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Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is what the Florida Statutes refer to as a “form of modern-day slavery.” The act is defined as forcing another person or persons to engage in various types of work including domestic work, restaurant work, janitorial work, prostitution, migrant agricultural work, or anything that is against the trafficked persons will. Since human trafficking has spiked in the state of Florida over the last twenty years, Florida legislature has imposed harsh penalties.

If you’ve been charged with human trafficking or another related offense, it’s imperative you seek an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. Human trafficking without any aggravating factors is always classified as a felony, which means you’ll face prison if you’re convicted. You may even have your case moved to the federal jurisdiction if evidence exists you transported people over state lines for trafficking purposes. For these reasons and more, it’s highly recommended you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. 

Human Trafficking Defense Lawyer in Gainesville, Florida

Mere allegations of human trafficking can uproot a person’s reputation and standing in their community. That is why it’s within your best interest to obtain legal representation if you’ve been charged with human trafficking. Avoid making any mistakes that could cost you your freedom and call Galigani Law Firm today. Our Gainesville human trafficking lawyers have over 30 years of collective experience handling all sorts of high-profile cases including human trafficking.

Call our office at (352) 375-0812 today to set up your first consultation free of charge. Galigani Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Alachua County and Gainesville area including Waldo, Archer, Hawthorne, Newberry, La Crosse, Alachua, and High Springs. 

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Is Human Trafficking a Problem in Florida?

Although human trafficking can be found worldwide, the state of Florida has seen a stark increase of trafficking in the last ten or so years. Recently, the state was ranked as third in the nation for reported human trafficking cases by the FBI. Many believe the numbers for human trafficking in Florida are so high because of the state’s vicinity to the Caribbean and the various cruise ship ports that can be found along the coast.

In an effort to deter trafficking, the state of Florida has implemented its own legislature against human trafficking. The laws can be found under Section 787.06 of the Florida Statutes and states that victims of human trafficking are subjected to force, fraud, or coercion for the purposes of sexual exploitation or forced labor. The law recognizes that human trafficking can take on many forms including domestic servitude, prostitution, or migrant agricultural work.

The term “coercion” as used in the context of the statute means any of the following:

  • Using or threatening to use physical force
  • Restraining, confining, isolating, or threatening to restrain, isolate, or confine a person without lawful authority against their will
  • Using lending or other credit methods so the person is indebted to you and the labor/services is sued as security for said debt
  • Concealing, removing, confiscating, withholding, or possessing any actual or purported passport, visa, or immigration document of trafficked person
  • Threatening to or causing financial harm
  • Luring or enticing a person by fraud or deceit
  • Providing drugs for the purpose of exploiting said trafficked person

The term “commercial sexual activity” refers to any violation of forced prostitution laws. That includes sexually explicit performances or productions of pornography. Lastly, the term “financial harm” in the context of the statute means extorting another through extension of credit, also known as loan sharking. It can also include instances of employment contract that violate the statue of fraud.


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Penalties for Human Trafficking in Florida

Type of Human Trafficking Offense

Offense Classification

Jail/Prison Time

Fine

Labor or services of a child under the age of 18 years old

First-Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00

Coercion for labor or services of an adult

First-Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00

Labor or services of a child under 18 who is an unauthorized alien

First-Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00

Coercion for labor or services of an adult who is an unauthorized alien

First-Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00

Using coercion or commercial sexual activity for an adult who is an unauthorized alien

First-Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00

Uses a child under 18 for labor or services

First-Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00

Using coercion for labor/services transfers an adult out of the state to within the state

First-Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00

Transport a child under 18 years old outside the state to within the state for commercial sexual activity purposes

First-Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00

Transport a adult outside the state to within the state for commercial sexual activity purposes

First-Degree Felony

Up to 30 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00

Transport a child under 18 years old who is mentally defective/incapacitated outside the state to within the state for commercial sexual activity purposes

Life Felony

Up to life in prison

A fine of up to $15,000

Parent or legal guardian sells or otherwise transfers custody or control of such minor knowing the child may be victim to human trafficking

Life Felony

Up to life in prison

A fine of up to $15,000

Branding or directing another to brand a human trafficking victim

Second-Degree Felony

Up to 15 years in prison

A fine of up to $10,00


If great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement arise as a result of the human trafficking, then the court may reclassify the offense as follows:

  • Reclassify a second-degree felony to a first-degree felony
  • Reclassify a first-degree felony to a life felony

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Why is Human Trafficking So High in Florida?

Unfortunately, Florida has become a hub for human trafficking and was ranked third across the country in 2019. According to the Human Trafficking Hotline (NHTH), 896 cases were reported that year. As of now, there isn’t a definitive reason why trafficking is so high in Florida. Experts suspect that it may be due to the state’s successful agricultural and tourist economy, especially the tomato industry where workers are always needed.

In 2019, the 896 reports ultimately identified more than 600 businesses using human trafficking victims for labor. More than 22,000 victims were identified by NHTH and out of those 5,000 were trafficked for labor and an alarming 14,597 were victims of sex trafficking. What’s even more disturbing is that most of these victims were teenagers between the ages of 12-14. 


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Additional Resources

What is Human Trafficking? – Visit the website of Attorney General with the Florida Office of the Attorney General to learn more about human trafficking as defined by the U.S. Code. The website also provides information about the signs of human trafficking for purposes of labor or prostitution, and what to look for if you suspect human trafficking near you. 

Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking –Visit the official website for the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking (FCAHT), which explains why the State of Florida has been identified as a hub for human trafficking activity. As a non-profit organization created in 2004, the Florida Coalition Against Human Trafficking is an International and Domestic Anti-Trafficking Agency that is dedicated to protecting victims and finding traffickers.


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Gainesville Lawyer for Human Trafficking Charges in Florida

If you or someone you know has been charged or accused of human trafficking, we implore you to contact Galigani Law Firm. You will need legal counsel fast and the criminal defense attorneys at Galigani Law Firm can make themselves available to you as soon as possible. We understand the urgency of human trafficking charges and have defended those accused for years in the Alachua County area.

Call Galigani Law Firm to set up your first consultation free of charge. Galigani Law Firm accepts clients throughout the greater Gainesville, University of Florida, and Alachua County area in Florida.


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