South Carolina has some of the strongest state-level laws in the United States against human trafficking and severely prosecutes individuals charged with the offense. If you have been accused of unlawfully transporting or harboring someone for the purposes of forcing them into manual or sexual labor, you could be facing some of the most severe criminal charges allowable under state law.
Consulting a skilled criminal defense attorney with experience in handling these cases should be a priority after learning of an investigation or allegation against you. With help from a South Carolina human trafficking lawyer, you could stand a far better chance of enforcing your rights and negotiating the best possible resolution to your case.
South Carolina Code of Laws §16-3-2020 defines “trafficking in persons” as a criminal offense entailing the recruitment, soliciting, harboring, transporting, or providing—or any attempt to perform such an act—another person for forced labor or servitude, debt bondage, and/or sex trafficking. Additionally, S.C. Code §16-3-2010(7) specifically defines “sex trafficking” as transporting or obtaining a minor through any means or an adult through fraud, coercion, or force to participate in any form of sexual conduct.
Under S.C. Code §16-3-2020, human trafficking offenses are labeled as felonies. S.C. Code §16-3-2030 also makes the principal owners of businesses and business entities that knowingly participate or aid in human trafficking criminally liable for that offense. Further, the prosecuting court could also suspend the perpetrator’s business license or dissolve the business in question upon conviction.
A first offense for human trafficking is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison, with maximum sentences increasing to 30 years for a second offense and 45 years for third and subsequent offenses. Human trafficking convictions can come with life-altering consequences, but seeking the assistance of a South Carolina attorney could be key to mitigating the risks of being charged with the most severe sentences.
Human trafficking crimes can be prosecuted federally if they take place across state or international borders. Under 18 United States Code §1590, anyone who traffics another adult may be punished upon conviction in a federal court by a maximum prison sentence of 20 years.
Additionally, any act of human trafficking prosecuted at the federal level that involves aggravated sexual abuse, kidnapping, or the death of the trafficked person is punishable by a life sentence in federal prison. An experienced attorney in South Carolina could offer more insight about how federal prosecution works for human trafficking offenses and discuss an individual’s options based on their specific circumstances.
Allegations of human trafficking are extremely serious and require a comprehensive and careful defense strategy. A conviction under either state or federal law could leave you facing years or even decades of jail time, especially if there are allegations of aggravating factors in your case.
Let a dedicated South Carolina human trafficking lawyer provide the help you need to effectively protect your best interests. Call today to learn more and to schedule a consultation.