Tex. Pen. Code § 20A.01(4) defines trafficking as transporting, enticing, recruiting, harboring, providing, otherwise obtaining another person by any means. Human trafficking typically occurs to engage in forced labor or commercial sex trade.
The offenses and penalties for human trafficking vary according to the age of person whom the accused persons allegedly trafficked. Under Tex. Pen. Code § 20A.02, it is illegal to knowingly take the following actions concerning anyone who is over the age of 18:
- Traffic others with the intent for them to engage in forced labor or services
- Receive a benefit from participating in a scheme to traffic others for forced labor or services, including by receiving labor or services that they know are forced
- Traffic others and cause them by force, fraud, or coercion to engage in prostitution or other criminal offenses related to prostitution
- Receive a benefit from participating in a scheme to traffic others for the purposes of prostitution or related criminal offenses, or engage in sexual conduct with a person whom they know has been trafficked
Tex. Pen. Code § 20A.02 also sets forth the criminal offense for trafficking with a minor. Prohibitions under this section are generally the same as those for an adult, except that it is also illegal to traffic minors to cause them by any means to engage in prostitution and various other sexual offenses. These offenses include continuous sexual abuse of a child, indecency with a child, sexual assault, and sexual performance by a child, among others.
With a few exceptions, trafficking in humans will result in a second-degree felony charge. However, human trafficking becomes a first-degree felony if the person allegedly trafficked died during the commission of the offense, the person’s unborn child died during the commission of the offense, or the alleged trafficking involved a minor. The criminal defense lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the legal defense of countless individuals who are facing criminal charges, including traffic-related charges. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. As a result, we will strive to get the best outcome possible in your case. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our criminal defense attorneys.