Connecticut Human Trafficking Lawyer
The crime of Human Trafficking is one of the most talked about topics among United States law enforcement. Some experts estimate that up to 20,000 females and males—including teenagers and adults—are illegally smuggled and trafficked into the United States each year to staff illegal sex and labor operations. Generally speaking, human trafficking refers to the trafficking or trade of men, women and children by using force, fraud, intimidation and abduction. The primary purpose of the trafficking is to profit off of a sexually exploitative relationship with the victim that usually involves some kind of forced labor, forced prostitution, or sale of organs.
Human Trafficking in the State of Connecticut is codified in C.G.S. 53a-192a, and criminalizes the coercion of individuals into engaging in forced labor or prostitution against their will. It is one of the most serious crimes in the books. Thus, and an arrest for Human Trafficking in Stamford, Greenwich, Danbury, or elsewhere in Connecticut can result in years of jail time if not defended properly. So if you are arrested for 53a-192a Human Trafficking in Stamford, Greenwich, or Bridgeport, then you should call a top Stamford Connecticut sex crimes lawyer to assist you in preparing the best defense.
The Statutory Definition of Human Trafficking
Connecticut’s Human Trafficking laws are codified in C.G.S. 53a-192a. As the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers know, you can be arrested for Human Trafficking in Connecticut when police believe you are using coercion to compel or induce another person into engaging in either sexual activity or labor activity in exchange for money. Human Traffickers in Connecticut typically take advantage of the vulnerabilities of a potential target’s young age or poverty in order to lure them into these exploitative arrangements. Once the victims become engaged in these trafficking rings, police believe that these people are too afraid to escape. These victims fear the consequences of emancipation. Victims often face threats of physical harm to them or their families, threats of deportation and calls to immigration authorities, threats to withhold travel or other legal documentation, and financial threats to those individuals who may have been homeless prior to entering the arrangement. Know, however, that the best Stamford Connecticut sex crimes attorneys realize that many people who claim they are victims of Human Trafficking might be consenting adults who fabricate these threats in exchange for leniency in their own cases. These are issues that your top Stamford and Greenwich Connecticut criminal attorneys vet out during the defense phase of your Stamford Connecticut Human Trafficking arrest under CGS 53a-192a.
Penalties for Human Trafficking Arrests in Connecticut – The Crime of Coercion
Human Trafficking in the State of Connecticut is a Class B felony. If you are arrested and convicted for Human Trafficking in Stamford, Danbury or Norwalk Connecticut, you can face up to 20 years in jail, probation, and fines of up to $15,000. To be found guilty of Human Trafficking, Connecticut prosecutors must prove that you used coercion in accomplishing the crime. Coercion, in and of itself, is a crime in the State of Connecticut. The Connecticut crime of Coercion is codified in C.G.S. 53a-192 and is a Class A misdemeanor. However, in cases where Coercion is used to commit a felony, it becomes a Class D felony, carrying a prison sentence of up to 5 years and a maximum fine of $5,000. This means that if you are found guilty of Human Trafficking in Connecticut, then you can also be found guilty of Felony Coercion.
Sex Trafficking v. Labor Trafficking under CGS 53a-192a
A specific class of Human Trafficking arrests in Connecticut includes Sex Trafficking. Sex Trafficking in Connecticut is the trade of men, women or children for use and entry into the sex industry. Sex Traffickers will target runaways, homeless minors, domestic violence victims and immigrants, as they may be more vulnerable to false promises of a “better life” and have nowhere to turn once they are embedded in the industry. Stamford Connecticut Human Trafficking and sex crimes detectives target and monitor online sex websites and message boards, hotels, massage parlors and casinos. These are all typical breeding grounds for Human Sex Traffickers in Connecticut. The best Connecticut sex crimes attorneys make the point, however, that it is difficult to determine whether escorts or prostitutes are working for themselves or whether they are true victims of Human Trafficking and therefore are engaging in forced prostitution. This is a critical defense that the best Stamford Connecticut criminal attorneys investigate in fighting Human Trafficking arrests in Stamford, Greenwich, and Danbury Connecticut.
Labor Trafficking is another category of Human Trafficking and involves forcing men, women or children to perform manual labor for little or no pay. Usually this labor involves dangerous or abusive conditions for stretches of time that are not normal to the average employee, such as an 80-hour work week. Victims of Labor Trafficking may be forced into the arrangement under the guise of a repayment of a debt or merely forced into working against their will to avoid physical or financial harm. Targets of Labor Traffickers also include illegal immigrants who are forced to work under threats of exposing their illegal status to the authorities.
Clearly the stakes are high if you are arrested for Human Trafficking in Stamford, Greenwich, or Danbury Connecticut under CGS 53a-192a. But as the top Connecticut Human Trafficking lawyers would agree, there are a number of ways to successfully fight these cases. Just because a crime or social issue is at the top of a prosecutor’s agenda does not mean you have to be found guilty of it. Coercion must be proven. And consent is a defense, especially when Connecticut police trump up a Prostitution case into a Connecticut Human Trafficking arrest. So there is hope. Keep reading to learn more.
Fighting Connecticut Human Trafficking Arrests
Top Darien and Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers can help you fight your Connecticut 53a-192a Human Trafficking arrest in Stamford, Danbury or Greenwich Connecticut. They will carefully scrutinize the arrest warrants, search warrants and police reports for errors, omissions and constitutional defects. Witness statements and video and audio surveillance recordings, including the government’s wiretapping evidence, will also be examined carefully. The very best New Canaan and Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers often get frustrated by the fact that many times a police investigation into Human Trafficking evolves not into an investigation for the truth (which should be the case), but an investigation of confirmation, not information. The best Connecticut defense lawyers are sensitive to this inequity and can ask the criminal judge to compel the prosecution to turn over all of the evidence to the defense, not just the evidence that implicates you. Additionally, a top Stamford criminal lawyer will engage a team of private investigators to conduct their own analysis, question additional witnesses and uncover additional evidence that can help you get your case dismissed.
A key issue in Human Trafficking cases focuses on two defense strategies: (1) breaking down the Government’s conspiracy theory, and (2) proving consent over the Government’s theory of coercion. Many times a “John” or patron of a prostitution operating will have no idea that the business promotes or engages in Human Trafficking. Your top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer will usually work diligently to persuade the judge and prosecutors of your lack of involvement and knowledge in the most serious aspects of the operation. This can make the difference between a felony sentence with jail, and having a clean record after a period of special probation. Additionally, the best Connecticut criminal lawyers will subpoena phone records, text messages and other forms or social media and surveillance footage to vindicate you or prove to prosecutors that there was no coercion and that any sexual conduct was consensual, even if it was for hire. Thus, building a defense to your Connecticut Human Trafficking arrest under CGS 53a-192a involves many components that only the best Stamford Connecticut and Greenwich Connecticut criminal lawyers can tackle. So be sure to consult and hire a top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyer who fully understands how to defend a Human Trafficking case.
Conspiracy Charges in Connecticut Human Trafficking Arrests
Top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers are very concerned over the risk of Conspiracy charges being used as a pressure point against people who are remotely involved in a Human Trafficking ring. Most top Stamford Connecticut Prostitution lawyers and attorney worry about the “Johns”—or patrons and customers—of sex operations, escort websites, and massage parlors who have no idea of the age of the women with whom they are engaging in sexual contact. As the best Greenwich Connecticut criminal attorneys agree, even the lowest level participant in a Human Trafficking sex operation can be arrested for the most serious Human Trafficking crimes by virtue of Connecticut’s over-reaching Conspiracy laws.
To be clear, even if you did not engage in the act of Human Trafficking on your own, you might still be charged with Conspiracy to Commit Human Trafficking. Conspiracy is a crime in Connecticut, codified in C.G.S. 53a-48. You can be arrested for Conspiracy in Darien or Stamford Connecticut if you engaged in the following conduct: (1) agreed with at least one person to commit a crime, (2) made such agreement with the intent that the criminal conduct would occur (in other words, you weren’t joking around), and (3) one of the conspirators, not necessarily you, must have committed an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. An overt act need only be one single act taken to advance the goal of accomplishing the conspiracy. An example of an overt act in a Human Trafficking scenario would be providing cash or a credit card to a massage parlor, emailing a pimp to set up a meeting place for a sexual encounter, or purchasing a hotel room to meet a prostitute. Obviously your top Stamford Connecticut criminal conspiracy lawyer will carefully scrutinize all 3 elements of Connecticut’s Conspiracy law to present the strongest defense to your Human Trafficking Conspiracy arrest, with the goal of getting your Connecticut Conspiracy charge dismissed. For more information on Connecticut Conspiracy laws, click here.
Don’t Talk to Police Without a Top Stamford Connecticut Criminal Lawyer By Your Side
If you are arrested for Conspiracy in Stamford, Darien or Norwalk Connecticut, then it is almost a certainty that the police will try to lean on you for information on other alleged co-conspirators. They might lie to you and tell you that another person has already told them everything about you. (Yes, the police are legally allowed to lie when interrogating you and other co-conspirators). Or they might offer you some type of leniency in punishment if you cooperate. The bottom line is that under every circumstance, and no matter what the police are saying to you or scaring you into believing, you should not speak to the police without a top Stamford or Fairfield Connecticut criminal lawyer attorney present. You have the right to remain silent. Exercise that right.
When Human Trafficking Charges Unfairly Piggyback Connecticut Prostitution Arrests
Top Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers often see Human Trafficking arrests go hand in hand with arrests in Stamford for Prostitution and Patronizing Prostitution. Police and prosecutors look to stockpile these charges on top of one another in the hope that a conspirator will buckle under fear of the maximum jail penalties and provide helpful information to law enforcement in their Human Trafficking investigation.
Prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor codified in C.G.S. 53a-82, and occurs when a person over the age of 16 engages in or agrees to engage in sexual conduct with another, for compensation. The crime carries a maximum 1 year jail sentence and a fine of up to $2000. However, a defense to Prostitution exists if you were “coerced” into the act of prostitution as a victim of the Connecticut crime of Coercion or Human Trafficking. This means that if you can prove that you were forced into Prostitution, then you will not be guilty of the charges against you. In fact, if you are 16 or 17 years old, Connecticut law actually presumes that you were forced to engage in prostitution. In other words, if you are 16 or 17, then you do not have to prove that you were coerced into Prostitution. Click here for more information on Connecticut Prostitution arrests.
In a large-scale bust of a Human Trafficking ring, everyone is at risk of being arrested. Top Connecticut sex crimes criminal attorneys have seen the sex operation’s managers, pimps, prostitutes, and Johns all get arrested for various sex crimes. As a result, these Johns can easily find themselves arrested in Wilton or Danbury Connecticut for merely purchasing the services of an escort or prostitute. Patronizing Prostitution is a Class A misdemeanor in violation of C.G.S. 53a-83. You can be arrested for Patronizing Prostitution in Stamford or Norwalk Connecticut if you pay or agree to pay a person for sexual contact, or pay or agree to pay a third person for another person’s sexual services. For more information on Patronizing Prostitution, click here.
Connecticut’s Relentless Crackdown Against Human Trafficking
In 2013, there was a nationwide effort to tackle the problem of Sex Trafficking of children. At that time, the West Haven Police Department, assisted by the FBI, conducted a sting that rescued a number of juveniles who were being victimized in a New Haven sex operation. More recently, in 2014, the Stamford Police Department, working with the FBI, uncovered a Super Bowl sex trafficking business, involving a number of minors that were being forced into prostitution. In that sting, law enforcement authorities from the New York tri-state area netted dozens of arrests in a Superbowl sex sting operation when the Superbowl was played at Giants Stadium. Many times, these stings involve a concerted effort with those in charge of upscale Connecticut hotels and casinos. This means that you may not have the privacy you thought you would have when you are frequenting these venues. It is important to remember that Sex Trafficking is not the only type of human trafficking and that Connecticut is equally hard on human trafficking in forced labor scenarios. Police and the FBI are also looking closely at textile and clothing factories, or any other industries that are suspected of forced labor involving men, women or children who were trafficked into Connecticut. These factories are being closely and covertly monitored, until law enforcement has enough evidence to execute search or arrest warrants. The bottom line here is that State and Federal law enforcement authorities are dedicating millions of dollars in resources and personnel to fight Human Trafficking in Connecticut.
Anti-Trafficking Efforts by the Connecticut Department of Children & Families (“DCF”)
In combatting human trafficking, Connecticut’s efforts are primarily focused on keeping children safe from Sex Trafficking. As many top Connecticut DCF criminal lawyers have observed, the Connecticut Department of Children and Families has launched its own initiatives and response teams to work toward this goal. DCF’s Human Anti-Trafficking Response Team, as it is called, consists of a number of medical and legal professionals who assist with the following: they emotionally and psychologically support victims of trafficking, they provide training to law enforcement to help them identify victims of trafficking, and they lobby for anti-Human Trafficking laws and legislation in Connecticut. In addition to DCF, other not-for-profit organizations in Connecticut are aggressively fighting Human Trafficking. One such group is the Connecticut Coalition Against Trafficking which fights Human Trafficking by raising awareness, educating the public, training others to identify victims, providing support services for victims, and advocating for legislative changes.
Contact a Connecticut Sex Crime Human Trafficking Criminal Lawyer Today
As we’ve explained, a bust of a Connecticut prostitution ring can trigger arrests in Stamford, Greenwich or Danbury Connecticut for a long list of sex crimes, including Human Trafficking, Coercion, Conspiracy, Prostitution and Patronizing Prostitution. The sex crimes criminal lawyers at The Law Offices of Mark Sherman are ready and available to help defend you against these serious sex crime charges. The stakes are just too high to not make that phone call and schedule a consultation. Learn how we can help you craft the most aggressive defense, with one goal only: getting your case dismissed. We provide honest assessments of your case and will tailor our defense and cost structure to meet your needs. So contact a Stamford Connecticut Human Trafficking criminal lawyer at Mark Sherman Law today. Call us at (203) 358-4700.