Human Trafficking Lawyers

Human Trafficking Lawyers

Hire a Human Trafficking Lawyer

There are people in our own communities who are affected by human trafficking, and others may not be aware of it. Learn how a human trafficking lawyer can help break the chain of trafficking and obtain justice on behalf of survivors. 

The Department of Homeland Security describes human trafficking as involving the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of commercial sex act or labor from an individual.

Every year, millions of people are trafficked worldwide, including in the U.S. Traffickers often use violence or threats, manipulation, and false promises to lure persons into situations where they are trafficked. It happens all over the country, but is especially prevalent near ports like the Bay Area and in border regions.

At Levin Simes Abrams, we have dedicated our careers to helping those oppressed by trafficking and sexual abuse find justice and compensation for the harm they have endured. If you or a loved one have been affected by human trafficking, or if you need to file a report, contact our San Francisco-based office at (415) 426-3000. We can set up a free, no-obligation consultation where we can discuss your legal rights in a completely confidential and private setting.

What Damages Can Be Obtained in a Human Trafficking Lawsuit? 

Apart from any criminal consequences, civil action can be brought in a human trafficking case. This can help secure compensation and damages for the trafficking survivor(s) that might not be available in a criminal case, which is largely focused on punishing the perpetrator and removing them from the situation. 

Damages may cover: 

  • Any medical expenses or hospital bills
  • Lost wages or lost business opportunities
  • Loss of companionship
  • Reasonable attorney fees
  • Other economic (calculable) losses
  • Punitive damages intended at punishing the defendant for particularly egregious conduct

Besides these, there are several unique laws and provisions that cover damages and remedies which may be highly specific to human or sex trafficking civil cases. These are discussed separately below: 

Compensation for Third Party Involvement

Some human trafficking laws may allow lawsuits to be filed against anyone who “knowingly benefits, financially or by receiving anything of value from precipitation in a venture which they knew or should have known” to be in violation of forced labor or trafficking laws. 

As a result, this allows human trafficking survivors to collect damages from labor recruiters, motel or rideshare owners, doctors, and others, greatly increasing the amount of potential damages available to them.

Infliction of Emotional Distress

Emotional distress is a major component of human trafficking cases. Survivors can be subject to intensely demeaning acts that are forced upon them against their own will and without their consent. 

Many may be torn away from their families and uprooted from their communities and sent to places they have no idea about. When calculating damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress, courts may examine the duration and intensity of the distress, as well as awards issued in similar cases. 

Breach of Contract

As mentioned, human trafficking can often involve promises of success and job advancement designed to lure the victims into harmful and illegal working conditions. In a civil case, courts may examine breached contracts or agreements to arrive at the overall damages award for a trafficking survivor. This often figures into cases involving institutional sexual assault or institutional trafficking.  

Injunctive Relief

Relief Civil human trafficking cases may call for remedies that extend beyond financial damages for the victims. For instance, courts may issue “injunctive relief,” which usually consists of an order requiring the defendant to take certain actions or to stop committing acts. 

In some lawsuits, the courts may require the defendants to reform their employment practices and provide clear communication to employees about their rights. In this way, legal action can help prevent future instances of human trafficking, and can help elevate safety levels in our communities and workplaces. 

In summary, the damages and remedies available in a human trafficking case can be substantial due to the harms and conditions the survivor undergoes. Damages may depend on several factors, including the skill and experience of the attorney handling the case. Thus, it’s important to contact the right lawyer to handle your case. 

Civil human trafficking lawsuits may provide remedies beyond monetary damages to survivors. Contact Levin Simes Abrams at (415) 426-3000 to work with a legal team that can help you to obtain the full measure of justice you are entitled to under the law. 

What Are the Three Types of Trafficking?

The three most common forms of human trafficking are: 

  • Sex Trafficking: This involves forced participation in commercial sex acts. In the U.S. any child under 18 involved in a commercial sex act is classified as a trafficking victim.   
  • Forced Labor: Also known as involuntary servitude, this involves a person being forced to work against their will. Forced labor is the largest sector of human trafficking globally.
  • Debt Bondage: This is where a person is forced to work in order to pay off a debt. It can often happen in connection with immigration issues. 

These three types of human trafficking can often overlap. For instance, a person may go into debt, which then leads them to forced labor that involves some form of sexual conduct. Forced labor can sometimes involve entire organizations that operated entirely on illegal grounds. 

Most perceive equate “sex trafficking” with prostitution. However, it can involve many other situations or acts, including: 

  • Pornographic materials
  • Online “cam” website activities
  • Mail-order bride arrangements
  • Strip club dancing
  • Dating or escort services

Sex trafficking disproportionately affects women and children. Forced labor trafficking may be more widespread, but sex trafficking is often more frequently monitored and reported.

12 Signs of Human Trafficking 

The following are signs that a person may be subject to human trafficking: 

  1. Doesn’t own or is not in control of their ID or passport
  2. Has a false identity or has fake documents
  3. Has limited or no contact with their families 
  4. Works excessively long hours in an unspecified line of work
  5. Paid mostly in cash and/or is not in control of their finances or accounts
  6. Is uncomfortable speaking for themselves or doesn’t maintain eye contact
  7. Has a fearful, anxious, hypervigilant, or submissive disposition 
  8. Appears to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs (especially sedatives or painkillers)
  9. Needs permission or guidance to make basic decisions (such as using the restroom)
  10. Displays signs of physical abuse, restraint, or confinement, such as bruises, cuts, or marks on their body
  11. Has branding burns, scars, or tattoos (common trafficking brands include crowns or money symbols)
  12.  Appears malnourished or unhealthy 

The term “human trafficking” doesn’t just involve the transporting of people against their will. That is just one phase or stage of the process. The end result of human trafficking is that a person may end up living in situations where their entire life is dictated by their trafficker(s). 

This means that people who are living in your communities and who you may see on a daily basis may be living under conditions of trafficking. Alert authorities if you detect any suspicious activity or behavior in a person that you think are signs of human trafficking.

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How Can You Break the Chain of Human Trafficking?

What many people don’t realize is that human trafficking doesn’t just involve individual actors committing a crime. It involves (and requires) an entire chain of people who are aware of the situation and knowingly allow it to happen, usually because they receive some sort of profit from cooperating.

If you suspect any human trafficking activity, report it to authorities, and contact a lawyer who can help initiate an investigation into the matter.

Human trafficking can involve the coordination of people and groups such as:

  • Trafficking ring organizers
  • Motels and hotels
  • Car rental employees
  • Rideshare operators, such as Lyft drivers
  • Organizations such as schools or after-school programs

Any time a break can be made in one of these links, it helps to expose and uncover other parties that may be complicit and liable. Our job as attorneys is to bring these operations into the open and ensure the light of justice shines most brightly on the darkest corners.

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Hire a Human Trafficking Lawyer

Civil lawsuits can aid greatly in identifying and dismantling human trafficking circles. Pursuing legal action can bring perpetrators to justice and expose other similar cases that might be happening. If you or a loved one have been subject to human trafficking conditions, a lawyer can help with your case.

Contact our women-led law firm at (415) 426-3000 to speak with a lawyer about your rights. We are on hand to guide you through the process in a safe, confidential setting. Since we handle a relatively small amount of legal claims at any one time, our attorneys are able to devote their full attention to each case from beginning to end. 

We never settle for less.
Why should you?

Reaching out to a lawyer is the first step on your path towards recovering a better quality of life. At Levin Simes Abrams, we give our undivided attention to each client, and all communications are held in the strictest of confidence. We are on hand to guide you through the process and support you at every step of the way. Contact us by filling out the form or calling us directly at (415) 993-9989.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who advocates for human trafficking awareness?

There are many groups and organizations that advocate for the rights and protection of those affected by human trafficking. These include groups like: 

In addition, human trafficking lawyers act as direct advocates for survivors, fighting side-by-side with them to protect their legal rights and to bring them justice. At Levin Simes Abrams, our women-led team of legal professionals aims to raise awareness of human trafficking issues and to bring safety to our beloved communities.

What is the average sentence for human trafficking?

Human trafficking is a serious violation; in California, sentences can range anywhere from five to 20 years in prison and may result in criminal fines, and a requirement to be placed on a sex offender registry. Penalties may be even greater depending on the exact details of each case. 

As discussed above, a civil lawsuit can provide additional compensation and legal remedies for survivors of human trafficking, on top of any criminal punishments. Contact a human trafficking lawyer to discuss your legal options.

When should I file a human trafficking lawsuit?

You should contact a lawyer and file a human trafficking lawsuit as soon as you are able to. Filing deadlines may apply to your case; once the filing window closes, you may lose your chance to recover damages and hold the appropriate parties accountable. 

If you believe someone else has been victimized by human trafficking, file a report with local law enforcement agencies, and contact a lawyer for further guidance.

Who can be held liable for human trafficking?

Various parties can be held liable for human trafficking, including individuals acting on their own. In most instances, human trafficking happens because of the concerted efforts of many people and possibly many different groups or organizations. 

The trafficking circle can include employers, hotel and motel owners, travel agents, online actors, and other people. Filing a lawsuit can help uncover these operations and hold them accountable. Contact Levin Simes Abrams to pursue justice for human trafficking survivors.