Human trafficking in Tulsa, Oklahoma is very related to kidnapping. It is a kind of slavery and it is against state and federal law in every state in the Union.
What is Human Trafficking?
Oklahoma law defines human trafficking as modern-day slavery that includes, but is not limited to, extreme exploitation and the denial of a person’s freedom or liberty for the purpose of deriving benefit from that person’s commercial sex act or labor. Okla. Stat. tit. 21 § 748
Human trafficking for commercial sex is recruiting, enticing, harboring, transporting, purchasing, or obtaining in any manner another person — including a minor — by using deception, force, fraud, threat, or coercion for the purposes of engaging the person in a commercial sex act.
Human trafficking for labor means using the same mechanisms to get another person to engage in labor or to benefit in some way from that person’s labor.
Victims of human trafficking, especially for sex, are increasingly young. Disenfranchised youth are often targeted for trafficking. Victims of trafficking are also increasingly U.S. citizens.
Penalties for Human Trafficking
The crime is a felony in Oklahoma. It is punishable by five years to life in prison, or a fine of up to $100,000, or both.
If the person trafficked is under the age of 18, the offense is punishable by 15 years to life in prison, or a fine of up to $250,000, or both. The court may also order the perpetrator to pay restitution to the victim.
If convicted, you will have to serve at least 85% of your sentenced time before becoming eligible for parole consideration or any earned credits. Your conviction will not be subject to suspension, deferral, or probation.
The human trafficking statute also narrows the available defenses. Consent and lack of knowledge of the victim’s age are not allowed as defenses. However, if the defendant is also a victim of trafficking, that is a permissible defense.
Oklahoma law provides certain rights to the victims of trafficking. Some of the most important statutory rights for these victims include immunity from prosecution due to having been trafficked, access to legal assistance and translation services if needed, protection from possible recapture by a trafficker, and protection for family members against threatened reprisals.
In addition, the victim may bring a civil action for damages against those responsible for the trafficking to recover actual and punitive damages as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
The statute of limitations precluding the filing of a civil action is delayed until the victim is freed from his or her captors, the victim’s 21st birthday, or the person discovers or reasonably should have discovered that he or she is a victim of trafficking. This gives the potential plaintiff much more time to file a civil action.
If the human trafficking occurs strictly within Oklahoma borders, the matter may be handled by Oklahoma state courts. However, if the trafficking occurs across state lines, it is likely that the matter will be handled in federal court. Federal penalties are extremely harsh for all aspects of human trafficking.
If you or a loved are facing charges for human trafficking, it is imperative that you contact an experienced Tulsa criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Legal representation may make the difference between freedom and years in prison.
Free Consultation with a Tulsa Lawyer
This is not a crime to face alone. Your freedom is important.
If you would like a free consultation with a Tulsa, Oklahoma lawyer, call Wirth Law Office – Tulsa at 918-879-1681 or toll free at 1-888-Wirth-Law (1-888-947-8452).
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