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Florida has a broad and detailed human trafficking law that provides severe punishments for anyone who is convicted in criminal court. While many human trafficking cases involve prostitution, the Florida law is designed to punish any type of forced labor. Human trafficking is now a major topic covered by media outlets, and as a result has become a priority for law enforcement and state prosecutors in Florida. Not surprisingly, the amount of human trafficking stings, arrests and prosecutions has dramatically increased. The problem is that many defendants are charged without sufficient evidence, as law enforcement agencies are itching to announce human trafficking busts. If you have been charged or are being investigated for this offense do not speak to law enforcement without contacting a lawyer. Human trafficking investigations are complex and can involve numerous co-defendants and accomplices. Making a statement to law enforcement can result in charges being filed against you even if you were not the focus of the investigation. Benjamin Herbst is a South Florida criminal defense lawyer who has taken on the state in human trafficking jury trials and won. He is standing by 7 days a week to offer a free consultation about your charges in the Tri-County jurisdictions of Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County. Benjamin also represents clients charged with human trafficking in Martin County, St. Lucie County and all neighboring jurisdictions. Call Benjamin at (954) 543-0305 to speak to a lawyer who has successfully handled human trafficking cases in the past and is ready to do the same in your case.
Under Florida law, human trafficking is defined as using force, fraud or coercion for the purpose of sexual exploitation or forced labor. While the use of force is pretty straightforward and fairly easy to determine, the definition of the terms fraud and coercion could mean a variety of different things. In one section coercion is defined as threats of force, restraining, isolating and confining, which can be objective and easy to prove in some cases. In other sections of the law, coercion is defined as using lending or other credit methods to establish a debt that the victim must pay off by doing work. Under this definition, coercion can be less clear and the only evidence may be statements of the victim. The same is true for the section that defines coercion as enticing or luring a person by fraud or deceit or providing controlled substances to a person. Law enforcement can guide or influence a victim to claim coercion, and this may be the main basis of a criminal charge. Benjamin is a South Florida human trafficking lawyer who will not let flimsy cases based on subjective evidence stand, and he will do whatever it takes to fight for a dismissal or reduction of charges in court.
Human trafficking is classified as a first-degree felony under Florida law with a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison. Each victim or act could constitute a separate criminal charge, which could lead to consecutive sentences upon conviction. A conviction could also result in mandatory registration as a sexual offender, and seizure of any property used in connection with the crime. If a minor victim is involved the maximum penalty becomes life in prison, so the stakes could not be higher for a defendant. Human trafficking charges are often filed in connection with charges for deriving support from the proceeds of prostitution. This charge is designed to punish anyone who is suspected of operating as a pimp, and is related but often easier to prove than human trafficking. Anyone accused of making money off of another’s prostitution faces second-degree felony charges, and first-degree felony charges for a second offense. In some cases, either deriving earnings from prostitution and human trafficking are serious enough to result in an extremely high bail or being held without bail. In these cases, Benjamin will immediately file for bail reduction hearing for his clients that are in custody, and never hesitates to make jail visits as often as necessary. In addition, Benjamin provides his cell phone number to all clients, and is available on nights and weekends to offer advice and consultation.