How Severe are State and Federal Human Trafficking Charges?


Trafficking Victim

   Human trafficking has captured the attention of the media and many Americans due to the high-profile case and conviction of Ghislaine Maxwell. On December 29, 2021, she was found guilty in the U.S. Federal Court on five of six charges related to her role in the sexual abuse of minors with accomplice Jeffrey Epstein.

    Ghislaine Maxwell was found guilty of sex trafficking of a minor, transporting a minor with the intent to engage in sexual activity, and three related counts of conspiracy. She was acquitted of the charge of enticing a minor to travel to engage in illegal sex acts. She is being held pending a sentencing date and can potentially be sentenced to up to 65 years in prison. Her attorneys are working on an appeal.

Human Trafficking in Florida

     Under Florida Statute Chapter 787. 06 Florida defines human trafficking as a form of modern-day slavery. Victims are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for sexual exploitation, services, or forced labor that financially benefits the offender. If you are charged with human trafficking in Florida, you face severe charges. Penalties are based on whether the offenses are for labor, services, commercial sexual activity, an offender’s prior criminal history, and whether the victim is an adult, child, or mentally incapacitated person.

    The offense of human trafficking is a first-degree felony under Florida Statute Section 787.06(3). It is punishable by up to thirty years in prison, thirty years of probation, and a $10,000 fine. If the victim is a child or mentally incapacitated person, the offense is a life felony. Human trafficking is frequently linked with other criminal offenses such as fraud, prostitution, pornography, kidnapping, money laundering, tax evasion, weapons and drug charges, forgery, and sexual assault.

    According to the Florida Alliance to End Human Trafficking, which the State Legislature created, Florida ranks as third in the nation for reported human trafficking cases.

Human Trafficking Federal Charges 

   When human trafficking occurs over state lines or involves minors, these cases become federal offenses. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is responsible for investigating crimes of this nature. In addition to criminal charges, victims can recover civil damages for human trafficking in federal courts.

   The Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA) of 2000 and the subsequent reauthorizations established human trafficking as a federal crime. Under Title 18 United States Code Section 1583 and 1584, criminal penalties for human trafficking can range from up to twenty years in prison for a defendant convicted of holding or selling a victim in involuntary servitude. For serious bodily injury, death, kidnapping, or sexual abuse, a defendant can be sentenced up to life in federal prison.

Call The AP Law Group to Schedule a Free, Initial Consultation

   If you face a human trafficking charge, it is vital to have an experienced and aggressive criminal defense law firm to challenge and refute the allegations against you. Our legal team routinely handles Florida State and Federal Crimes, with a reputation for vigorous and effective protection of our client’s rights. The AP Law Group can skillfully scrutinize the evidence and determine the best strategy for your defense in the courtroom.

   We understand that your freedom, career, and reputation are on the line. Contact The AP Law Group to review your case, answer all your legal questions, and set your defense in motion. Schedule an appointment at our office in Gainesville or Ocala, Florida, at (352)732-9191.