Human Sex Trafficking Lawsuit
Civil Litigation On Behalf Of Victims Of Human Sex Trafficking
Many people would like to assume that slavery and human trafficking ended a century ago with a single constitutional amendment. However, this industry is thriving in present times. An estimated 20.9 million adults and children are bought and sold worldwide and forced into sex slavery, or forced or bonded slavery. Women and young girls make up 96 percent of victims for human sex trafficking victims. Federal criminal law defines human trafficking and sets punishments for slavery accordingly. However, victims can also seek legal remedies through civil litigation. Particularly, victims of human sex trafficking and Backpage.com may have a claim against the person or business profiting from the crime. Let us fight for your rights.
If you, or a loved one, is a victim of human trafficking, you may have a claim against those who hurt you. The Carlson Law Firm can help you hold the person or people who committed the crime of human trafficking against you accountable. You may also be able to seek damages from the business that is profiting from the crime. Our team of experienced and caring human trafficking lawyers can help.
What is Human Trafficking and Human Sex Trafficking?
According to the United States Department of Justice, “human trafficking” is an everyday term to describe many forms of exploitation of human beings. For many these words often evoke images of smuggling victims across international borders. But the term has a different and highly specific meaning under the United States Criminal Code. Human trafficking crimes focus on the act of compelling or coercing a person’s labor, services, or commercial sex acts. The coercion can be subtle or overt, physical or psychological.
Experts consider human trafficking to be one of the fastest growing criminal industries in the world. There are various forms of human trafficking. Sadly this includes sex trafficking and the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).
Over 100,000 children are forced into prostitution each year. This staggering number of children contributes to the more than $9.8 billion sex trafficking industry in the United States. For those who are forced to do it—whether by others or their economic situation—prostitution is one of the most dangerous acts in America. Many women suffer physical attacks but do not report the assaults to police. Often, these women are afraid of their handlers or worry about the response from police. Even more staggering, the death rate is 204 for every 100,000 people. This means prostitution is more dangerous than logging, fishing, or working on an oil rig.
Internet Sex Trafficking
Internet sex trafficking occurs when offenders use the web to trap, solicit or sell victims. The internet age presents all sorts of challenges, including combating internet sex trafficking. While sex trafficking isn’t new, the internet is partly responsible for the increased demand of internet sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation of children. Sex traffickers are predators who find a vulnerability and use it to trap victims into a web of forced labor. Much like hotels, the internet offers sex traffickers anonymity. In most cases, when a victim escapes there usually isn’t a pimp that police can arrest and criminally charge.
The United States Congress passed a bill at the end of March 2018 aimed at reducing internet sex trafficking. The bill holds websites accountable for knowingly facilitating the abuse of sex trafficking victims. It prompted websites like craigslist to shut down the personal ads sections of its website.
The medical bills for your physical and emotional treatment can be a costly expense. But you don’t have to go through it alone. We have attorneys ready to get you the help you need. If you have been the victim of sex trafficking, remember that it is not your fault. Even if you’ve made mistakes, you do not deserve to be trafficked. You are a victim and by federal law, you have the right to hold the people and businesses who facilitated your victimization accountable. Contact The Carlson Law Firm to speak with a qualified human trafficking lawyer if you or someone you love has been victimized. Your call is confidential.
Sex Trafficking and Social Media
Sex traffickers were once limited to luring their victims in the streets. But the power of social media has made it easy for these predators to target vulnerable populations all over the world. Because social media platforms are often adopted early by teenagers, sex traffickers are also early adopters of platforms. Internet sex trafficking can create challenges for law enforcement.
Unlike drugs or weapons, those committing black market crimes view humans as more profitable because they can be sold more than once. Because of the profitability, offenders use a variety of tactics to gain the trust of their targets. Some examples of tactics sex traffickers use include:
- Expressing love and admiration for a victim.
- Promising to make an aspiring actress, model or singer a star.
- The promise of taking care of a victim in a difficult situation.
- The promise of job opportunities or a new life.
Often, the victim will agree to meet the trafficker in another city where she (or he) is isolated from family and friends. The trafficker will take away the victim’s identification, ways to communicate with home and subject the victim to beatings or other physical punishment until the victim complies. In some cases, the trafficker will threaten a victim’s family to deter the victim from running or escaping. Sometimes traffickers will force victims to take drugs. Then they will use the internet to sell their victims to potential johns and child rapists.
In many cases, sex trafficking occurs in hotel rooms. The sex traffickers will take the victims clothes to try to deter them from leaving the room. If you have been subjected to sex trafficking, contact our firm. We have a qualified human trafficking attorney who can help.
The New Era Of Human Sex Trafficking: Backpage.com
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (known as NCMEC) reported an 846% increase in reports of suspected child sex trafficking from 2010 to 2015. The organization found the spike is “directly correlated to the increased use of the Internet to sell children for sex.”
Backpage.com sits at the center of that online black market. The website is a large, profitable company. For years, criticism of the website’s failure to crack down on sex trafficking has persisted. However, on April 6, 2018, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies seized Backpage. The seizure stems from the company allegedly making more than $500 million in revenue from advertisements promoting commercial sex for children and adults. Additionally, the site’s founders and other top Backpage officials are facing charges for facilitating prostitution and money laundering.
The Impact of Backpage.com
Before its seizure, Backpage was the go-to website for internet sex trafficking. The site operated in 97 countries and 934 cities worldwide. Because of its services, the company had an estimated value at well over half a billion dollars. Further, according to an industry analysis in 2013, eight out of every ten dollars spent on online commercial sex advertising in the United States went to Backpage.
Backpage has been the focus of several lawsuits. Many argue that the website knowingly marketed commercial sex. The suits allege the company put profits ahead of vulnerable women and children. According to various parties, a Backpage feature called the Strip Term From Ad Filter alters ads to conceal signs of illegality. The feature allegedly scrubbed illegal terms from ads, but would still publish the rest of the ad. Because of this, plaintiffs also allege that the company didn’t just host the ads but helped develop the content. Eventually, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that the Federal Communications Decency Act doesn’t protect Backpage.
U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill was quoted saying Backpage is a $600 million company built on selling sex, including sex with children, during a recent Senate investigation into Backpage’s knowing facilitation of online sex trafficking.While other cases against Backpage remain pending, the site shut down its “escort” section this year after confirming payment of a settlement.
Civil Laws Around Hotel Sex Trafficking
Under federal law, victims of human trafficking are permitted to bring a civil claim against his or her trafficker, as well as any person or institution who financially benefited from the victimization. The law also allows for the victim to sue anyone who should have known the human trafficking was occurring. For example, when a hotel employee knowingly rents a room to a trafficker (either a pimp or john) can put the hotel in a situation where it can be held liable by the victim. Similarly, the hotel can be held liable if it was obvious the room was being for sex trafficking purposes.
Hotels, by law, owe the highest duty of care to their guests. Because of this, hotels have a responsibility to protect hotel guests; including victims of sex trafficking. When hotels fail to protect their guests it is a breach of duty and sex trafficking survivors may hold them accountable.
Sadly, hotels rarely face these type repercussions for allowing sex trafficking on their premises. Additionally, the penalties and enforcement of the laws around human trafficking have been minimal. However, many victims of sex trafficking don’t even know they can seek civil damages from the hotels or motels where their victimization occurred. If you or someone you love have been a victim of sex trafficking, contact The Carlson Law Firm. A hotel sex trafficking lawyer from our firm can help you hold those who hurt you accountable.
Legal Remedies Available To Victims Of Human Sex Trafficking
Because criminal cases can be difficult to prosecute, civil lawsuits are an important avenue for human sex trafficking survivors wanting help against those that hurt them. This can include:
- Hotels and apartments where transactions occurred
- Johns or customers
- Websites that promoted advertisements
- Any person or group involved
When a criminal case is not brought, then the victim’s only chance to receive justice is through a civil suit. Unfortunately, the anonymity that the internet and hotels or motels provide make it difficult to track down an offender. However, in many cases, civil remedies may be the only way to hold a trafficker accountable for harm caused.
If you, or a loved one, is a victim of human sex trafficking, you may have a claim against the person or people who committed the crime of human trafficking. In addition, you can hold the business profiting from the crime accountable. We can also assess your situation and give you legal advice about steps to take for your safety. We promise, your call is confidential.
Human Trafficking Victims and The Court System
Reports of human trafficking have come from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These cases aren’t isolated to one area or one type of group. Commercial sexual exploitation and sex trafficking of minors in the U.S. is commonly overlooked. There are several professions who come into contact with those most at risk, however, they may not know the signs to look for. Those professions include teachers, judges, police officers, lawyers, nonprofits and doctors.
Generally, victims of sex trafficking may come into contact with judges and lawyers through criminal charges. Human trafficking lawyers are in a unique position to aid victims. With attorney-client privilege, a defense attorney may be able to readily identify a person trapped in a sex trafficker’s web. Additionally, a defense attorney can direct a victim to a civil human trafficking lawyer. With the aid of a civil human trafficking lawyer, you may be able to hold third parties responsible including hotels and truck stops.
Contact The Carlson Law Firm for a free, confidential consultation. We care about your well-being and can help you begin rebuilding your life.
Human Trafficking Victim Resources
Many human trafficking organizations use legitimate businesses as a front for their illegal operations. If you suspect human trafficking is occurring somewhere in your city, report it immediately.
To report an immediate emergency
call 911 to contact your local police department.
To report suspected crimes or get help from a nongovernmental organization
- The National Human Trafficking Hotline: 1-888-373-7888. Available 24/7, all reports are confidential and you may remain anonymous.
- Text HELP or INFO to BeFree (233733)
- The National Human Trafficking Website: You may also submit a tip to the organization through its website. However, for immediate assistance, call the hotline to speak with an Advocate.
To report suspected human trafficking crimes to law enforcement
- For anonymous tips sall U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement: 1-866-347-2423
- Submit a tip online
To report sexually abused or exploited minors
- A child in urgent need of assistance, contact local law enforcement by dialing 911.
- Contact the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline to speak with a professional crisis counselor at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453). Counselors can connect a caller with a local number to report suspected abuse.
- Call the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678)
- Report incidents online at cybertipline.org
Survivor Support and Assistance
If you’re a victim of human or sex trafficking, there are resources available for you. Fortunately, the federal government recognizes victims come in all U.S. citizenship statuses. Accordingly, it provides federal services to all victims of sex trafficking. For a complete list of resources, visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Trafficking in Persons website.
Getting The Help You Deserve
If you are a victim of human trafficking or suspect that internet sex trafficking is occurring in your community, we suggest you call the Polaris Project. Polaris is a nationwide non-profit. The organization employs experienced professionals to guide victims and survivors of human trafficking. Also, you may call the National Human Trafficking Hotline.
Professionals undergo training to respond to human trafficking victims with shelter and security. Additionally, the can help victims get access to medical treatment, food, clothing, legal services, counseling, and other aid. If you are a human sex trafficking victim, or if you know of a situation of human trafficking, we can help you get assistance and navigate the legal system.
Please don’t hesitate to contact a human trafficking lawyer from The Carlson Law Firm. If you or a loved one has been a victim of human trafficking or you suspect human trafficking is occurring in your community give us a call.
We care and we can help.
When you are looking for a compassionate and yet hard-hitting legal advocate, you can be confident that you will find the right representative at The Carlson Law Firm! Contact us for a free consultation now. Or fill out our contact form and a member of our team will contact you directly.