To understand the offense of “continuous trafficking of persons,” one must first understand the offense of “trafficking of persons.” Trafficking of persons occurs when one person forces another person to perform either labor or services for another.
Human trafficking includes forcing another into prostitution; promoting prostitution; or using threat, force, or fraud to compel another to commit acts of prostitution. If the person is a minor, the list of sexual offenses covered by trafficking of persons expands to include sexual abuse, sexual indecency, sexual assault, sexual performances by a child, and child pornography.
Human trafficking, however, is not limited to sexual acts. A person is guilty of human trafficking when forcing another to perform other labor or services as well. This commonly includes labor and services such as housekeeping, child care, and gardening. Any labor or service, however, can be covered by this statute. The trafficking of persons statute not only punishes the person forcing the labor or services. It also punishes those who benefit from the human trafficking, such as receiving the labor or the services. Human trafficking is a second-degree felony.
Continuous trafficking of persons is a statute designed to punish people who engage in human trafficking on more than one occasion over time. Under the statute, a person commits continuous trafficking of persons where, over the course of 30 days or more, a person either forces another to perform labor or services, or benefits from another performing labor or services, on two or more occasions.
Continuous trafficking of persons is a felony in the first degree. This offense is punishable by up to a $10,000 fine and life or up to 99 years in prison. Felonies in the first degree have a minimum sentence of five years in prison.
More information on sentencing with trafficking of persons can be found in Penal Code Section 20A.03.
The penalties for a conviction of continuous trafficking of people can be severe in Fort Worth. To discuss your legal rights and options, call a hardworking attorney today.