The term “human trafficking” is often referred to as a modern form of slavery. Persons who are forced into labor, marriages, sexual slavery, commercial sexual exploitation or other forms of servitude are considered victims of human trafficking. Any person charged with human trafficking may face negative social stigma, steep fines, and possible incarceration.
Texas is a huge hub for human trafficking as it serves as an international border. Both law enforcement and federal investigators are on the lookout for those trafficking persons in Texas. If your or someone you know has been charged with human trafficking in the Bexar County area, it’s highly recommended that you gain trusted legal representation trained in federal law.
San Antonio Attorneys for Human Trafficking in Texas
Human trafficking charges can come along with severe penalties. A human trafficking conviction can lead to substantial fines, lengthy prison sentences, and possible asset forfeiture. Additionally, mere allegations of human trafficking can damage a reputation forever. If you have been charged with human trafficking, it’s crucial you call the attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr.
The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr are experienced attorneys with a strong focus in criminal defense. We want to use our resources to protect your freedoms and reputations. Let us be your legal partner in these stressful proceedings. Call the attorneys at (210) 226-1463 for a free consultation.
Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr accepts clients throughout the greater San Antonio area including Sandy Oaks, Converse, Universal City, Schertz, Selma, and Live Oak.
Overview of Human Trafficking Charges in Texas
- Elements for Human Trafficking
- Penalties for Human Trafficking
- Continuous Trafficking of Persons
- Statute of Limitations
- Additional Resources
Elements for Human Trafficking under Texas Law
In Texas it is illegal to traffic another person for forced labor or services. Texas Penal Code § 20A.02 outlines the following elements for a person to be convicted with human trafficking.
If the alleged offender:
- Intentionally traffics another person into forced labor or services;
- Gains a benefit from participating in a human trafficking venture, which includes receiving services or labor from a trafficked person(s);
- Traffics another person through the means of coercion, fraud, or force and causes the trafficked victim to engage in any of the following:
- Engages in sexual conduct with a sex trafficking victim through force, fraud, or coercion;
- Receives some sort of benefit from participating in a sex trafficking venture;
- Intentionally traffics a child into forced services or labor;
- Gains a benefit from participating in a child trafficking venture which includes gaining services or labor from the child themselves.
- Intentionally traffics a child for the purpose of forcing him or her participating in any of the following offenses:
- Indecency with a child;
- Sexual assault;
- Aggravated sexual assault;
- Promotion of prostitution;
- Aggravated promotion of prostitution;
- Compelling prostitution;
- Employment harmful to children;
- Possession or promotion of child pornography;
- Sexual performance by a child; or
- Continuous sexual abuse of young child or children.
- Gains some sort of benefit from participating in a venture that involves sex trafficking of a child; or
- Engages in some sort of sexual conduct with a child trafficked.
Take note, the term “coercion” includes the act of or threat of concealing, confiscating, destroying, or withholding government records or identifying documents from a person who is being trafficked.
Penalties for Human Trafficking in Texas
The penalties for human trafficking charges are dependent on the age of the victim and if any injury occurs. Texas Penal Code § 20A.02 states a person convicted for human trafficking may face a second-degree felony. The penalties for a second-degree felony include:
- A minimum of 2 years and a maximum of 20 years in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000.
If the offense involves trafficking of a child, results in the death of a trafficked person, or results in the death of an unborn child of a trafficking victim, he or she will face a first-degree felony. The penalties for a first-degree felony include:
- A minimum of five years and a maximum of 99 years or life in prison; and
- A possible fine of up to $10,000.
Continuous Trafficking of Persons in Texas
In most human trafficking cases, the operation may last for an extended period of time with more than one victim. Texas considers this to be an offense called “continuous trafficking of persons.” Texas Penal Code § 20A.03 outlines the elements a person must fulfill to be charged with continuous trafficking of persons.
A person commits an offense if:
- During a period that is 30 or more days in duration; and
- The alleged offender engages two or more times in conduct that would constitute as human trafficking under Texas law.
A conviction for continuous trafficking of persons may result in a first-degree felony. The legal consequences of a first-degree felony are a maximum of life imprisonment, and a possible fine of up to $10,000.
Statute of Limitations
Prosecutors have a certain amount of time to gather evidence and be able to file criminal charges against a person. This deadline is legally known as a statute of limitations. A statute of limitations purpose is to preserve evidence integrity and ensure that the criminal system is handling crimes with efficiency.
For a human trafficking offense, the statute of limitations has been broadened to 10 years. This includes if the alleged offender has committed other offenses such as sexual assault in conjunctions with his or her crimes. The prosecution has 10 years to file criminal charges for a case to be considered valid.
Texas Human Trafficking Laws – Visit the official website for Texas Penal Code, a collection of state laws and regulations. Find more information surrounding human trafficking, continuous human trafficking, and legal definitions for trafficking offenses.
Human Trafficking | Attorney General – Visit the official website for Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas. Find more information surrounding human trafficking in Texas, gain access to human trafficking statistics and data, Ken Paxton’s task force for human trafficking, and the plan for the Human Trafficking and Transnational/Organized Crime Section (HTTOC).
Human Trafficking Lawyer in Bexar County, Texas
Are you currently being investigated for human trafficking or sex trafficking in the Bexar County area? The attorneys at Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr understand the ins and outs of Texas and federal human trafficking laws. We are passionate about criminal defense and want to use our experience to help you. Gain a partner in the legal system today with Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr.
Goldstein, Goldstein, Hilley & Orr represents clients throughout the Bexar County area including Blanco County, Kendall County, Comal County, Medina County, and Wilson County.
Call us now at (210) 226-1463 to speak to an attorney regarding your case.
This article was last updated on November 7, 2018.