What Is Human Trafficking?

Florida is third in the country and one of the top places in the world for human trafficking. In fact, the cities of Tampa, Orlando, and Miami are in the top areas of Florida where human trafficking is most prevalent. But what exactly is human trafficking and how does it occur? 

In this brief article, a federal defense attorney in Tampa with The Rickman Law Firm has shared what you need to know about the definition of human trafficking and what to do if you find yourself facing human trafficking charges.

Human Trafficking Defined

According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, human trafficking “involves the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act..”

In other words, human trafficking occurs any time a person is trafficked by another person for either servitude or sexual reasons. Although this crime often entails several levels of people and involvement, 18 U.S.C. 1584 outlines penalties for up to 20 years in prison for a defendant who is convicted of holding someone or selling them in involuntary servitude. 

If serious bodily injury or death occurs, or the crime involved kidnapping or sexual abuse, the defendant could be sentenced to life in a federal prison.

Human trafficking is an important legal distinction from prostitution charges, because in many cases those who have been trafficked are protected from facing solicitation charges. Unfortunately, many who are being trafficked are afraid to come forward for fear that they will be charged with a crime, even though they are a victim. If this is the case, a sexual battery attorney in Tampa can help protect your rights. 

How Does Human Trafficking Occur?

Every year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide. This can happen in any community and victims can be any age, race, gender, or nationality. But how does it actually happen? 

In many cases, traffickers might use violence, manipulation, or false promises of well-paying jobs or romantic relationships to lure victims into trafficking situations. 

For example, imagine a woman who is promised a well-paying job and her only responsibility is to go on dates with men. But, once she leaves town to begin this new endeavor, she is actually forced to perform sex acts on the dates which she never signed up for. 

This would be an example of a woman who was trafficked. And, in many cases, fear is used to keep the woman compliant. 

Find a Federal Defense Attorney for Sex Crimes

If you’re facing federal sex crime charges or have been trafficked and fear that you’ll be charged yourself despite being a victim, you’ll need a defense attorney from The Rickman Law Firm. These charges can negatively impact your life for years to come, and defending yourself aggressively is crucial. 

For a free consultation with the best federal defense attorney in Tampa, please contact The Rickman Law Firm today. 

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.


Schedule Consultation

Case Results


The Client was involved in an incident which resulted in the shooting of a family member and was being investigated by law enforcement. Attorney Anthony Rickman was with the Client immediately after the incident occurred
Show More

Felony DUI Reduced to a Reckless Driving

Hillsborough County 11-CF-006781
Show More

Possession of Marijuana Charge-Dismissed

The Defendant was stopped by law enforcement. After claiming to smell marijuana, the Defendant was handcuffed and searched. After marijuana was found the Defendant was charged with possession. The Defense was able to successfully get
Show More