directly: coercion and deception. If either of these defenses can be supported by sufficient evidence, it will reduce if not eliminate criminal liability.
There are various other defenses available to you. You and your Attorney will work together to develop defenses that are relevant to your case.
What are not Defenses
Consent: Even if the individual is over the age of consent for sexual activity, that will not be a sufficient defense because the Court feels that one cannot fully consent to this crime.
Lack of Knowledge of the Age or Development Disability: Although the defendant may have not known of the individual's development disability or believed the victim was a different age; that will not be an adequate defense at Court.
Georgia heavily penalizes people who are convicted of trafficking others for the purpose of labor or sexual servitude. Therefore, it is crucial to retain a knowledgeable lawyer from the very beginning. Lawson and Berry and their team of Georgia Criminal Defense Attorneys will work with you every step of the way and will be available nights, weekends, and even holidays. They are dedicated to you. Don't wait to call; contact us today for a free consultation.