If you have been accused of a crime involving human trafficking in Colorado, there are certain things about Colorado law that you need to understand. Human trafficking isn’t as straightforward as some may think, as many nuances can make it a complex issue.
If you are facing potential human trafficking charges, you need to understand how the law works in Colorado and how you can prove your innocence. To do this, you will need to hire an experienced attorney who can give you legal advice and represent your case in court.
Understanding Human Trafficking
Many people hear the term human trafficking and put it into one category, but there are different types of human trafficking. Understanding the type of trafficking you are accused of is going to be crucial when it comes to proving your innocence. There are also different criteria the crime must meet to fall into each category of trafficking.
A type of human trafficking is called forced labor or labor trafficking. This type of trafficking involves someone forcing or coercing an individual to use them for free labor or services.
To prove forced labor, it must include three components: acts, means, and purpose. These elements prove that the crime has been committed and that the person was trafficked or used against their will. Some examples of forced labor include domestic servitude and forced child labor.
The type of human trafficking that most people widely recognize is sex trafficking. This is when an individual is trafficked by force, coercion, or fraud for the purpose of engaging in sexual acts. To prove sex trafficking, the same principle applies since acts means, and purpose have to be proven.
For instance, the case would need to prove the act, which includes forcing, recruiting, etc. For the means element of trafficking, this would include something like coercing the victim, threatening them, or manipulating a vulnerable situation. To prove the purpose, there would have to be a goal, such as using someone for free labor or sexual services.
Colorado Law on Human Trafficking
Certain elements constitute human trafficking in Colorado, making it a punishable offense. These elements include knowingly selling, recruiting, harboring, transporting, or transferring the victim. It can also include isolating or enticing the victim to use them for labor, services, or sexual acts.
Overall, human trafficking goes against human rights, which is why it is a crime. People have a right to have the freedom to come and go as they please without fear of punishment. They also have the right to receive compensation if they are providing services, such as physical labor.
In the state of Colorado, trafficking people for involuntary servitude is classified as a class 3 felony if the victim is an adult. If the trafficking victim is under the age of 18, it is classified as a class 2 felony. The crime of human trafficking is also classified as an extraordinary risk crime, increasing the maximum sentence compared to other crimes in its class.
The penalties involved for trafficking an adult can include 4 to 16 years in prison along with a fine of $3000 up to $750,000. The penalties for trafficking a child include prison time of 16 to 48 years and a fine of $5000 to $100,000 million.
The penalties for both of these classifications can become much harsher if it is proven that the servitude (i.e., work, service, act, sex act) was enforced through specific methods. This includes inflicting bodily harm on the victim or threatening them with a deadly weapon.
Defenses Against Human Trafficking Charges
If you have been accused of human trafficking, this is a very serious accusation that comes with significant repercussions. That is why it is so important to prove your innocence by creating a case that sheds light on the situation. Here are some examples of defenses your attorney could use if someone is accusing you of human trafficking.
Consent Was Given
There are many instances where you may be accused of human trafficking even if consent was given. Someone may have regrets about what happened, or they may not see the situation the same way you do. Either way, if consent was given, it would no longer be human trafficking since they agreed to whatever happened.
For consent to be given, the person should also have had the right to come and go as they please. Consent can also be drawn into question if it is proven that the victim was somehow drugged or mentally unable to give their consent.
They Were Not Exploited
Many victims of human trafficking are exploited in some way for the use of sexual acts or free labor. In a defense against human trafficking, your attorney needs to prove that the victim was not exploited by you in any way.
Exploitation often involves withholding controlled substances, exploiting mental or physical disabilities, or financially exploiting the victim. If your attorney can prove that none of these instances apply to the situation, it will prove that you did not exploit the victim.
There Was Police Misconduct
Law enforcement has an obligation to recognize the signs of human trafficking and know when they should intervene in questionable situations. However, there may be instances where there was police misconduct that resulted in incorrect human trafficking charges. The police may falsely identify someone as a human trafficker or misunderstand the situation.
There may also be situations where the police may plant evidence or include false information in their police report.
Hire an Attorney Today at the Law Offices of Clifton Black
An accusation of human trafficking comes with very serious consequences if you aren’t able to prove your innocence. To create a substantial defense that shows what happened, you need to hire a reputable Colorado attorney who can represent you in court.
It’s necessary to remember that legal advocacy is crucial for both victims and defendants and that both have a right to legal representation.
At the Law Offices of Clifton Black, we help clients defend themselves against false accusations, proving their innocence and upholding their rights. Contact us today at 719-328-1616 for a free consultation with one of our attorneys.