State agencies are currently working to increase awareness in Wisconsin regarding the growing concern of human trafficking. Those who are caught and charged with human trafficking can face charges under state law. But in some instances, individuals can be charged with federal crimes.
Being charged with a federal crime can lead to more severe penalties. But the consequences can go beyond the legal sanctions a court can give. Having a criminal record can affect your opportunities for jobs, education, and under certain circumstances where you can live. So how serious are charges of human trafficking?
For two Wisconsin doctors, being convicted of human trafficking landed them in federal prison for six years. In addition, they were required to pay millions to the individual that they were accused of keeping prisoner for almost 20 years. Though it is not mentioned in the article, the conviction also likely had a negative impact on their professional careers.
Another man was convicted under Wisconsin state law after he was accused of human trafficking. He is currently serving an 8-year prison sentence after being convicted for assaulting a woman and then threatening to force her into prostitution.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the number of individuals being trafficked is growing - the numbers are still estimations. Wisconsin has created a human trafficking task force to help individuals who may be forced into situations that is considered trafficking.
As the task force begins to investigate and prosecute individuals suspected of human trafficking, charges will be made and people will be faced with the possibility of a criminal conviction. Those accused of the crime should speak with someone who can help determine what the next step should be. Federal charges are serious and everyone should have the opportunity to defend their rights.
Source: The Northwestern: "Wisconsin targets human trafficking with task force," Julie Strupp, Aug. 8, 2011.