Human trafficking is often referred to as modern slavery by both media and politicians. Over the years, the coverage surrounding human trafficking has intensified nationwide. More people are interested in these cases now more than ever, so the courts are looking to make examples out of defendants facing charges of human trafficking. These crimes carry life-changing penalties that could affect you for the rest of your days. You also could be charged on the federal or state level depending on the facts of the case.
If you or someone you know has been charged with human trafficking, it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible for assistance. As you might imagine, these cases are complex and require a thorough understanding of both state and federal laws. Having a rookie attorney on your side with such serious charges could be what puts you in prison. That is why we highly encourage you to reach out to J. Dallo if you’ve been accused of human trafficking or sex trafficking in the state of Michigan.
Human Trafficking Lawyer, Oakland County | Michigan
According to state officials and law enforcement, Michigan is a “hub” for sex trafficking as both a recruitment and destination state. This can be seen by the National Human Trafficking Hotline who reported that Michigan has the 11th highest call volume of all states in the U.S. Since these cases are on the rise, law enforcement is on high alert for possible suspects of human trafficking.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for a type of human trafficking or sex trafficking, it’s within your best interest to call Dallo Law, P.C.. You will need a powerful, highly skilled attorney to fight these heinous allegations. Not just any attorney, but a lawyer with an in-depth understanding of how human trafficking schemes work and the laws behind them.
Set up your first consultation with defense attorney J. Dallo by calling our offices at (248) 283-7000. Dallo Law, P.C. is located in Bloomfield Hills but accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County area including Birmingham, Sterling Heights, Rochester, Rochester Hills, Clarkston, Waterford Township, Warren, Romeo, Eastpointe, Roseville, Clinton Township, Farmington Hills, Madison Heights, and West Bloomfield Township.
- Michigan Human Trafficking Laws
- Penalty for Human Trafficking in MI
- Federal Laws for Human Trafficking
- Additional Resources
Michigan Human Trafficking Laws
Since human trafficking is such a pervasive and serious issue the state of Michigan has devoted a whole chapter to the crime under the Penal Code. These statutes address all types of human trafficking ranging from forced labor to non-consensual commercial sexual activity. According to Chapter LXVIIA of the Penal Code, it’s unlawful to do any of the following:
- Recruit, entice, harbor, provide, transport, or obtain a person for forced labor/services
- Recruit, entice, harbor, provide, transport, or obtain a person for the purpose of holding them hostage via debt bondage
- Recruit, entice, harbor, provide, transport, or obtain a person by any means knowing they will be forced to provide labor or services or will be held in debt bondage
- Benefit financially or receive anything of value from participating in such an enterprise
- Recruit, entice, harbor, provide, transport, or obtain a minor for commercial sexual activity (even if you don’t know the minor’s real age or they are lying about their age)
- Recruit, entice, harbor, provide, transport, or obtain a minor for forced labor/services (even if you don’t know the minor’s real age or they are lying about their age)
To fully understand the statute, you’ll need to know some legal definitions. Under section 750.462a of the Penal Code, the term “bodily injury” is described as any physical injury. While “serious bodily injury” is any physical injury that requires treatment.
The term “commercial sexual activity” refers to one or more of the following actions for which something of value was given or exchanged by any person.
- Act of sexual penetration or sexual contact
- Conduct related to viewing, transmitting, or creating child pornography
- Any sexually explicit performance
The phrase “debt bondage” essentially means the status or condition from a debt where the debtor provides their own personal services to the individual, they are in debt to as security for said debt. In a debt bondage scenario, the value of the services is not reasonably assessed or applied to the liquidation of the debt, and the nature of how the debt will be resolved is not limited or even defined.
Punishment for Human Trafficking in Michigan
A conviction for human trafficking can result in life-altering penalties. These consequences are determined based off the facts of the case. The sentencing guidelines for human trafficking can be found under Michigan law section 750.462f of the Penal Code.
In most cases, violating the human trafficking chapter of the Penal Code will result in a felony offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. However, the judge may extend sentencing for the offense if there is evidence that:
- A person sustained a bodily injury because of the human trafficking crime
- The alleged victim engaged in commercial sexual activity during the commission of the human trafficking crime
If either occurs, the judge will extend the prison sentence up to 15 years with a fine of up to $15,000. The courts may enhance the penalties even further if the alleged victim suffers from a serious bodily in connection to the human trafficking violation. In this case, the court will prolong the prison sentence to no more than 20 years with a $20,000 fine.
Violations involving any of the following crimes will result in a felony punishable by life or any term deemed appropriate by the court as well as a fine of $50,000.
- Kidnapping or attempted kidnapping
- Criminal sexual conduct in the first degree
- Attempted criminal sexual conduct in the first degree
- Attempted to kill the alleged victim
Committing a human trafficking violation involving a minor will result in a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. Any attempt or conspiracy to commit human trafficking will still result in the same penalty even if you never committed the offense.
What Are the Federal Laws on Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is illegal on both the federal and state level and depending on the facts of the case you could be charged in the federal jurisdiction. Especially if the offense involves you and the victim(s) crossing state lines or using the transmission of an electronic device to cross state lines virtually. The federal laws for human trafficking can be found under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA).
Under the U.S. Code 7102, the law takes defines human trafficking as one of the following:
- Involuntary Servitude – Any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe if they don’t enter in such a condition with another person they will suffer from serious harm or physical restraint. They may also be threatened with abuse of the legal process as a way to keep them from resisting.
- Debt Bondage – Status or condition of a debtor arising from a pledge by the debtor of his or her personal services or those of a person under his or her control as security for the debt, and the value of the services is not assessing or applied to the liquidation of the debt. In fact, there is no limit or plan to how the debt can ever be repaid.
- Coercion – The alleged victim was forced into labor/services/commercial sexual activity by threats of serious harm, physical restraint, abuse, or abuse of the legal process.
- Commercial Sexual Activity – Any sexual act or account where anything of value was given or received by any person in the exchange.
If you’re charged with human trafficking under federal law, your penalties will depend on the facts of the case. The more of a role you play in a human trafficking scheme the worse the consequences will be. If convicted, you could face anywhere between 7 years and life imprisonment for human trafficking.
Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) – Visit the official website for the U.S. government to access the current Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Access the site to learn how human trafficking is defined, the penalties for committing the act, protections for human trafficking victims, and other important information.
Michigan Human Trafficking Commission – Visit the official website for the Office of Governor Gretchen Whitmer to learn more about their established Human Trafficking Commission. Access the site to learn the role of the commission in human trafficking investigations, how they help prosecutors, their current members, resources, scheduled meetings, and more.
Michigan Human Trafficking Defense Attorney | Oakland County, MI
Have you been accused of human trafficking? It’s imperative you seek an experienced, aggressive, and creative criminal defense attorney to defend your case. In such a high-stakes case, you’ll be standing up to incredibly powerful prosecutors and investigators who are armed with the latest and greatest resources. That’s why it’s not just important but necessary you seek out a criminal defense attorney who has an unparallel track record of success like J. Dallo.
Call Dallo Law, P.C. today at (248) 283-7000 to set up your first consultation free of charge. Dallo Law, P.C. accepts clients throughout the greater Oakland County and Macomb County, Michigan area.